Whilst the demo is just an early alpha to demonstrate gameplay, quite a lot has been done already. It includes:
One full playable level
Five upgradable weapons plus one melee weapon
Four different enemies
One gigantic boss fight
And many of the core mechanics we’d like to put in the full game!
Tom Sparks is currently on Steam GreenLight and we’d love it if you would vote for it and share the Greenlight link with your friends to help us secure distribution for Tom Sparks on Steam.
Tom Sparks and The Quakes of Ruin is a top-down action-adventure / shooter game with a healthy dose of exploration, platforming, puzzles and smashing things thrown in for good measure. We aim to create a game full of fast paced fire-fights and extraordinary weapons in a similar vein to console classics like Ratchet and Clank and Jak and Daxter. We hope to bring this vision to life in a vibrant and mysterious underground world with a thick Diesel Punk aesthetic and an adventurous storyline.
Without giving too much away, let us just say that Tom Sparks is a simple and honest engineer who is unwittingly thrust into a wild adventure when a series of unusual earthquakes threaten his subterranean home of “Under Passage”. There are strange happenings deep beneath the planet’s crust and Tom must journey through mysterious and fantastical worlds in order solve the mystery of the Quakes of Ruin.
There are many interesting creatures and civilizations that have settled underground since the surface world froze over, and indeed many of these subterranean inhabitants are compelled by evil to try and halt Tom’s quest! Luckily, our brave protagonist is a skilled technician and a thrifty inventor. He will need those skills in order to build himself an arsenal of weaponry and tools to survive the coming trials.
Tom Sparks is an exciting top-down action game with loads of combat, exploration, adventure, puzzle solving and platforming thrown in.
The primary focus of the game is interesting weaponry and fluid combat. Not only must Tom keep moving, jumping and dodging to evade enemies; but he must also be constantly switching his weapons and adapting his strategy to deal with scarcity of ammunition and the differing combat situations that arise.
As Tom progresses on his quest, he can discover blueprints which allow him to build new weapons and armour. In order to craft these weapons, Tom must collect scrap metal by smashing crates, boxes, enemies and other bits of the environment. For an engineer, Tom sure does like smashing things.
Each new weapon that Tom builds brings new strategies and gameplay styles to the table. If he is to succeed, Tom will need to assemble the most diverse and robust arsenal possible in order to deal with enemies who have varying strengths, weaknesses and attacks. Choosing the right weapon for the situation at hand is critical.
The more Tom uses a weapon, the more powerful it becomes. Each weapon upgrade level offers a boost in stats, and when a weapon becomes fully upgraded, a new game-changing ability is unlocked. For example; regular pot turrets are great, but fully upgraded pot turrets will form an electrical barrier for the player to take cover behind, or lure enemies into.
Tom’s path is also blocked by many other interesting obstacles to overcome, whether he is jumping across chasms, navigating fire pits or solving puzzles to unlock ancient cryptic tombs, he will have to keep his wits sharp and his trigger finger ready.
The world is littered with unique weapon blueprints and hidden rewards, such that those who are willing to explore will be handsomely rewarded and can discover a vast arsenal with which to vanquish their enemies.
But don’t take our word for it. Play the demo here.
We want to have as many crazy weapons in the final game as we can. Here are some of the basic ones we've included in the demo:
And here are some of our ideas for weapons to add into the full game:
Portable Lava Maker - Is portable. Makes lava.
Eskimo Grenade - Causes a frosty explosion that turns anything nearby to solid ice.
Bite Sizer - A ray gun that shrinks your enemies down to more manageable proportions before you squish them underfoot (or wrench)!
Arachnobombs - Mechanical spiderlings that scuttle around before spontaneously combusting in a violent explosion.
Roomba Wrench 5000 - Suck your enemies in, time it sweetly, and hit them out the park!
Deadly Discharger - Build a powerful charge of energy before releasing it in a deadly blast!
Headache Inducer - Fires a beam of energy into the cavern’s ceiling, causing rocks to come crashing down onto enemy skulls. Also induces minor headaches.
Wormbait Launcher - Worms do love WormbaitTM. And the worms down here are particularly large and have been known to burrow up from nowhere and swallow enemies whole!
Gravity Glove - Utilising quantum forceps and other completely legit physics laws, this thing can manipulate objects and enemies without even touching them!
The Medical Madener - Fires syringes that inject enemies with a confusing serum that causes them to reconsider their life choices. Side effects include a sudden urge to fight for the other team!
Steam Shields - These spring-loaded contraptions will pop up and deflect away incoming attacks with high-pressure jets of gaseous water.
Flammekaster - That’s norwegian for “Flame Thrower”. Norwegian flame throwers are particularly fiery.
Laser Cannon - Fires a beam of deadly laser energy that will pierce through all it touches!
Whip - A length of rope with a bolt tied to the end. Luckily Tom’s sizeable pecs make this just as deadly as any boring old nuclear firearm.
Atomic Matter Disintegrator - Quite a lot more destructive than a regular matter disintegrator.
Sonic Pulsar - Releases a short range pulse of energy bound to flatten anything in its arc.
Boulder Cannon - A cannon that launches boulders. Great for when you want to crush something with a boulder. Also great for anyone who enjoys large scale games of bowling and/or pinball.
DIY Singularity - Rip a hole in the space continuum itself! Slows time, sucks things in and causes everything to implode in one big glorious crunch.
Thor-nado Hammer - This mechanically assisted hammer strikes the ground with such force that it causes tornadoes to swirl into life and redecorate/redistribute the environment as they so please.
Rocket Launcher - Houston we have a problem! Namely that our rockets are highly explosive and headed straight for that guy’s face!
Diesel Knight - A few mechanical allies might even the odds! These adorable killing machines will hack and slash for the cause!
Phonic Distractor - All forms of music were thought to be lost many years ago when the surface world froze over. Thusly, these gramophones are likely to be highly alluring to any of the underground denizens.
Maxigun - Like a minigun, but more so. The long spin-up is more than worth the wait to witness this baby unleash its maelstrom of bullets!
Dive Bomber - A crossbow that launches paper aeroplanes. Paper aeroplanes packed with explosives that is. These little guys do a full loop before homing in on their targets and detonating to devastating effect.
Plasma Hose - Sprays out balls of energy that bounce around cause serious bodily harm.
Lead Enricher - By defying conventional ballistic physics, this gun allows you to pack many bullets into the chamber at once, before unleashing them in rapid succession.
Acid Squirter - Just a severed bug mandible hooked up to a battery. Oh, did I mention it squirts acid?
Gnome Squad - This bizarre technology allows you to launch forth a ball of vicious gnomes; if you ever want to do that for some reason.
And lots, lots more...
Tom’s quest will take him to many unique locales, and lead him to explore numerous fantastical environments. Tom himself hails from the fertile homeland of Under Passage, a lush world filled glowing plantlife, chirping insects and rushing waterfalls.
Far above this beautiful garden lies the frozen wastelands of the surface world, the icy cold was thought to have long since erased all life above ground, but as Tom’s quest continues, he will have to discover the truth.
With most of the world’s life forms descending deep underground (and there were plenty down there to begin with!), colonies of strange creatures have claimed the expansive caverns as their homes. There are dry and arid landscapes inhabited by roaming tribal warriors who have survived scratching a living from the red mineral-stained clay and sands.
Deeper still lies the molten world of the Tummo people; and intelligent race who have harnessed the power of the planet’s core to drive their mechanised home. Here the fires of industry and of the earth itself come together to shroud towering structures in a haze of heat and smoke.
Tom’s world is one steeped in culture and rich with life, but as Tom will soon discover, it is also a perilous place. And the looming threat of the Quakes of Ruin will place considerable strain on the peaceful ecosystem thriving amongst the soil of the earth.
The sprawling caverns below ground are home to industrial mining operations, ancient civilisations and colonies of bizarre and wonderful creatures. Many of whom take offense to Tom trespassing in their sacred territory.
Throughout his adventure Tom will encounter many varied enemies each with their own strengths, weaknesses and attacks. If Tom is to survive he will have to outmanoeuvre, outgun and outthink his way into a winning position in every enemy encounter.
We have loads of ideas for interesting enemy types and combat situations; all the way from simple plants and insects to mechanized terrors and fell beasts.
No action game is complete without multi-staged boss fights against huge, terrifying adversaries. We’d rather not spoil them all here, but we’ve got a number of epic bosses planned. Each one will introduce its own new mechanics and force Tom to be creative with his tactics and fight with extra vigour!
We are pleased to announce that the game’s music will be provided by award-winning composer Sean Beeson!
Sean's music can be heard on film, television, and across all game platforms with soundtracks recorded by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and Moravian Philharmonic Orchestra, among others. He has scored over 85 (eighty five!) games, including Epic Mickey 2: Power of Illusion, Pocket RPG (Theme), Ravensword: Shadowlands, Aiko Islands, Mecho Wars, Skyward Slots, and the upcoming Aralon RPG, to name a few.
You can listen to the tracks we used in the demo here:
We chose to Kickstart this project as we feel the game deserves all the love and attention it can get to see it to a proper completion. We have big plans for Tom Sparks and we have already put several months of work into the project. Grab the demo and imagine what else we could do with the funding and development time in place!
What is the money for?
We’ve asked for the minimum amount of money we think we can survive on in order to complete Tom to the level of quality that we expect at Tasty Poison Games. All of the funding raised here will go towards development of the game. Any additional funding will go towards making the game bigger, longer and better. We’d love to be able realise our full vision for Tom and produce as many weapons, enemies and interesting areas as possible.
Tasty Poison Games is a small indie studio based on the southern most tip of Africa. We are just a handful of people from different backgrounds who share the same passion and vision. We love making games!
When we can’t afford to make our own games, we make games for clients and always pride ourselves on delivering a fun experience and high production quality. We really love our work and we're extremely thankful that we can actually (sometimes) make a living doing it. Making games is the best job in the world and Cape Town is the most amazing place to do it!
We also have the assistance of a great publisher on our side to help us with feedback, testing, and multi-platform releases. Crescent Moon Games has helped us out before with Neon Shadow, Dig!, and Pocket RPG. Josh Presseisen (the head of Crescent Moon) helped make the demo possible and is very excited to be part of this project!
Risks and challenges
As with every game development project there are risks involved, but here at Tasty Poison, we strongly believe the risks of backing this project are minimal. If we are funded, we will deliver, and here’s why:
Unlike many video game teams on Kickstarter, we’ve got the experience. Tasty Poison Games has a strong history of developing games for both clients as well as ourselves, always displaying a commitment to completing all our projects on time and on budget. We know what it takes to make a video game. We’ve been here before and taken many games from ideas to completed products. Our years of experience in the industry have made us hardened budgeters and efficient content producers. This is why we haven’t opted for backer rewards involving clothing items or elaborate music boxes. We want to put all our resources into the game itself and produce the best experience we can. (We'll make an exception for very high bidders who want the Tom Sparks figurine.)
Still not convinced we can pull it off? Check out some of our other completed games, or play the demo and hopefully we can convince you.