Project image
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$6,597
pledged of $20,000pledged of $20,000 goal
203
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Tue, September 10 2019 7:00 AM UTC +00:00

Down Ward - Owl Flight, Pixel Art, Platformer

Play as Gable, a little owl, as she ventures into the haunted wilds. A flight-based pixel art platformer.

Down Ward - Owl Flight, Pixel Art, Platformer

Play as Gable, a little owl, as she ventures into the haunted wilds. A flight-based pixel art platformer.

$6,597
pledged of $20,000pledged of $20,000 goal
203
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Tue, September 10 2019 7:00 AM UTC +00:00

About

Venture into the haunted wilds with Gable, a little owl, as she sets out to rekindle the dormant relics of a land long abandoned to ruin.

Puzzle, fight, and fly your way through the long lost gauntlets, and spectral denizens of the fearful Deep Wilds.

Flying is a core feature of traversing the environment in Down Ward. The unique flight system allows unlimited airtime, but requires forward momentum and skillful maneuvering to maintain lift.

 You can play Down Ward in early access, now. :) 

Play or download Down Ward...

This early access version of Down Ward is already playable, and has quite a bit of content. It's a small stand-alone freeware game by itself, rather than a demo, and I will keep this free version available as a free game even after the Kickstarter.

With your help, I aim to dramatically expand this game into a proper full-length title. 

Like the physics of real flight, as long as Gable is moving forward, she can gain lift. 

She can stay in the air as long as she has the room to maneuver around obstacles and maintain forward airspeed.  

When Gable doubles back in mid-flight, she'll lose some lift as she slows to a stop and accelerates in the opposite direction.

If she collides with a wall, it will stop her forward momentum and she'll lose all her lift.

Becoming a proficient flyer is important. Especially when hostile haunts begin showing up!

Into the unfamiliar dusk, Gable makes her way...

Down Ward is a simple but challenging platformer, where flight is critical to navigating the environment, and airspeed is critical to flight.

Specters of the Deep Wilds abound, and obstacles, both puzzly and precisiony await!

Gameplay

Seek out luminous feathers, collect them, and commit them to the Ward Tower. Along the way, you'll encounter a variety of hazards and haunts.

The ghost koi, for instance, aren't particularly hostile, but they're none too safe for owls, so best not to flutter too close.

Gable is not entirely defenseless against the ghostly sentinels of the ruins. Armed with a Sidereal Blade (sahy-DEER-ee-uhl), she can spear nearby haunts, or knock them away.

The Sidereal Blade can interact with more than the animate dead. The black heart stones and their grooved drive mechanisms are another worthy application of the blade. Though the more complex black heart configurations may require some owly consideration to surmount...  

Combat

There are no hit points for you or enemies, so every hit matters.

Of course, hit points have enjoyed great use in many fantastic games, but I have a specific direction in mind for Down Ward.

My philosophy for designing the combat elements of Down Ward is that a successful combat action should change what you need to do next, rather than only changing how many times you need to do the same thing to deplete a health pool.

Even enemies defeated in a single attack can change your options after you land a hit. For instance, you can use the bodies of defeated skelly owls as temporary platforms.

Along similar lines, when designing an enemy that requires two hits to defeat, rather than giving it 2 HP, it will instead require two different actions. For instance, given an enemy that always faces a shield towards you, you might need to stun them with a shield hit, then hop over them to spear them from above or behind. This requires two attacks, but in this case repeating exactly the same attack twice will not be a solution to your problem. 

Facing a mix of enemies with different behavior and defeat criteria, when each action will change the state of things, requires more thinking on the fly. So to Speak. :)

I want the combat to work more like a kinetic puzzle than a war of hit point attrition. 

As a result, the ability to weave a blade through larger and more complex hosts of foes will come from your growing skill, rather than a weapon that does more damage.

Colors

Down Ward's retro hand-held inspired graphics use a 4 color palette. 

There are well over 100 color palettes to choose from:  

Some palettes are specifically designed for high contrast, thanks to the request of one of my very nice players.

 Others mimic the venerable monochrome LCD, from an age before time was time.

And you can play in the original 160 x 144 Game Boy resolution if you so choose. (Scaled up to fit your monitor of course.)

There are even a few palettes for the little known avian holidays of Talontines Day...  

(Wherein your friends very patiently endure your inability to sit still. It's tradition.)

...and of course Owlloween! 

  (Pictured below, Owlloween colorized)

(Note: Birdie Pumpkins do appear in game for a month before and after Halloween!)

Display support

Down Ward automatically resizes itself to fit whatever display shape it finds itself in. It should always use all the display area it's given to work with. 

It will also make sure that it always scales up the game visuals by an integer amount, to keep all the pixel art perfectly sharp.

So, 16:9, 16:10, 3:4, Widescreen, even vertical aspect monitors will work. 

Speedruns, Challenge runs, & Metrics

"Hourglass" is a set of unlockable game modes built around time attack and variants of time attack unique to Down Ward. In the "Airborne" game mode, for instance, your timer only runs when you're touching the ground, so limiting time on the ground is how you improve your time-score.

Also included are various metrics available in the Stats menu that can be used for devising alternate Speedrun, & Challenge Run goals. These include keeping count of a variety of in-game actions, as well as time spent in levels, best run times, and time in the air or on the ground, among others. Additionally your distance traveled, flown, walked, and others are recorded and can be viewed in Feet, Meters, Miles, or Kilometers. 


21,000: Boss Rush - Challenge game mode. 

An unlockable Boss Rush challenge mode. Fight all the bosses in game in staggered waves, flanked by the various haunts of the deep wilds, and environmental hazards therein!

Fail, and Gable may be required to have a picnic with the boss that defeated her. Such is the fearful custom of the old ways.


22,000: 7 Sisters tandem boss fight - Survival arena. 

An unlockable challenge. Fight all of the 7 Sisters simultaneously in a large survival level. Don't want to spoil too much, but expect to be at a picnic for 8. 

Testing and feedback will be final arbiter, but to give a bit of a design sketch, my inclination is to structure this challenge as follows:

Upon entering the arena, you'll face one of the seven, chosen randomly, along with a host of hostile haunts. As the stage progresses, likely by completing side objectives, each successive sister will be summoned into the arena. The sequence of sisters will be shuffled like a deck of cards, making each playthrough different. When all the sisters are summoned, if you survive that long, they become vulnerable and the real fight begins!


 ◆ 23,000: Multiple music tracks for each world.  

Multiple music tracks for each world, instead of just one major theme per world.

Anyone donating at a level that receives the Soundtrack reward, will also get all of the additional tracks added by this goal.


 ◆ 25,000: Sidereal Mode - A "Newgame +" campaign  

A second much harder variant of the main campaign of the game, unlockable by beating the game once. 

By the time you complete your first playthrough of the game, you'll be able to fly and fight in ways you'd have thought impossible when you first started your journey. 

Revisit the campaign, but with more hazards, more  adversaries, and in more complex and treacherous combinations. This new game mode will stress your improved skills, and test what you've learned in the fire, as you delve into the far more hostile wilds.

Who is working on this project?

I'm Fisholith, a solo indie developer. :)

  • I program the game & rigorous owl logic
  • pixel the art
  • paint the other art
  • animate the characters
  • compose the music
  • design the sound
  • devise the mechanics
  • construct the levels
  • write the writables
  • business the businessy stuff.

Though being a solo dev does not mean being a creative island, and without the feedback, critique, and suggestions of many of the wonderful players of Down Ward, it would not have reached the point it has. 

What is the funding for?

If the Kickstarter succeeds, I'm going to be working as a solo developer, doing all of the things mentioned above, for a little over a year. This funding offsets some of the cost of committing to that. In addition to this funding, I'll be contributing a fair amount myself from personal savings.

Contact

 If you have any questions, feel free to contact me via any of the following:

Rewards overview

"GG" is an abbreviation of Grey Garden.

** The rewards with a double star (**), have a later delivery date than the normal rewards. Check out the "** Double Star rewards" section at the end for more info. 


Down Ward game

A download of the full game upon release!

Soundtrack & Wallpapers

A download of the entire soundtrack (DRM free), and desktop wallpapers. 

 Some little Examples:

Note that the Stretch Goal "Multiple music tracks for each world" would add several new songs to the soundtrack, and if that Stretch Goal is unlocked you will also get the new additional tracks.

Likewise any of the higher backer tiers that result in the creation of additional tracks would also add the extra tracks to this reward for everyone. :)

If you're curious, this link (Fisholith Soundcloud) will take you to a few of the songs I composed for my prior little freeware game-jam projects. Down Ward is included as it started out as a little game jam project itself. :)


Design & Artbook PDF

Concept art, design work, artifacts, locations, and fragments of lore from the world of Down Ward. 



Beta Access

Access to the commercial beta, which will be available before the game's final release. You'll be able to play the game as it grows. Your feedback and critique will help me shape and polish Down Ward. I'll also mark your Grey Garden credit to indicate that you participated in the beta. (Note that this commercial beta is different than the currently available freeware beta for the little freeware edition of the game, just in case you were wondering.)

Grey Garden Credits - Some notes

What is the "Grey Garden"?  -  The Grey Garden is a special in-game location any player will be able to visit in a  lucid dream. Credits will be stored in heart stones, or creature statues, and when struck, the name they contain will be shown in a burst of light, then fade away slowly.

Note: This is an example. The actual Grey Garden environment will be much larger. Also, don't worry, your statue won't be missing it's head. The one on the left is just in considerable disrepair. ;) 


Grey Garden - Shared Name Stone

Your name, along with up to 4 others, will be stored in a shared heart stone in the Grey Garden. Striking the stone will show your name among those of your fellow stone-mates in a burst of light! You can be credited however you like, within reason. :)


Grey Garden - Personal Name Stone 

You'll get your own personal heart stone in the Grey Garden. Striking the stone will show your name above it in a burst of light.


Grey Garden - Creature Statue

A credit statue 2 times gable's height.

You'll get your own personal creature statue in the Grey Garden. There will be at least 10 different creature statues to choose from, each with at least two variations. They will be various owls, birds, snakes, and fish. Striking the stone statue will show your name above it in a burst of light.


Grey Garden - Chromatic Creature Statue

A chromatic credit statue 2 times gable's height.

An extension of the "Creature Statue" reward. When a chromatic creature statue is struck, In addition to showing your name in a burst of light, it will also transform the game's color palette to a color set of your design, choosing, or vague suggestion. :)

When you leave the Grey Garden, the colors will go with you. For each chromatic creature color palette, there will be an achievement, for completing the game with that color palette. 

This means you can get an achievement named after you. But more importantly, it means you can make a completionist play the game with four slightly different shades of black, only to (barely) see the name of their tormentor once more in the form of an achievement. (Seriously though, probably don't do 4 shades of black.)


Grey Garden - Large Unique Statue

A unique chromatic credit statue 4 times gable's height. (or that length) 

You'll get your own personal unique chromatic creature statue in the Grey Garden. Choose a creature from the list below and, describe a pose, submit a reference photo, or even go the concerningly creative route, do the pose yourself and submit a photo. Bonus points for making wings or antlers out of stuff you can find around your house. :)

Any kind of:

  • Owl
  • Bird
  • Deer, (including the Frost-Tails of Down Ward.)
  • Snake
  • Reptile
  • Fish

(e.g. A falcon, python, or hog-nose-snake, are all valid options.) 


Grey Garden -  Giant Unique Statue

A unique chromatic credit statue 8 times gable's height. (or that length)

Poses can be suggested or submitted as described in the "Large Unique Statue" reward above.

Any kind of:

  • Owl
  • Bird
  • Deer, (including the Frost-Tails of Down Ward.)
  • Snake
  • Reptile
  • Fish

Grey Garden - Outlier Giant Unique Statue

A unique chromatic credit statue 8 times gable's height, with alternative creatures.

Like the "Giant Unique Statue" reward above, but with a much extended list of animals to choose from. See the "Large Unique Statue" reward for info on submitting pose ideas.

Note: These are creatures I don't currently have a developed style for in Down Ward, so it might take a bit longer to figure out how I want them to look, to fit in with everything else.

Any kind of:

  • Wolf or Fox
  • Cougar, Leopard, or Cheetah
  • Rabbit
  • Mouse or Rat
  • Raccoon
  • Ferret or Weasel
  • Dolphin or Shark
  • Octopus or Squid
  • Insect or Arachnid
  • Crustacean
  • Bat or other living flying animal
  • Archaeopteryx, or other winged animal that is extinct or prehistoric.

Grey Garden - Giant Statue (Natural/Outlier)

A unique chromatic credit statue 8 times gable's height, with any listed creature type.

You can pick the reward from either "Custom Giant Statue" or "Outlier Custom Giant Statue" above. This lets you pick from either list, giving you the entire range of natural and outlier animals as options for your giant statue.

Co-compose a Character painting **

I'll create a digital painting of a Down Ward character or pair of characters for you.

Pick one or two characters from Down Ward, and a simple scene or action. 

I'll create a painting based on the elements you picked, which I'll send you upon completion. Eventually, after I've completed all the other painting rewards, I'll add them all to a second wallpapers set for the wallpapers reward, so everyone getting the wallpapers including you, can enjoy all the new additions. The painting will include your "requested by" credit alongside mine on the final image. :)

What are some examples of one or two  characters, and a simple-ish background? A portrait of Gable, tucked under Soliel's wing and peeping out, set against a foggy backdrop would work. Or Wisteria coiled up in snakey loops, resting on a heart block, against an out-of-focus green forest backdrop.

Example of a painting that would work:

Co-compose a Desktop painting **

I'll create a digital painting of something Down Ward related for you.

Pick one to five characters from Down Ward, a setting or location from the game lore, and a simple scene or action. 

I'll create a painting based on the elements you picked, which I'll send you upon completion. Eventually, after I've completed all the other painting rewards, I'll add them all to a second wallpapers set for the wallpapers reward, so everyone including you, can enjoy all the new additions. The painting will include your "requested by" credit along side mine on the final image. :)

What are some examples of one to four characters, and a location setting? Gable, Wrenwen, and Ceruleine using Amaranth as a perch, resting in her antlers, in the arched entrance of Castle Gail Hallow. Or Wisteria looped around Kerna, wading into the shallows of the Palace in Reads.

Example of a painting that would work:

Co-design a Challenge level **

I'll work with you to co-design a unique challenge level. The layout, enemy and hazard composition, emphasis on platforming/combat/exploration/puzzles, architecture and theme, are among the many elements to play with in the design of a level. Co-design a custom color palette for the level, which will also get added to the master palette list. You and other players will be able to warp into your level through your statue in Grey Garden.


Co-design a 3-level set Challenge + Custom Music **

Maximum owly peril awaits!

I'll work with you to co-design a 3 stage sequence of Challenge levels. The layout, enemy and hazard composition, emphasis on platforming/combat/exploration/puzzles, architecture and theme, are among the many elements to play with in the design of a level. And in a level series, there's also the escalation of difficulty to consider. Co-design custom color palettes for each level, which will also get added to the master palette list. You and other players will be able to warp into your level set through your statue in Grey Garden.

In addition to the level design, I'll also create a custom music track for the level set, which you can help tailor the mood and tone of. This song will also be added to the Soundtrack reward for everyone. :)

** Double Star rewards

The ETA for all normal reward items is Dec 2020. 

Only the reward items with a double star ** on the end will use a later date. (Check the tier for the extended date.) This is because they're likely to rely on content that will be more fleshed out by the time the game is nearing completion. 

It also helps prevent the more involved custom reward work from colliding with the core project work.

If you've backed at a level that includes one of these rewards, I'll contact you before the end of Dec 2020 at the latest, but feel free to send me a message whenever you like, to ask questions or if you already have an idea of what you might want, and I'll keep it in mind for later. :)


You made it to the bottom!


Risks and challenges

This is my first Kickstarter, I'm a solo dev, and it's game development. Any kind of software development can be fiddly and unpredictable in ways you don't anticipate.

As a result, I'm trying to keep it pretty simple.

Everything I'm proposing in this project, including rewards and stretch goals, is a variation on something I've already done more than once, and know I can do.

I already have a living freeware version of the game developed and playable. The expanded game will build on the existing engine that has been solidly running up to this point.

You're more than welcome to talk to me if you have any concerns, via Kickstarter direct messaging or email to: Fisholith[Find the AT-sign in the valley to the north, and bring it back here to continue]gmail.com.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1

    Grey Garden - Shared Name Stone

    🖤 In this tier:
    Your name, along with the names of 4 other backers in this tier, will be stored in a shared heart stone in the Grey Garden. Striking the stone will show your name among those of your fellow stone-mates in a burst of light!

    Includes:
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    Grey Garden - Personal Name Stone

    🖤 New in this tier:
    You'll get your own personal heart stone in the Grey Garden. Striking the stone will show your name above it in a burst of light.

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    1x Down Ward game

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    A download of the full game upon release.

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    OST + Wallpapers

    🖤 New in this tier:
    Soundtrack & Wallpapers.
    (Note: One of the Stretch Goals would add additional music to the game and this reward.)

    Check out the Rewards section for an explanation.

    Includes:
    • Dev Log
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    Design & Artbook PDF

    🖤 New in this tier:
    Design & Artbook PDF

    Includes:
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    • Grey Garden - Personal Stone
    • Soundtrack
    • 1x Down Ward game
    • Wallpapers
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    1x Beta Access

    🖤 New in this tier:
    Access to the commercial beta, which will be available before the game's final release.

    Note: The beta will be targeted for Windows compatibility initially, but it should be possible to run it directly from a web browser on Mac and Linux. Fullscreen mode will work normally, so it won't be confined to a browser window. You can try the free version of the game now to see if it will work on your computer. (see the "Play it now" section for a link.)

    This tier also includes the full game as well.

    Includes:
    • Dev Log
    • Grey Garden - Personal Stone
    • 1x Down Ward game
    • Wallpapers
    • Soundtrack
    • Design & Artbook PDF
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    Grey Garden - Creature Statue

    🖤 New in this tier:
    A statue credit in the Grey Garden...
    Get a personal creature statue in the Grey Garden, instead of a text stone.
    When struck, your name will show above the statue in a burst of light.

    Check out the Rewards section for an explanation.

    Includes:
    • Dev Log
    • 1x Down Ward game
    • Wallpapers
    • Soundtrack
    • Design & Artbook PDF
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    Grey Garden - Chromatic Creature Statue

    🖤 New in this tier:
    The 2nd level of statue credit...
    Get a personal chromatic creature statue in the Grey Garden. When struck, it will show your name and transform the game's colors to a palette of your choosing or design. This tier also adds an achievement to the game, named after you, and unlocked by completing the game in your custom palette.

    Check out the Rewards section for an explanation.

    Includes:
    • Dev Log
    • 1x Down Ward game
    • Wallpapers
    • Soundtrack
    • Design & Artbook PDF
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    2x Down Ward game

    🖤 New in this tier:
    Get an extra copy of Down Ward, for a friend, for 20% less.
    (In total, 2 copies of Down Ward, in addition to the beta access.)

    Includes:
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    • Wallpapers
    • Soundtrack
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    Large Unique Statue in Grey Garden

    🖤 New in this tier:
    The 3rd level of statue credit...
    Get a uniquely created large statue (4 times Gable's height) in the Grey Garden. Pick a creature and pose.

    Check out the Rewards section for an explanation.

    Includes:
    • Dev Log
    • Wallpapers
    • Soundtrack
    • Design & Artbook PDF
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    Giant Unique Statue in Grey Garden

    🖤 New in this tier:
    The 4th level of statue credit...
    Get a uniquely created giant statue (8 times Gable's height) in the Grey Garden. Pick a creature and pose.

    Check out the Rewards section for an explanation.

    Includes:
    • Dev Log
    • Wallpapers
    • Soundtrack
    • Design & Artbook PDF
    • 1x Beta Access
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    Outlier Unique Statue in Grey Garden

    🖤 New in this tier:
    The "alternate" 4th level of statue credit in Grey Garden.

    Get a uniquely created giant statue (8 times Gable's height) in the Grey Garden. This adds a variety of creature options that aren't part of the normal creature list. Pick an "outlier" creature of type, and a pose.

    Check out the Rewards section for an explanation.

    Includes:
    • Dev Log
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    • Soundtrack
    • Design & Artbook PDF
    • 1x Beta Access
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    Co-compose a Character Painting

    🖤 New in this tier:
    I'll create a digital painting of a Down Ward character, or pair of characters, for you. Pick one or two characters from Down Ward, and a simple scene or action.
    Check out the Rewards section for an explanation.

    Note, the ETA for all normal reward items is still Dec 2020. Only the special items with a double star ** on the end will use the later date.

    Includes:
    • Dev Log
    • Wallpapers
    • Soundtrack
    • Design & Artbook PDF
    • 1x Beta Access
    • 2x Down Ward game
    • Co-compose Character Painting**
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    Co-compose a Desktop painting

    🖤 New in this tier:
    I'll create a desktop digital painting of something Down Ward related for you. Pick one to five characters from Down Ward, a setting or location from Down Ward, and a simple scene or action.
    Check out the Rewards section for an explanation.

    Note, the ETA for all normal reward items is still Dec 2020. Only the special items with a double star ** on the end will use the later date.

    Includes:
    • Dev Log
    • Wallpapers
    • Soundtrack
    • Design & Artbook PDF
    • 1x Down Ward beta access
    • 2x Down Ward game
    • Grey Garden - Giant Statue (Natural/Outlier)
    • Co-compose Desktop Painting**
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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    Co-design a Challenge level

    🖤 New in this tier:
    Co-design a Challenge level!
    Check out the Rewards section for an explanation.

    Note, the ETA for all normal reward items is still Dec 2020. Only the special items with a double star ** on the end will use the later date.

    Includes:
    • Dev Log
    • Wallpapers
    • Soundtrack
    • Design & Artbook PDF
    • 1x Beta Access
    • 2x Down Ward game
    • Grey Garden - Giant Statue (Natural/Outlier)
    • Co-compose Character Painting**
    • Co-design a Challenge level**
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  16. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Co-design a 3-level set Challenge

    🖤 New in this tier:
    Co-design a 3 stage series of challenge levels, along with an additional music track to go with it!
    Check out the Rewards section for an explanation.

    (Also includes the "Commission a desktop painting" reward.)

    Note, the ETA for all normal reward items is still Dec 2020. Only the special items with a double star ** on the end will use the later date.

    Includes:
    • Dev Log
    • Wallpapers
    • Soundtrack
    • Design & Artbook PDF
    • 1x Down Ward beta access
    • 2x Down Ward game
    • Grey Garden - Giant Statue (Natural/Outlier)
    • Co-compose Desktop Painting**
    • Co-design a 3-level set Challenge**
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 2 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  17. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $7 or more About $7

    1x Down Ward game (early bird)

    🖤 New in this tier:
    A download of the full game upon release, at a reduced Early Bird pledge amount.

    Includes:
    • Dev Log
    • Grey Garden - Personal Stone
    • 1x Down Ward game
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Reward no longer available 55 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (22 days)