Aquamarine is a small-scale, point-and-click exploration game coming to Mac, PC, and Linux in Spring 2019, and is being created by independent developers Moebial Studios. Inspired by the comics of French artist Moebius, roguelikes, and '70s-era psychedelic sci-fi, Aquamarine tells the story of a nameless space traveler who is stranded on an unknown planet covered in water.
Players must survive the environment and navigate their escape pod through the alien ocean depths, discovering its hidden past, recovering their crashed ship, and hopefully escaping with their life. If interested in catching a small glimpse of where our world design and gameplay are headed, you can check out a pre-alpha demo on itch.io. (Please bear in mind that everything in the demo, from graphics to gameplay, is an unfinished work in progress.)
◈ WHAT THE PRESS HAVE SAID ◈
"The beautiful underwater world of Aquamarine is a fascinating place to explore. The artwork is superb, the creature design is excellent and it’s great fun discovering the secrets the world has to offer." - Alpha Beta Gamer
"[Aquamarine's] absolutely drop dead gorgeous graphics, compelling mechanics and interesting approach to an alien ecosystem have very firmly put it close to top of our Watch List." - IndieHangover
"I enjoyed what I played of [Aquamarine] at Play NYC 2018, and I think it certainly executes an interesting concept with style." - Robert N. Adams, TechRaptor
"Kickstarter is often the place to go to find some of the most interesting upcoming games on the horizon and Aquamarine is no exception." - The Indie Game Website
"It says a lot that even at this beginning stage, [Aquamarine] still looks extremely captivating." - Hardcore Gamer
"Along similar lines as last year’s smash hit hand-drawn game Cuphead, Aquamarine wears its influences on its sleeve and brings a uniqueness that can’t be matched by triple-A level games." - Comics Beat
◈ A DYNAMIC WORLD WITH A PERSISTENT ECOSYSTEM ◈
Aquamarine maroons you on a strange alien planet covered in water and leaves you to figure out where to go and how to survive. By exploring and experimenting as you navigate the underwater environment, its patterns and natural laws will reveal themselves to you. Aquamarine's world moves through a complete day and night cycle as you play, reacts to your interactions with the flora and fauna, and maintains its various states every time you return to the game.
◈ A STORY OF PERSEVERANCE AND FACING THE UNKNOWN ◈
We love narrative games and are inspired by the endless potential of interactive storytelling. Aquamarine is very much a game focused on interconnected systems and creative play, but it's all designed in service of one central story. Your progression through the game drives the narrative forward, pushing this lone space traveler ever closer to recovering her crashed ship and unraveling the hidden history of this ocean planet.
◈ UPGRADES YOU CUSTOMIZE TO SUIT YOUR EXPLORATION ◈
A humble escape pod is your sole method of navigating the world of Aquamarine, and you must choose how you will upgrade it and utilize the special abilities you craft. Your progress through the story is linked to what your ship is capable of and what you do with those capabilities. Will you bash your way through everything? Zip circles around your obstacles? Rearrange the environment until it suits your needs? There are options to suit all different kinds of explorers.
◈ FULLY HAND-DRAWN ARTWORK AND ANIMATION ◈
Because the main inspiration for Aquamarine is a comic book anthology by Moebius, we've always known the game's artwork would be illustrated and animated entirely by hand. Each object and backdrop is drawn and colored by our art director/lead artist on a digital graphics tablet, often working from scans of pen and pencil concept sketches. The assets that need movement are then sent to our animator, who draws the motions frame by frame. This process, in all of its hard work and subtle imperfections, is the heart and soul of Aquamarine's distinctive style.
◈ ORIGINAL SYNTH SCORE COMPOSED BY JEREMY MALVIN ◈
Music is an integral aspect of Aquamarine, as both a component in the game's storytelling and overall atmosphere. We wanted a very specific style and compositional approach for our soundtrack, a fully electronic, synthesized sound befitting our '70s and '80s inspirations. Jeremy Malvin, the artist behind renowned dance-pop project Chrome Sparks, has delivered exactly that and then some. His theme song for Aquamarine (featured above) is just the beginning of a rich and varied soundtrack that balances glowing nostalgia with modern production flourishes.
Aquamarine is a turn-based game that emphasizes defensive tactics and maneuvers over combat. Each turn, you can complete as many actions as you have resources for—whether it's movement, triggering your ship's power-ups, or spending energy on special abilities.
Once your last move is made and your turn is over, the environment and its inhabitants react around you. Some creatures may respond to your actions, while others may ignore you until you get in their way.
Over the course of Aquamarine, you will customize your ship with a number of upgrades and tap into the planet's natural elements to power your progress. Gameplay also focuses on collecting and managing limited resources, deciphering the dynamic ecosystem, and unraveling the planet's mysterious history through puzzles and secrets.
Because you are alone on a strange world, you will have to make risky decisions and learn from the consequences. What can I eat? Should I kill this creature I know nothing about? What time of day is best to go hunting for resources? Answering these questions and many others is part of your journey through Aquamarine.
JEAN "MOEBIUS" GIRAUD
A prolific French artist, writer, and illustrator who specialized in sci-fi and fantasy comics, Jean "Moebius" Giraud is the most important inspiration behind Aquamarine. Buying ourselves a copy of his incredible, decade-spanning graphic novel anthology, The World of Edena, was the catalyst for creating this game. We wanted so much to follow the path of his work that we even named our studio after him: Moebial.
FANTASTIC PLANET & TIME MASTERS BY RENE LALOUX
Another French artist whose influence can't be overstated is filmmaker René Laloux. His groundbreaking animated masterpiece Fantastic Planet set the precedent for psychedelic science-fiction in 1973, and his collaboration with Moebius, the 1982 animated film Time Masters, continues to inspire with its gorgeous design and unique world-building.
MYST & RIVEN
Moebial Studios wouldn't exist were it not for these two iconic adventure games from the '90s. Both Myst and its sequel Riven showed us just how immersive computer games could be, and how it's never wrong to trust the player to decipher the strange, awe-inspiring worlds you build for them.
Perhaps our favorite game within the survival genre, Don't Starve takes a page out of the Myst book, confidently dropping the player into an unknown wilderness and telling them to figure out how not to die. Aquamarine wants to balance that focus on discovery and open-ended play with a compelling narrative that pushes you to take the risks needed for you to see what happens next.
This recent title blew us out of the water when we first picked it up, as its hand-dawn underground bug kingdom felt so alive and fully realized. Though Aquamarine is by no means an action-platformer game inspired by Metroid and Castlevania, Hollow Knight's way of creating a lush and captivating world with simple animation is a standard we aspire to.
An innovator and master of synth music in the '70s and '80s, Jean-Michel Jarre is the main inspiration behind Aquamarine's soundtrack. His iconic albums Oxygène and Équinoxe perfectly encapsulate the sense of mystery, majesty, and adventure that we want to evoke, and were even used as placeholder music in early prototypes of our game.
HYPER LIGHT DRIFTER OST BY DISASTERPEACE
Few games have made such a deep impression on us recently as Hyper Light Drifter has. Among the many reasons we fell in love with the beautifully crafted game is its soundtrack, a vibrant spread of lush electronics that brings to mind the past, present, and future all at once. Composed by the artist Disasterpeace, the Hyper Light Drifter OST inspires us to create video game music with rich emotion and colorful complexity.
◈ ONE COPY OF AQUAMARINE FOR MAC AND PC ◈
This is it, the main event. We can't thank you enough for supporting this ambitious little project of ours, but we're going to at least start by giving you a digital copy of Aquamarine for you to cherish and revisit as often as you like. We intend to make the game Mac, PC, and Linux compatible, and available on digital platforms Steam, GOG, and Itch.
AVAILABLE AT ALL TIERS ABOVE "WELL-WISHER"
◈ HAND-DRAWN DIGITAL WALLPAPERS ◈
AVAILABLE AT "FRIENDLY SUPPORTER" ($20) TIER AND ABOVE
◈ YOUR NAME IN THE CREDITS ◈
You've done something incredible by supporting Aquamarine and its team of developers, and we want to let the world know this wouldn't be possible without you.
AVAILABLE AT "INVESTED PATRON" ($25) TIER AND ABOVE
◈ BACKER-ONLY DISCORD ACCESS ◈
We've got a Discord server, and you're invited. Follow our updates throughout Aquamarine's months of development, chat with the developers and fellow backers, and maybe discover an interesting thing or two in the process.
AVAILABLE AT "GRACIOUS COMPANION" ($30) TIER AND ABOVE
◈ AQUAMARINE OST DOWNLOAD EXCLUSIVE TO BACKERS ◈
AVAILABLE AT "FASCINATED FAMILIAR" ($40) TIER AND ABOVE
◈ LIMITED-EDITION SIGNED CASSETTE OF AQUAMARINE OST ◈
Whether or not you have a cassette deck, this limited-edition tape is an ideal collectible for any fan of synth music and video game soundtracks. We'll be manufacturing these and sending them out as soon as Aquamarine's soundtrack is finished, complete with original hand-drawn art exclusive to this cassette release.
AVAILABLE AT "ENTHRALLED EXPLORER" ($125), "ENCHANTED EXPLORER" ($150), AND "THE OMNIPRESENCE" ($1,000) TIERS
◈ BACKER-ONLY BETA ACCESS ◈
We'll be beta testing Aquamarine as early as February 2019, and Kickstarter backers will be the only ones with access to the build. Come help us double check for bugs, suggest areas that need more polishing, and take your first look at Aquamarine's completed story.
AVAILABLE AT "FELLOW TRAVELER" ($50) TIERS AND ABOVE
◈ DIGITAL ART BOOK ◈
Once the artwork of Aquamarine is finished, we'll compile our favorite sketches, concept art, in-game drawings, and much more into an annotated PDF collection only available to Kickstarter backers.
AVAILABLE AT "FELLOW TRAVELER" ($50) TIERS AND ABOVE
◈ LIMITED-EDITION SIGNED ART PRINTS & POSTCARD ◈
AVAILABLE AT "ADVENTURING COMPANION" ($75), "COURAGEOUS SIDEKICK" ($100), "ENTHRALLED EXPLORER" ($125), "ENCHANTED EXPLORER" ($150), AND "THE OMNIPRESENCE" ($1,000) TIERS. ALL TIERS ABOVE "ADVENTURING COMPANION" ($75) RECEIVE A COMPLIMENTARY AQUAMARINE POSTCARD.
◈ YOUR NAME FEATURED IN THE GAME WORLD ◈
Does what it says on the tin. If you've ever wanted your name immortalized in a handcrafted sci-fi world, now's your chance to make it happen.
AVAILABLE AT "ADVENTURING COMPANION" ($75) TIERS AND ABOVE
◈ HELP US CREATE AN IN-GAME CREATURE ◈
For those who wish to get involved in the creative process, join us in creating one of Aquamarine's many indigenous creatures. We will collaborate with you not only on the look and characteristics of the creature, but also its mechanics and behavior.
AVAILABLE AT "FEARLESS MARINER" ($500) AND "THE OMNIPRESENCE" ($1,000) TIERS
◈ COMMISSIONED ORIGINAL ART PRINT ◈
If you'd like an original piece of art drawn in the style of Aquamarine, you've come to the right place. You will work with our lead artist to conceptualize the piece, and then it will be drawn, colored, and printed to the agreed specifications.
AVAILABLE AT THE "SOUL CREATOR" ($2,000) TIER
◈ ORIGINAL PHOTO PRINT BY TONJE THILESEN ◈
The landscapes and vistas of northern Norway were a major inspiration for the art and world-design of Aquamarine, and our art director Tonje Thilesen has photographed the region extensively. Backers can choose one of two limited prints available exclusively through this Kickstarter campaign: an A3 landscape print and a 12" x 12" square print, both taken on the coast of Steigen, Norway.
AVAILABLE AT "GUIDED SEARCHER" ($300) AND "THE OMNIPRESENCE" ($1,000) TIERS
In January 2018, Moebial Studios began as a creative hobby for Brooklyn-based writer/music journalist Patric Fallon and photographer/graphic designer Tonje Thilesen. The two had experimented with making their own games in the past, but this was the first time they had a clear vision and plan for what they would create. Months were spent prototyping and refining their game idea, as well as the project's overall aesthetic, but it wasn't until June 2018 that full-time production began.
Needing an animator to fully realize the world of Aquamarine, they did what all newcomers would do--hop online and ask around. By a massive stroke of luck they discovered Drew Brouillette, a budding illustrator, designer, and animator based in Ontario, Canada. He quickly became vital to the development of Aquamarine, and soon it was time to approach the game's music.
Patric and Tonje didn't have to look far: Jeremy Malvin, a friend whose albums as Chrome Sparks Tonje had done design and photo work for, wasn't just interested in collaborating, he just so happened to already be writing the exact kind of retro-inspired synth music the game needed for its soundtrack. And with that, the many talented studios of Moebial settled into orbit around Aquamarine.
◈ WATCH AN INTERVIEW WITH LEAD DESIGNER PATRIC FALLON ◈
Aquamarine is the first commercial game developed by the Moebial Studios team. Because we all come from professional backgrounds outside of the game industry, we are still working to build our community and support structure in the world of independent games. Kickstarter isn't just a way for us to raise the funds needed to craft a meaningful experience to our specific standards, it's also how we can connect in a greater way with the people who share our same passion for games and interactive storytelling.
Risks and challenges
We are a team of newcomers to the world of game development, which for us presents both obstacles and exciting opportunities. We will be learning some new skills and experimenting with our approaches as we create Aquamarine, and that always has the potential for setbacks. Our team is prepared to work together to overcome these challenges as they arise, and to use the knowledge gained from those difficult experiences to make our game the best it can be.
We've already set a standard for how to work smartly together on Aquamarine's demo, and we will only continue to improve that workflow moving forward. Thankfully, one of our strong suits is how to do a lot with a little. Because this is a passion project for us, most of the funds raised in this Kickstarter campaign are funneled directly into handling our production needs. No one is receiving a full living wage while creating Aquamarine, but we are all making it a priority to finish the game to our absolute highest standards.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (27 days)