December 30, 2013

Project Nimbus Preparing For Takeoff

Project Nimbus

I have to admit, if I were to guess where the next great anime-inspired, mecha sci-fi shooter title was coming from, Thailand might not have been first on my list. However, indie developer GameCrafterTeam has blown that expectation out of the sky with a very impressive-looking entry called Project Nimbus. This free-flying aerial combat game will take players soaring through the clouds above the ruins of a war-wracked planet, piloting robotic suits called BattleFrames in intense mid-air dogfights.

Though the game has come a long way since development began in December of 2012, and it's already looking incredibly polished, the team has put up a Kickstarter campaign in an effort to make sure the end product gets the refinements it deserves. As of this writing, they're over halfway to reaching their £6000 goal (that's roughly $10k in Canadian dollars) and hopefully the latest trailer will encourage enough backers to chip in the remaining amount.

Project Nimbus wears its anime influences on its sleeve, without going overboard with it. The BattleFrame units have that distinctive, larger-than-life flair that mecha fans will appreciate, while not quite approaching the zany amount of impracticality one might see in a Gundam series or Xenogears. The designs range from mass-produced to exotic, while graphical concerns like colour and lighting are highly realistic and gorgeous. Weapons seem to stick to relatively sensible choices like machine guns, homing missiles and drones. I didn't see any robots wielding laser swords, though the the giant Patriot boss at the end of the first chapter does sport an ostentatious wingspan:

There will be a lofty amount of different BattleFrame designs and models in the game, ranging in size and weapon loadouts. One of the really neat aspects of Nimbus is that each unit eventually becomes unlocked for your characters by completing missions, ensuring a lot of replayability and unique challenges for repeated runs.

Project Nimbus

What has me intrigued, aside from the combat, is the promise of a good story. The population is split into three warring factions, each vying for supremacy of the embattled world. Throughout the plot, players will assume the role of characters on different sides of the conflict, aiming to reestablish peace in spite of the avarice of humanity. This "heroes on both sides" concept is one of my favourite aspects of mecha anime, and it's in design choices like this that I see Project Nimbus becoming a worthy tribute to the genre. Another good thing is that the game isn't simply a vehicle for competitive multiplayer, like so many shooters these days. GameCrafterTeam is focusing strictly on a quality single-player campaign, with possible multiplayer modes being considered afterward.

The game is already green-lit for release on Steam, though no solid date is set as of yet. Still, English voice actors are being hired and the devs seem to really have a clear vision, so I expect progress to go smoothly provided they have the funding. If you're a fan of sci-fi mecha anime, or looking for a fast-paced action experience, head over to their site and take a look at what they're working on.

Project Nimbus (Development Progress Blog)

Project Nimbus Kickstarter

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