When I was a child I often dreamt of my ideal game. I still do. It’d probably be somewhere in between Banjo-Kazooie, Castlevania and Metroid and have RPG elements and huge areas to explore. Sadly, I’m not a game developer and this idea will probably never come to fruition. Things are different however, for indie developer Andrew Bado. 25 years ago, he had a dream. The idea started off as a simple 8-bit platformer but has since evolved into a sprawling 2-D open world Metroidvania game, in and out of development for over a decade as he completed work for companies such as WayForward and Majesco. This long development cycle has seen the game go through countless transitions and changes, in part due to the fact that the game was essentially Bado’s hobby, sidelined to his free time. Now it seems like he’s finally ready to commit to finishing his magnum opus, saying with conviction that “now is the time”.
The game’s premise is reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, with a girl finding herself lost in a forest that becomes increasingly fantastical and bizarre and desperately attempting to escape. Although the source material is often used, Bado insists upon the originality of his work. This is easy to believe because it’s hard to imagine badgers with chainsaw arms or elephants with mini-gun tusks in Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s tale. As for gameplay, if you’ve ever found yourself lost in the worlds of the 2D Metroid games, or many of the Castlevania games that came after the ground breaking Symphony of the Night, then you know what to expect with Legend of Iya. It’s safe to assume that there will be an extensive map to explore, secrets to uncover, skills and items to find that gain you entry to previously inaccessible areas and interesting and varied settings. Something that sets the game apart from other Metroidvania games is the combo based melee battle system.
Legend of Iya’s artwork is one thing that sets it apart from a lot of games currently on the market and gives it an extra appeal to gamers that grew up in the 1990′s. The pixel art Bado has created is incredibly detailed with some of the most impressive backgrounds and character designs I’ve ever seen created in this style. The protagonist alone has around 500 frames of animation making her movements appear incredibly fluid. The impressive fantasy worlds evoke a sense of wonderment and nostalgia in me that not many things can.
With 25 days left of it’s Kickstarter campaign, Legend of Iya has reached $24,365 of it’s $75,000 goal. If you’re a fan of the genre or are just looking for a fresh experience, I highly recommend making a donation to make sure this nostalgic game makes it on to Steam in 2014. Pledging $10 will guarantee a DRM free copy of the game, with backer bonuses improving with money donated. You can also support the release of Legend of Iya by voting for it on Steam Greenlight. Let me know in the comments section below if you’ve ever played a Metroidvania, if this game looks exciting to you, or anything else you have to say about it.