Update: In an update on the kickstarter page, Headcannon developer Stealth, (real name Simon Thomley) has confirmed that the crowd funding campaign for Vertebreaker has been cancelled after one week. Calling the campaign a "spectacular failure", he has outlined the problems in the video below.
The developer states that after one week the 16-bit style game raised only 5% of its goal, with momentum dropping to almost nothing. He also goes into detail about his personal circumstances following the success of Sonic Mania, a Darkwing Duck remaster prototype he was working on and how this led to a rushed Vertebreaker campaign. Despite the huge success of Sonic Mania, Thomley as a contractor doesn't see continued sales royalties and he discusses the incorrect perception that he must be wealthy following his involvement with that game.
Vertebreaker certainly looked very promising for fans of that vintage of Mega Drive / Genesis platformers (check out the original story and video below) and Thomley says Headcannon plans to regroup and return with a beefed-up campaign in the future. We wish the whole team well and hope circumstances improve for everyone involved.
Original story: Fri 1st Nov, 2019 12:00 GMT
Developer Headcannon, probably best known for helping bring Sonic the Hedgehog back to his former 16-bit glory with Sonic Mania (along with Christian Whitehead and PagodaWest), has launched a Kickstarter for a 2D platformer reminiscent of classic Mega Drive titles from the early '90s. Vertebreaker sees you take control of a fallen hero who's been reduced to his bones but has the use of a bone-claw grappling hook which helps him traverse levels in style.
The game has been shown previously and uses Headcannon's 'Methyl' engine to simulate the look-and-feel of its 16-bit inspirations. As you can see from the trailer, maintaining momentum through the swinging mechanics appears to be the gameplay 'hook' here. Movement over the ground without the aid of the bony 'hookshot' is relatively sluggish, so you'll have to master swinging through the retro levels if you want to keep your speed up.
Headcannon's lead developer is Simon Thomley, better known by his alias Stealth on the internet, and has plenty of experience with Mega Drive platformers. With Sonic Mania being such a well-received nostalgia trip, it seems that Headcannon is looking to do something similar with Vertebreaker, albeit with new mechanics and a different spin on 16-bit-style platforming.
After a few seconds of the trailer above (and with some excellent FM chiptunes from Michael Staple), it's impossible to think of any system but Sega's Genesis. If you're a fan of that console and games like Ristar and Dynamite Headdy, this could be right up your alley. Obviously, there's a way to go yet - the Kickstarter has only just launched and the Switch port stretch goal sits at an not-inconsiderable $330,000 - but you can download a PC demo via the game's Kickstarter page to find out if Vertebreaker tickles your retro bone.
Are you a fan of 16-bit platformers? Like the look of Vertebreaker? Let us know with a comment below.