October 18, 2013 2:28 PM | Paul Hack
You might be familiar with some of Jack King-Spooner's mind-blowing games like the Will You Ever Return? series, Sluggish Morss: A Delicate Time in History, or the recent Inventor. With the launch of his Kickstarter campaign today, we can hopefully soon add Beeswing to the list. Beeswing is the name of the rural Scottish town where Jack King-Spooner grew up and where he once again resides. Beeswing is also the name of the developer's most ambitious and personal project to date, a game set in and around a sort of magical-realist version of the town.
The gameplay is inspired by Zelda: Link's Awakening, Earthbound, and classic RPGs like the Mana series, but it's focused on exploration, interaction, and discovery rather than combat. You'll meet a huge cast of characters, many based on real people, and hear their stories. You'll witness beauty, strangeness, and tragedy. There are some non-traditional puzzles to solve and even some "quests", and there are a variety of endings to find (which King-Spooner describes as "Good endings and better endings").
All of King-Spooner's strengths are on display here: handcrafted visual art in various mediums, original music, memorable characters, wickedly pithy writing. He is adept at combining thoughtful exploration of serious themes with impish, off-color humor. It's always worth tracking down all of the NPCs in his games so you can read all of their dialogue.
King-Spooner's actually been working on Beeswing here and there for a long time--since before his first release. I've been able to play a few early sections of the game, and the experience is nothing short of magical. Playing it feels like participating in a myth or a fable molded into the template of a 16-bit RPG and presented with lavish, handmade art. The visuals use an impressive mix of mediums, including watercolor, graphite, and modeling clay. You can see more of the art, and hear some of the amazing music, on the Beeswing Kickstarter page.