Back in February, the Savannah Morning News published an article about Beaufort game studio Burgos Games and their exciting first title "Neko Ghost, Jump!"
The promising new game was originally expected to be released this summer, but circumstances have caused a delay. Fortunately, the delay also affords the developers extra time to make sure that "Neko Ghost, Jump!" will be even better when it does launch.
To get over the final hump, Burgos Games has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the final release.
"I had enough funds to launch the game by the end of this summer, but sadly, because of COVID-19 and a bunch of other things, it definitely doesn’t seem like we’ll be able to hit that summer mark," explained Victor Burgos, Founder and Creative Director of Burgos Games.
"Also, I’m not satisfied with the amount of polish on the game. This is not the first game that I’ve launched, but it will be the first game I launch with my own company, so it’s one of those special moments where I need a good first impression. It doesn’t have to be the next "Fortnite," but it needs to be where I don’t feel bad for launching the game. I want to make sure it’s a game where I put the best effort I could with the time and money I had."
"Neko Ghost, Jump!" was born out of an Unreal 4 GameJam where small teams of game developers had five days to create a playable game.
"I started recruiting a month prior to the jam, then we started to get to know each other a bit, and finally we hit the ground running on that day when the theme was announced," recalled Burgos. "We clicked pretty well and in five days we came out with...something."
That "something" was an extremely cute and clever puzzle/platformer about a cat named Nekoman who tries to save his girlfriend from space pirate dogs by switching between 2D and 3D perspectives, and corporeal and ghost forms, to navigate challenging terrain. The innovative game design draws comparisons to games like the indie classic "Fez" and Nintendo’s "Paper Mario." A video on the game’s website shows off the evolution from cobbled together concept to fully realized product.
Burgos, who is a 12-year Marine Veteran and SCAD graduate, usually prefers to play intense strategy games like "XCOM:UFO Defense" and "League of Legends."
"I went the opposite route," said Burgos. "I made this cute, single player puzzle platformer for my first game...It was completely out of the blue because of GameJam. The theme was ‘The Other Side of the Coin’, so basically what I was trying to figure out were things that are connected, or similar, but opposite."
And the colorful, cute aesthetic…
"People love cats," explained Burgos. "Cat games do pretty well, and dogs and puppy things. I thought, let me just try it. Let me just try all this cuteness and aesthetics and see if I can get all the kids to beg their parents, so I can get the game in front of parents."
Burgos has retained much of his original development team and has expanded Burgos Games to nine people working remotely from locations all over the world including Russia, Australia, and Germany. Even before its release, "Neko Ghost, Jump!" has garnered some acclaim such as earning "Best Casual Game" at Dreamhack Anaheim, and being named a 2019 IndieDB Top 100 Indie of the Year, which, considering there are over 50,000 games listed on the site, is a remarkable distinction.
The Kickstarter campaign offers many incentives to donate including fancy pens, art books, soundtracks, mouse pads, and a chance to design a boss or biome. However, one piece of merchandise is garnering the most attention — an adorable plushy of the titular cat.
"Everyone loves this plushy," said Burgos. "People have been upgrading their pledges so they can get a plushy delivered to them."
"Neko Ghost, Jump!" is slated for all of the major platforms including Xbox One and Series X, Playstation 4 and 5, Windows/Linux, and Nintendo Switch. A playable demo is currently available on several applications including Steam. So far, its mix of fuzzy characters and challenging levels has drawn the interest of a wide audience.
"It’s really weird because our demographics are all over the place," said Burgos.
"We’ve got kids from 6, who find it kind of hard — it’s really 8 or 9 that you can start playing it — and we’ve got grandmas and grandpas in their late eighties playing the game. It’s been really fun. It’s been a joy to see the different demographics, females and males pretty evenly split. It’s nice to see everyone of all ages and sexes and race, they all enjoy it."
frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen>