When J.U.L.I.A. first launched a year ago, we were quite impressed with the unique sci-fi puzzler (giving it a 4-star review and two 2012 Aggie Award nominations), but indie developer CBE wasn't totally satisfied with the results – and worse, was never fully compensated by the game's UK publisher for their efforts. But rather than roll over at the injustice, the two-man Czech team has recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to develop an "Enhanced Edition" of the game.
J.U.L.I.A. tells the story of Rachel Manners, an astrobiologist chosen as part of a very special mission to explore the galaxy in search of sentient extraterrestrial life-forms. When she awakens from cryo-sleep, however, Rachel discovers that the rest of the crew is long gone and the ship is in desperate need of repair. With only the help of her craft's titular A.I. and a hulking reconnaissance robot named Mobot, Rachel must search the planets in the immediate solar system in order to save herself and figure out what went wrong.
Offering an intriguing mix of diverse gameplay, including some text-based adventuring, the game's developers prefer to call J.U.L.I.A. a "logical video game” to describe its highly streamlined, task-driven exploration. But its independent financing showed in a fairly spartan presentation and a few rough edges that lead designer Jan Kavan would still like to improve.
By asking $5,000 through Indiegogo by April 12, CBE aims to create a more lifelike character model for Rachel, redesign problematic interface issues, and increase user-friendliness by making certain tasks (like resource harvesting) optional and adding an easy mode. The Enhanced Edition also promises to refine some of the puzzles themselves, add more music, and revise the script where necessary. The more contributions received, the more enhancements can be included. As a fixed funding campaign, the developers will only receive contributions if the full goal is met by deadline.
For a limited time, early backers can get a downloadable copy of the game for as little as $7 (after which it climbs only a couple dollars to $9). Upper tiers offer the likes of soundtrack and hintbook, a boxed version of the game, and your own personal logs in the game's computers. To learn more about J.U.L.I.A. Enhanced Edition or to pledge to the campaign, visit the Indiegogo page for complete details. You can also vote for the game on Steam Greenlight to release there when complete.
|Worldwide||September 12 2014||CBE|