Pankapu: The Dreamkeeper is a 2D episodic Action-Platformer made by the French developer Too Kind Studio. The game was on Kickstarter last year and gathered 53,120 euros, which not only completed the funding goal but achieved also several stretch goals. With this, new skins, professional voice actors and a PS4 (and XBOX One) port could be assured.
Unfortunately, the game kept short of reaching the most important goal for us, a PSVita port of the game as the stretch goal was set at 60,000 euros and fell 6,880 euros short, potentially denying us this great looking game to our favourite handheld.
The developers still want to realize a Vita version and have opened now a SlackerBacker Paypal page where people can preorder the game. The incoming money counts towards the original Vita stretch goal and makes it still possible to make it a reality. The game will be sold on the page until the end of March with the same rewards from their Kickstarter. This means 20 € for the full game, 35 € for the game plus the soundtrack, new skins and your name in the credits, 45 € adds up a digital artbook and 55 € gets you everything mentioned before plus some special Backer sets of weapons and armours. From 70 € to 150 € you can also add physical rewards to your digital goodies, such as a plush, the OST, an artbook or even a signed and numbered canvas of the art director.
As you see, around 300 gamers preordering the game now can already make it happen. So, Vita community, this is a job for us!
Let me tell you about the story of Pankapu. Djaha’Rell is a child whose nights are regularly troubled by nightmares. In order to overcome his fears, his father tells him the story of Pankapu, the Dreamkeeper. The player is then invited to live the adventures of the tiny warrior through the eyes of Djaha’Rell.
The game is a projection of Djaha’Rell’s mind, and it all takes place inside this imaginary world. In this way, most of the characters and situations come from his troubled past, and the player, if he/she is a little bit curious, will find the parallel between these two stories.
This mise en abyme will settle a dual narration. The young player will then follow the adventures of Pankapu, as he would in a traditional tale, while the more mature ones will read between the lines and discover the tragic story of Djaha’Rell, and how he overcomes his trauma.
During his quest Pankapu will bear different Aegis. Each one acting like a specialization and switchable in real time, fully changing the skills and weapons of our hero.
Every Aegis has a skill tree that can be upgraded to give new powers. These abilities will be unlock as you (re)explore the levels. This system is called Nebula.
All the different levels that you will go through are nonlinear and can be re-explored as much as you want. With the help of your new powers, new paths will appears, allowing you to find hidden secrets all over the dream land Omnia. Moreover, this is how you will find fragments of Djaha’Rell’s lost memory and discover all the mysteries surrounding his life.
The voice acting is planned to be supported by Kai Kennedy (Beowulf in Skullgirls), who seems to be a perfect fit as narrator of the story line.
The gameplay reminds me of Rayman with a stronger focus on fighting; and it feels absolutely great. I played the Kickstarter demo and had a lot of fun! The demo is still downloadable on their KS page, so check it out on PC.
The game is programmed in Unity, a game engine which already showed its usefulness for many Vita games. The list includes titles such as Volume, Teslagrad and the upcoming forma.8. A Vita port of Pankapu seems therefore more than feasible. The developers told me that they are looking forward to a Vita version, as they think it would be a great fit ‘on the go’. Besides, they were absolutely astonished by the passion Vita players showed them for Pankapu on Twitter.
The game is planned to be produced in episodic format with the first chapter releasing already before the summer of 2016. The whole game will consist of four episodes including two chapters each and a planned full release in summer 2017. The Vita version will get the full release, if enough backers are found for the project. The Paypal page will be open until the end of March, so make sure to spread the word and get your copy with special backer extras as soon as possible. The Vita community may not be the biggest but we are a bunch of dedicated gamers that can make it happen. At the beginning I said 300 people are needed, let’s make it 299, because I’m already in. Long live the Vita!
Are you interested in supporting Pankapu? Head over to this SlackerBacker link and help make it a reality!