Spleen is part-life-sim, part-2D RPG, part-commentary on the mundanity of adult life, and it's now on Kickstarter (opens in new tab), looking for CA$90,000 by the end of the month.
The "PC-first" game, from Montreal-based studio Pamplemousse Games, certainly looks the part: its backgrounds are wonderful watercolor creations, and the main character Johann drags a giant yellow sword behind him, much like the protagonist in Supergiant's Transistor. Combat looks flashy and acrobatic, a mixture of dashes, wall jumps and quick combos.
Those portions all happen in the "Kid World", a dimension that protagonist Johann is able to enter. In the real, adult world he's "feeling the weight and responsibilities of his life slowly breaking his spirit. His work is crushing, his dreams are fading and he realizes that adulthood isn't really what he was hoping for". Adventuring in the Kid World is his escape—but you'll also control him in the Adult World too.
It's this portion that intrigues me the most. It's described as a life sim in which you're making decisions about how to split your time. Do you spend time with friends, sharing a meal or playing games together? Do you relax on your own at home? Or do you go to a bar to flirt in an attempt to find love? I love the mood of these scenes, which you can watch in the trailer above.
Every decision will impact Johann's wellbeing, and the Adult World and Kid World interact with one another. You can find cards in the Adult World that will give kid Johann new powers. In the Kid World, you can find vignettes that "guide adult Johann towards hope". The ultimate goal is to defeat the Spleen, described as a "malevolent force that grows from his melancholy and search for sources of inspiration and hope".
The combat framerate looks choppy, but other than that, I'm impressed. In its first five days on Kickstarter, the team has raised CA$25,000 of their goal. Pledges start at CA$25 (roughly $19/£14), which will get you a digital copy of the game. Check it out here (opens in new tab).