Two rare qualities distinguish the Kickstarter campaign for Celestian Tales: Realms Beyond. First, it's a success. Developer Ekuator Games asked for $15,000 and earned nearly $22,000, hitting two stretch goals in the process. Second, it has a free demo that you can download and try.
Realms Beyond is the sequel to Celestian Tales: Old North, which was successfully Kickstarted in 2014. Realms Beyond continues the story of the six Companions of House Levant, a group of knights sworn to protect their house and its infant heir, and is built around complex storytelling.
If you've played Old North, Realms Beyond will read your save and shape its world to match your past choices. If you're new to the series, you'll begin Realms Beyond by answering questions to help define the setting. Which is important, since Realms Beyond is centrally about branching stories.
"The evocative story branches in certain points, forcing you to take a choice of action or a point of view among several," its Kickstarter reads. "Your knowledge of what happens on the other side is limited, and even the most trusted of allies rarely tell the whole story."
From the demo alone, it's clear there's a lot of head-hopping in Realms Beyond. It regularly asks you to slip into the shoes of one of its six protagonists to make decisions which affect not only that individual character's sidestory, but also the overarching plot. Among other things, your party makeup, the areas you visit and the characters you encounter change based on your actions.
Its story isn't the only interesting thing about Realms Beyond, mind. It plays like a competent, albeit standard turn-based RPG, but it mixes hand-painted landscapes and crisp 2D sprites in cool ways. It's also carried by a folky, upbeat score which you can sample on its Kickstarter.
Celestian Tales: Realms Beyond is expected to release this December.