Meet Kova, a Metroidvania sidescroller with the controls of a FPS, the heart of an RPG, and the curiosity required to unravel the Fermi Paradox. Kova is the first PC title from Texas game makers Black Hive Media. Kova has just announced its kickstarter today after being successfully greenlit by the Steam community. As Kova’s support grows and the developers release more information, it’s time for a roundup of what we know.
You play the game as Kova Rimor, a mercenary whose ship is crashed by an enemy attack. Once she gathers what she can to survive on an icy planet she discovers a set of beacon signals leading her further. This mystery is set in a rich world with three main factions (the Intergalatic Alliance Authority, OM1NOUS, and TRIADYNE) all struggling for dominance in a an ever-expanding world. As humanity’s technology rapidly advances, so too does their reach across the galaxy. Rebel faction OM1NOUS joins forces with neglected and mistreated droids to staunch society’s wounds created by the IAA’s focus on weaponry and expansion and fear-mongering propaganda. All the while, droid manufacturers TRIADYNE play both sides, allowing them to maintain their monopoly and continue to progress their technology and grow their power secretly. These rifts come together as the troubled and rich backdrop for Kova’s story.
With multiple factions to join and many unique characters to encounter and interact with, Kova teases a rich story. It appears as if Black Hive has this balance of storytelling and gameplay in mind even in these alpha stages, which gives the game potential for a high replay value. Planets are all equipped with unique atmospheres and central town hubs that offer you access to mercenary work, and like any good quest system these jobs help you to level up, upgrade your character, and earn your coin all while exploring the world. Along the way you’ll also be fighting against smart AI in tactical scenarios. Adventuring on these planets will help you discover the secrets that the universe holds and uncover the mystery of the beacon signals Kova discovers when she first crash lands.
Kova is equipped with a mining and crafting system to help you gain the resources you need as you travel from planet to planet. The kickstarter also promises an upgrade tree that can be tailored to your playstyle, just as in any good RPG, and can also help advance your ship’s technology so you can travel father out into the solar system. With these elements in mind, it appears that Kova is not limiting itself to just one genre but instead taking on the ambitious and exciting task of bringing together the best of many video game genres.
On the environmental side of things, Black Hive Studio says their goal is for Kova to demonstrate “a ‘concept first’ approach to art style that puts an emphasis on capturing the feeling of a conceptual aesthetic that often gets lost when translating from paper to production. Our pipeline blurs the line between concept and game-ready assets.” This much becomes clear when viewing some of their Head Artist’s Blake Lower’s concept work alongside the trailer and assets they have available for preview, such as in the concept art and screenshot of the spaceship above. As for the sound, Adam J. Pope’s music is haunting and electric and already seems as if it will be a perfect match for Kova’s wild planets. The music brings to mind classics Primordia and Transistor, both sci-fi champions of the intersection of storytelling and video games.
As many gamers know, Kickstarter is the birthplace of many indie classics (including the latest smash hit from Infinite Fall, Night in the Woods.) Black Hive Media is dedicated to getting Kova off the ground, and as they explain on their kickstarter, their passion for the game is clear:
“This is the game we want to make and we have the responsibility – no, DUTY – to deliver on every promise and every dime contributed. We see Kova as a studio accomplishment, so its release is the highest priority, not only for the company but to every team member.”
Reaching Greenlight status on the same day as the launch of their kickstarter is certainly an auspicious beginning to their funding period. As the kickstarter continues and Black Hive Media releases more information, we’ll be watching to see what comes out of this project. Stay tuned for more news about Kova from Gamer’s Almanac.