Kova is a side-scrolling action RPG in the metroidvania style. Take on the role of Kova, a mercenary-explorer surviving through tough times as she crosses the galaxy. Interact with larger-than-life characters, travel to hand-painted planets, and struggle against vicious creatures as you unravel the universe's greatest mystery - why has humanity never encountered intelligent alien life?
You take control of Kova, a space mercenary that has found herself between paydays as she flies to a local Hub in hopes of a job lead. She's soon given a warm welcome by a nearby opponent's ship that takes out her main thruster. With no choice but to land, she sets coordinates to a close by (but extremely cold and uninhabited) planet where she must pick up the pieces to progress. After mining for some resources on the icy planet, she is able to get her ship back online only to stumble upon an ancient beacon. When she actives this beacon, some sort of encrypted chip ejects from it, and the radar on the ship goes ballistic with several more beacon signals. What purpose do these beacons serve? Who put them here? Who else might be after them?
Throughout your journey of collecting beacons, you will interact with a wide gamut of personalities and characters that may just change how you want to proceed. From droids, fellow mercenaries, faction leaders or just the town folk, their personalities and stories can tap into your conscience.
Similar to an FPS, there will be full directional aiming and shooting for both primary and secondary weapons. You'll be able to take cover during intense battles between enemies and quickly change weapons. Using the digital pad, you’ll have access to some quick crafting items that will allow you to recharge your battery, refill your health or reload your weapons. Completing missions and talking with different engineers will help you unlock more advanced maneuvers with ‘suit chips’.
Three distinct factions control the colonized planets. During the game, you’ll receive side missions from each faction, for which you’ll get reputation points for the respective group (as well as new weapons or other items that will help you in the primary mission.) The more reputation points you earn with a faction, the more access points you will gain in certain areas of the planet maps and the dialogue with NPCs may also play out differently.
- Intergalactic Alliance Authority (IAA) - The governing body seeking control and domination
- OM1NOUS - The rebellious group, fighting for droid rights
- TRIADYNE - The corporation, creating advanced robotics and weaponry
Kova has atmospheric planets, each with their own sprawling "wild" levels accompanied by a town hub, custom to each inhabited planet. You’ll be able to interact with the local colonists of each hub that will offer you jobs. Each job will take you into the alluring, yet harsh conditions of each planet, to earn credits for upgrades (which will help you in your main investigation around the mysterious beacons.) As well as developing a functioning vertical slice, we have also been hard at work fleshing out the worlds and feel of the game. Our artist, Blake has been very meticulous in designing beautiful set pieces until they perfectly represent the intended target imagery, so that we (and you) can visualize our universe.
Uncovering A Mystery As Old As Time
Traveling to different planets, collecting beacons and piecing together the map fragments hidden within each one, you'll also find obelisks that have gone undetected until you activated that first beacon. As you visit each one you will uncover more of the mysteries of the Universe, as told before humans inhabited it, and gain access to new items or abilities.
As you move from planet to planet you'll be required to refuel and maintain your ship - either by buying materials or mining the resources and crafting it. As you find more minerals across new planets you will be able to craft new weapon ammo, save points to deploy, battery and health packs.
Leveling Up, RPG-style
Depending on your play style, you can earn new primary and secondary weapons, but Kova also has a large upgrade tree to increase her abilities. You can upgrade from the smallest details like battery power all the way to cybernetics if you wish. But it’s not all weapons and skills! To reach the more distant destinations, you’ll need to also upgrade your ship’s abilities by visiting different engineers that will craft the parts needed to increase your ship’s range.
As humans ventured further out to colonize planets and expand their reach, the galaxy fell into turmoil. With the incredible resources that were discovered and mined on planets outside of the original solar system, they were able to advance their technology tenfold — and their weaponry didn't stray behind either.
With the constant fear of what lurked in the darkness ahead weapons became stronger, droids became more advanced and citizens grew divided. Soon enough humans had created their own demise by going to war with each other over the growing fear that they were inviting a new species that would destroy them. IAA, the governing body, sought to keep expanding and spread propaganda and fear of what would happen if they stopped, but it only further divided the citizens.
As this fear grew, so did OM1NOUS’s reach. These rebels worked against the further colonization of planets - as the more humankind expanded, the less they could maintain the lives of those that were already in dire straits. Humans could now cure many diseases and cancers, but the droids that the greatest minds had worked so hard to create could not gain basic living rights. They were treated like dogs and left to rust as the IAA only looked to the future. With a common enemy, the droids joined forces with OM1NOUS.
The division between the IAA and OM1NOUS was getting deeper and yet the major manufacturer of droids remained unscathed. TRIADYNE, the monopoly corporation in robotics and weapons manufacturing, only cared about progressing their technology at any cost. Dealing secretly with the other two factions allowed them to undermine any Alliance law.
Caught between all of the chaos were the few that kept their heads down and their eyes on the money. There is still plenty of Galactic Credit to go around, it's just a matter of who you know and who's willing to deal. Regardless of the daily grind, there's still the lurking thought of the phantom evil that may some day arise, but the best anyone can do right now is just survive.
Kova's original music is written by Houston native and sci-fi geek, Adam J. Pope. He has dedicated the past 20 years to creating music and art, writing for a wide variety of circumstances including live performances, original soundtracks and interactive sound installations. He has worked closely with Blake to carefully capture the delicate atmosphere and other worldly feel for the game. Adam's work can be found on SoundCloud. The Kova OST will be available for sale once the game releases at the end of the year.
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Kova utilizes 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. Our Head artist, Blake Lowry, has done artwork for film and games, including the History Channel, the Prometheus Blu-Ray extras, as well as projects with the original creators of Guitar Hero.
Our animations utilize the latest tech in 2D animation, taking advantage of Nima, an advanced cloud-based 2D animation tool from 2Dimensions. Kova has the backing of Luigi and Guido Rosso, twin brothers and creators of Nima. They have extensive backgrounds in design and engineering (Archetype, Intel) and are by our side on-call, for the Black Hive team, to push the envelope for Kova's animation technology.
Every visual in the game builds upon great works of inspiration by other artistic visions that are heavily influential to our team. We do want to create something familiar but not so much so that it isn't striking, so we utilize a color palette and aesthetic that symbolizes these familiar themes, but accent it with imagery and effects to give it a truly unique atmosphere.