Whisker Squadron has officially launched with a Kickstarter campaign, and it looks like a serious throwback to the glory days of games like Star Fox. The game comes from Flippfly, the small indie studio behind Race the Sun. The comparisons between Star Fox and Whisker Squadron are obvious, as the latter stars a team of high-flying cats in the same forward-scrolling style as Nintendo’s series. At the moment Whisker Squadron is planned for Steam and Epic Games Store, but the team is hoping to launch on PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch as well.
Flippfly’s Kickstarter page specifically points out Star Fox as an inspiration, reading “When we created Race The Sun in 2013, we took aesthetic cues from classic low-poly games like Star Fox for the Super Nintendo, and created something with a uniquely minimalist feeling that was loved by our fans. ”
Whisker Squadron continues to develop on that minimalist idea, putting a higher focus on combat and creating a procedurally-generated universe. Choosing from three different feline pilots, you have to take on the aptly-named PAW Technologies as they try to destroy the universe.
Inserting a rogue-like formula into a Star Fox kind of experience, Whisker Squadron looks to be something wholly unique. Players get one life to play through a 3-act campaign filled with different planets and space encounters. The worlds and bosses players take on are entirely procedurally generated, meaning it’ll be a different experience each time you play through. Another interesting tidbit is that the game will have highly customizable difficulty settings, letting you fine-tune things like the number of shields you have or the amount of enemies you encounter. Depending on how deep these options go, it could be a great way to make the game more accessible.
The procedural gameplay is meant to complement the minimalist style, and Whisker Squadron looks absolutely gorgeous. Flippfly makes sure to clarify that it is a work in progress, though and subject to change. The development team is joined by Chel Wong, an award-winning composer behind the soundtracks for Kine, Watch This Space, and more.
As a Kickstarter, Whisker Squadron has plenty of rewards for backers. My personal favorite is the $500 reward that lets you send in a picture of your pet or animal persona, putting them in the game as a secret playable character. Backers can donate any amount they want, but the minimum to get a PC copy of the game is $20. The schedule laid out by Flippfly puts the beta being complete by June 2021, with backers getting access to it on PC. By December 2021 the game is planned to be content complete and then will launch in May 2022.
At the time of writing, Whisker Squadron’s Kickstarter has already cleared $11,000 and still has 29 days left in its campaign. There aren’t a lot of forward-scrolling shooters these days, especially since Star Fox has been missing in action since the release of Star Fox Zero on Wii U. There’s plenty of other information on Whisker Squadron’s Kickstarter page, where Flippfly lays out the budget, gameplay design, and more.