Stalin vs. Martians 3's Kickstarter is hoping you've forgotten the awful mess that was Stalin vs. Martians.
Remember Stalin vs. Martians? Back in 2008, this was an RTS that showed lots of potential, even to non-RTS fans. Boasting easy-to-learn gameplay, Monty Pythonesque humor, and a version of Stalin five times bigger than any in-game unit, Stalin vs. Martians assured players it would emphasize fun over strategy. Well, it turns out that Stalin vs. Martians was a far better marketing campaign than, you know, an actual game. The finished product was poorly designed, had clunky controls, limited players to a single screen resolution, and generally fell flat on its face. Valve ultimately pulled the game from Steam's catalog, and it's wallowed in obscurity ever since. So imagine my surprise when I learn that Stalin vs. Martians 3 not only has its own Kickstarter page, but is asking for $125,000 to bring perhaps the least-demanded sequel ever into reality.
Stalin vs. Martians 3's marketing is, at the very least, as hilariously outrageous as the original. Outlining its core gameplay as "Battletech meets Desert Strike meets Cannon Fodder meets your mom", Stalin vs. Martians 3 is a faux-strategy game that offers exaggerated Russian hijinks and over-the-top action above all else. With a new team including individuals from S.T.A.L.K.E.R., Cossacks II: Napoleonic Wars, and CrimeCraft, Stalin vs. Martians 3 promises to be a bigger and functional version of what came before, complete with casual mini-games, a new soundtrack, and even more laugh-worthy videos.
If you're anything like me, your confidence in this project largely depends on whether you spent $15 on Stalin vs. Martians years ago. To its credit, the Kickstarter page does try to acknowledge the failings of its predecessor. "Okay, Stalin vs. Martians wasn't really a game," it reads. "It was an art installation. It was playable sometimes, but it wasn't all about gaming." According to the team, the real reason Stalin vs. Martians failed was because its budget was microscopically small, forcing developers to rush out a beta version for release. "The most crushing thing was that all of these happened during the crisis of the economy ... making a great strategy game wasn't our goal from day one. The game is not about that. But releasing a beta-version wasn't our intention."
You know, even after all this time, I really would like to play a hilariously exaggerated game of Russian propaganda and alien invasions. But if I'm going to buy that game, let alone drop money on a Kickstarter with more stretch goals than screenshots, I need more to go on. I can't in good conscience support a project that uses the same marketing campaign as a failed game from 2008, no matter how good that campaign ultimately is.
Stalin vs. Martians 3 team: We all know you have a great premise. Seriously, it's amazing to watch and the videos make us laugh. But what we really want is solid gameplay to back up your claims. Can you please show us that?