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Lost Spirits of Kael is a haunting hand-painted game about being lost in the woods

Find your way by painting a trail of blood.

Lost Spirits of Kael is one of the more intriguing indie games on the horizon. It's a 2D hand-painted affair in which your avatar, a painter named Vincent, is lost in a haunted forest and must find his way out by leaving a trail of his own blood.

Vincent enters a zone of danger.

It's unclear if this will involve manually drawing a trail ala Okami or leaving prescribed markings, and when I asked its creator Pablo Coma about this he said he was still ironing out the details, but confirmed that your health meter would deplete every time you choose to mark your territory.

The whole game is something of a maze and Coma likened it to the Lost Woods of Zelda or the Phantom Forest of Final Fantasy 6. Evidently you'll be able to access any area except for the final one as soon as you finish the tutorial. You'll have to be careful though, as this is a haunted forest after all, with plenty of not-so-friendly ghosts. Coma noted that players will be warned before they enter "a dangerous zone," (or "Danger Zone" as I like to call it) but they can still press on if they feel up to it.

There will be a combat system, but Coma explained that "fighting is not his [Vincent's] cup of tea" and combat will largely be avoidable.

While there will be a story about a mysterious harpist, Coma stated that the game is more about its mood than its plot. "Lost Spirits of Kael is not story-driven but rather atmosphere-driven," he noted. He's also billing it as a game "about loneliness and finding one's way into the unknown."

The art style looks a little murky, but I think that slight wobbliness enhances the surreal tone and the animations are superb. Coma said that he drew 500 frames of animation just for the main character. I don't know how much animators usually produce over the course of seven months (production began in September), but that sounds like a lot given that Coma is also handling all the game's art, design, writing and music while a programmer is helping on the tech end.

Unlike what you might expect, Lost Spirit of Kael isn't a Kickstarter project, but instead Coma is attempting to fund the game by selling its soundtrack from his Bandcamp page.

Lost Spirits of Kael is about halfway done and is planned for a PC release in 2014. We'll be keeping an eye on this one until then.

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Jeffrey Matulef

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Jeffrey Matulef is the best-dressed man in 1984.

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