Crowdfunding Chronicles

Crowdfunding Chronicles: The Secret of Timberland

The Secret of Timberland screenshot - B&W scene of a quaint house surrounded by trees and roses.

Campaign Ends: February 25th
Platform: Windows. Phone and tablet versions are possible depending on the game’s success.

Creepy forest towns are relevant to my interests, especially if they contain small animals and/or a number of mysteries to solve. I’m happy to report that you’ll find both in The Secret of Timberland, a spooky and beautiful visual novel from Polish developer Amethy Soft.

Family tragedy and money problems lead 15-year-old Kira and her younger sister to Timberland, a quaint forest town where our protagonist spent her summers as a child. It’s a lovely place filled with charming houses, handsome gentlemen, and relaxing tea parties. Unfortunately for Kira, fictional small towns often hide dangerous secrets, and this trend continues in Timberland when the local children start to disappear. Darn.

The Secret of Timberland combines horror, fantasy, Slavic mythology, and even romance, with an aesthetic the developers describe as “dark cottagecore” (in the manner of Mr. Burns: “Excellent”). Visually, you’ll enjoy spooky forest scenes rendered in beautiful black and white, sprinkled with enchanting and colorful moments that bring to mind Alice in Wonderland. Screenshots feature woodland creatures both friendly and otherwise, from wolves and owls to rabbits in dresses, and at least two very important cats. Heck, all cats are very important!

Following multiple points of view, you’ll search for clues and evidence to find the missing kids while working towards one of three endings (including a dreaded “bad” ending). Along the way, you can even get involved in a love triangle (or possibly more complicated shape) with several beautifully drawn young men. While the campaign page hints at some time limit (yikes), hopefully, it won’t be as intimidating as it sounds!

While The Secret of Timberland‘s campaign still has a long way to go to reach its funding target, a lineup of exciting stretch goals await, including an epilogue, more endings, and an extra episode featuring minigames like cat feeding! If this piques your interest, several pledge tiers include a digital (or even physical) artbook filled with the beautiful works of Yumiarts and The Fruschia.

The Secret of Timberland‘s unique gothic aesthetic grabbed me from the beginning; it feels like a creepy mix of Netflix’s Dark, Alice in Wonderland, classic fairy tales, and a dash of Twin Peaks. In any case, you can’t go wrong with a game featuring well-dressed rabbits and bread-loving Scottish Fold cats. Developer Amethy Soft is off to a promising start for sure!

Disclaimer: While it’s possible some of us at RPGFan may be backers of the games mentioned in these articles, this does not influence our coverage or our featured game choices. We make our selections simply based on the active campaigns we feel our readers might find interesting, and we are not given special access or perks by the developers.

tl;dr: We think these games show potential and want to share them with you.

Tina Olah

Tina Olah

Tina Olah is a features writer and occasional reviewer for RPGFan. She is also an illustrator, cosplayer, book hoarder, and personal servant to a really cool Shih Tzu. Tina is an avid fan of strange science fiction and fantasy worlds, and would like you to know that she spent a considerable amount of time making Paladin’s Quest fan art back in grade 7.