Who would’ve imagined we’d one day step into the shoes of a warrior onion…

Layers Deep

Would you have ever imagined playing a video game where the main character is an onion? Well, neither did we—at least not until a few days ago, when we considered onions to be nothing more than simple vegetables. However, someone had the wild idea to turn an onion into the protagonist of a particularly intriguing game.

We’re talking about Layers Deep, a quirky and bizarre Metroidvania that is, in its own way, incredibly unique. In this adventure, we step into the shoes of one of the most unexpected protagonists: a small and defenseless onion, the most versatile yet often underrated ingredient in gastronomy. And today, it seems we’ve finally found a way to make the onion, instead of making you cry, bring tears to your enemies’ eyes.

Tall Order Games, a young and talented duo of independent developers—Josh Chambers and Eric Kalpin—bring us this delightful and humorous video game reinterpretation of one of the most famous kitchen vegetables.

Launched on June 3rd with a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter and warmly received by players, Layers Deep is a cozy 2D Metroidvania inspired by renowned works in the entertainment world, including Team Cherry’s masterpiece Hollow Knight and the acclaimed adventure miniseries Over the Garden Wall.

So, without further ado, let’s dive deeper into Layers Deep and explore its Kickstarter campaign.

Welcome to Old Antrum

Despite their young age, Josh and Eric are anything but inexperienced in the entertainment industry. Josh, who oversees the animations and striking art direction of Layers Deep, brings a wealth of expertise to the table. He has worked on various projects for leading streaming services such as HBO, Hulu, and Netflix, and much more. Over the years, he has dedicated his free time to designing video games, constantly refining his game design skills, particularly in Metroidvania-style gameplay.

On the other hand, Eric boasts over a decade of programming experience. His portfolio includes the development of entire video games, web applications, and full-on game engines. Together, they comprise the small team behind Layers Deep.

Josh Chambers and Eric Kalpin

Set in a Southern Gothic-inspired world, the vast and diverse Old Antrum, Layers Deep immerses us in the whimsical adventures of a charming little onion, newly sprouted as Autumn fades. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Well, not exactly, as mysteriously, the world around you is crumbling bit by bit, leaving you clueless about its demise.

However, you’ll soon discover that oddity is one of the major distinctive features of Old Antrum’s world— the grotesque and unsettling vegetal and animal realm that surrounds you, a sprawling civilization that grew and thrived underground. It’s here that our protagonist, a small onion belonging to the race of The Patch, a civilization of pumpkins, gourds, and other fall-time crops, is born and thrives amidst a particularly catastrophic event known as the great hollowing, a sort of powerful and irreversible vegetal zombification. However, this isn’t the only danger lurking in the shadows.

Old Antrum is teeming with the most bizarre and mysterious races ever to grace the light, including a population of Frogs planning a mass hibernation, mysterious colonizing Crows, and a community of friendly mushrooms, the Mycelia. That’s what happens when the sunlight bathes these lands. However, you don’t want to uncover what lurks in the heart of Old Antrum at twilight. Strange, unsettling dark entities wield their powerful influence over nature. Choose your words wisely and decide who to consider ally or foe, as your next move could be your last!

Regarding gameplay, Layers Deep will fully embrace the formula that has made the Metroidvania genre so beloved. With its non-linear exploration and progression, the game invites players to venture into the deepest recesses of Old Antrum, a labyrinthine world filled with challenging obstacles to overcome, peculiar quests to complete, and quirky NPCs to please.

Players’ goal is to nurture their onion character step by step, making it increasingly powerful and unstoppable. To do this, you must explore, familiarize yourself with the strange and wondrous surroundings, and complete essential quests that grant new abilities and upgrades. These enhancements will unlock previously inaccessible areas, guiding the protagonist to the surface world and, hopefully, to salvation.

If the exquisite art direction and the unique world of Layers Deep haven’t already captivated you, the bizarre cast of characters in Old Antrum surely will. This eccentric and unique mix of personalities is irresistible: sentient vegetables that have lost their sanity, charming mushrooms grappling with identity crises, and frogs exhibiting behaviors, lifestyles, and mannerisms that are anything but typical for amphibians. We already love them!

As the cherry on top, another element adds even more distinction and variety to the work of Josh Chambers and Eric Kalpin: an OST with highly distinctive and original sounds, perfectly complementing the concept behind Layers Deep. Depending on the outcome of the crowdfunding campaign, the soundtrack will be composed by The Blasting Company, the band behind the beautiful score of Over the Garden Wall. They have already produced the first three tracks for the game. It’s up to you to ensure that The Blasting Company completes the entire soundtrack for Layers Deep.

Layers Deep

How is the Kickstarter campaign for Layers Deep going?

The crowdfunding campaign is making excellent progress, currently standing at 13% of its funding goal with 22 days left to go. Tall Order Games has already gathered $26.315 USD (approximately €24.433) out of their target of $30,000 USD (around €27,892). However, the developers’ ambitions don’t stop there. Further stretch goals are outlined on the campaign page, among which stands out a boss rush mode, set to be unlocked and integrated into the game if and when the developers hit the $35,000 USD mark.

The reward tiers proposed by the developers are also intriguing. For a contribution of approximately $15 USD, backers can secure a copy of the game, along with a digital wallpaper and a mention in the end credits. Stepping up to the $30 tier offers, in addition to the aforementioned rewards, the digital soundtrack. For those willing to contribute $40, they’ll receive all the previous rewards plus a physical poster featuring Mycelia Alanah, one of the game’s NPCs, voiced by writer and content creator Alanah Pearce, with a personal signature.

For those who choose to support at the higher tiers, there are additional rewards available, such as exclusive access to a game demo, a unique skin for our onion protagonist, and higher levels that allow you to customize in-game items and even create your own NPC.

If you want to help this little onion grow and become stronger, contribute and show your support to the developers. Here is the link to the Kickstarter campaign.

Layers Deep

Layers Deep does not yet have a release date. The game has been announced for PC via Steam. However, as is often the case in these situations, if the developers receive enough requests, they might consider expanding the release to include consoles, potentially right from the start.

For more updates on the project, stay tuned and follow Josh Chambers’ X account for insights and behind-the-scenes clips on development.

That’s all for today. We’ll meet in Old Antrum, unless, before that, we’re kidnapped and tormented by a horde of zombified pumpkins!

Grown up with MediEvil and DOOM and fascinated by the video game world since 1998. This passion stems from a desire to discover and research the videogame at 360 degrees, with particular attention to the Indie scene.