$18,800 raised out of $65,000

Explore a dream world as Little Nemo, armed with toys, candy, and stuffed animals in this colorful platforming metroidvania adventure.


Little Nemo and the Guardians of Slumberland takes the retro NES-era platformer gameplay of Capcom and Nintendo favorites and brings it to a vast, non-linear world that has been lovingly hand-animated frame-by-frame. You’ll explore as you collect new ability-granting toys and PJs, discover enchanting lands inspired by Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo comics, and encounter a colorful cast of characters — all through the nostalgic lens of an ‘80s/’90s kid.

The target release date is the end of 2023, launching on Nintendo Switch and Windows via Steam and itch.io.

Known for: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game Soundtrack, [USA], Endless Fantasy

Links: Join us on Discord, join the Mailing List, follow on Twitter and TikTok, or check out the Press Kit.

Slumberland, the wonderous world of dreams, has been besieged by the mysterious Oblivion, which threatens to destroy this precious world and its inhabitants. It’s up to you, Nemo, to save them! Explore Slumberland and collect your toys to become more powerful, enlist the help of colorful characters, and push back the Oblivion.

When I started working on Little Nemo, I was heavily inspired by games and comics from my childhood such as Super Metroid, Mario 2, Simon’s Quest, Yoshi’s Island, and Calvin & Hobbes. Modern hand-drawn games such as The Dragon’s Trap and Hollow Knight helped illustrate just how much I could push the visual boundaries of a 2D platformer.

“Little Nemo” combines the best of retro and modern influences into a unique metroidvania

In Slumberland all of Nemo’s favorite toys bestow new abilities! Use them throughout your adventure to fend off enemies, traverse hazards and open new pathways to different zones.

Each toy gives Nemo unique new abilities allowing for more advanced platforming and combat

Slumberland is a large, seamless world made up of distinct thematic zones, each full of new areas to explore and hidden rewards to discover. Each zone is being carefully crafted to have its own unique look and atmosphere. Here’s a look at just a few of them:

The world is made up of seamlessly connected zones. Use the map to navigate.

Sometimes Nemo needs a rest from sleeping so much. If you take too much damage, you’ll wake up in the bedroom! You can return to Slumberland by hopping back into bed, but first maybe change your PJs and swap out your Little Buddy using the dresser and toy chest. Throughout Slumberland you’ll find beds which lead back to Nemo’s bedroom and serve as checkpoints to anchor your progress as you explore the world.

Nemo’s Bedroom is a comfy space you’ll wake up in when things don’t go well in Slumberland

Slumberland is filled with a strange cast of characters. With everyone struggling to deal with the Oblivion, perhaps you can help them out and advance their storylines!

Talk w/ NPCs to learn more about what’s going on in Slumberland

It’s dangerous to go alone! When Nemo goes back to sleep, your buddy of choice will come to life in Slumberland as a helpful companion, each with its own unique passive ability.

Only one can come along at a time, so choose wisely!

While you’re awake in Nemo’s bedroom, you can change out which pajamas you’re wearing using the dresser. Each pair will empower your toys and abilities in different ways as well change Nemo’s appearance.

Use the Status screen to swap out your PJs while in the bedroom

Strange creatures have been emerging from the Oblivion turning the once peaceful Slumberland into a nightmare! Each of Slumberland’s zones hosts unique enemy threats.

You’ll also find unique Boss enemies throughout Slumberland. Be careful!
About the Kickstarter Campaign: Learn about rewards and timeline for the Kickstarter

Please note that any backer rewards which include content being put into the game based on backer input are subject to approval.

  • 🧸 Add a Toy to Nemo’s Bedroom: The bedroom is littered with stuffed animals and toys Nemo hasn’t picked up, but there’s certainly room for more. By backing at this tier, you can suggest your favorite childhood stuffed animal to be added to the clutter in Nemo’s bedroom. This tier is limited to only 15! 
  • Your Pet as a Constellation: Nemo’s adventure will take the player through an observatory where they can see various constellations. Here, your pet can be featured as a constellation. You’ll let us know your pet’s name and what type of animal they are, and they will be made visible in the cosmos of Slumberland.
  • 🗿 Your Statue in the Palace: Morpheus’ abode is a very ornate and elegant palace the player will visit in their quest to save Slumberland. Within you’ll find the busts of some of the most important residents of Slumberland, and this could include you! At this tier, your contribution to this campaign will be permanently enshrined with a dedicated bust of yourself displayed in the palace’s foyer.
  • 🐈 Design Nemo’s Cat After Your Own: Nemo’s cat, Leo, is sleeping peacefully in the bedroom. At this tier, there will be an in-game option to swap out Leo for your cat. You supply your cat’s name, a few photos, and select from a choice of cat sounds and your cat will be in the game to give you a little comfort when returning to Nemo’s bedroom. This tier is unlimited as every backer at this tier will have their cat as a selectable option in the game.
  • 👤 You as One of the Guardians of Slumberland: The Guardian in the skeleton onesie is an avid fan of video games whose quest line involves getting the player to help find video game cartridges. One very generous supporter will be able to name this character after themselves and will help to flesh out some of the character’s dialogue and provide some of their favorite games that will help inform which games this Guardian is having the player collect. This tier is limited to ONE BACKER! 

These exclusive in-game items will not be available after the Kickstarter is over, so make sure to pledge now to ensure you receive these in-game cosmetic items.

Target Date: I’m aiming for a late 2023 release date simultaneously on all target platforms.

Planned for Nintendo Switch and Windows via Steam and itch.io. Other console stretch goals planned.

Platforms: Little Nemo is currently being developed for Windows/Steam, and Nintendo Switch. The Windows version will also be made available on itch.io as a DRM free option. In the interest of keeping the scope under control to ensure quality and performance given the timeline, I’m currently only committed to these platforms for release. Unity has been used for development, so porting to other platforms is very feasible and in fact I do hope to complete PlayStation and Xbox releases post-launch, but this Kickstarter will only offer rewards for Windows/Steam/itch.io and Nintendo Switch to help ensure I don’t over-promise. If the funding goal is met, I plan to introduce stretch goals to also bring the game to PlayStation and Xbox.

Localization: Although the current plan is for Little Nemo to release only in English, everything has been developed to ensure that various localizations will be able to happen with minimal friction. I hope to localize the game into the regions most commonly requested based on community feedback post-release.

Production: Learn some details about the making of the game

Each frame of animation for every character and environmental detail in Little Nemo is hand-drawn. This process is very time consuming, but when I started on this project, it was important for me to try to create a game reminiscent not of how the games of my childhood actually looked, but how my imagination pictured them as inspired by hand-drawn illustrations on covers and instruction manuals. Much of the development time is spent drawing and animating these sprites at very high resolution using Procreate on the iPad.

I do all of the drawing & animation on an iPad before bringing it into Unity

The sprites are all rendered in such a way that they can be re-colored dynamically in the game. This allows for enemy sprites to have different palettes for more difficult variants, and allows for Nemo’s pajamas to change without needing new sprites. Additionally, all the art assets are made with a 4K resolution target in mind. To give a sense of scale, there are currently well over 200 hand-drawn frames of animation for Nemo alone.

Reaching the base funding goal will make possible a complete original soundtrack from Peter Berkman (who you may know from his band Anamanaguchi), as well as sound effects from Jonathan Baken (of Cool 3D World). The goal with both of these aspects of Little Nemo’s audio is to provide something fresh that recalls the game’s 8‑bit inspirations, while using a more modern soundscape and not being restricted to the “chip” sound.

As someone who has often had to squint to see text in modern games, and usually re-binds controller inputs when possible, I feel passionately about how a focus on accessibility can be a big win for all players. Little Nemo already has support for dynamic text sizes, the ability to switch everything to the dyslexie font, rebinding for all gameplay and UI key bindings, the ability to slow down time in the game globally, and even invulnerability. I also understand how having the more game-changing options on offer can have a negative impact on players that don’t wish to use them, so I will be finding ways to encourage those players not to use them, while not discouraging the players who would like to use them.

Please give your feedback about accessibility settings you’d like me to consider implementing by posting a comment here or in the Discord server

Formerly an app engineer, designer, and artist. Aside from several game jam entries, game development was new to me before I started on this project three years ago. My strength in creating this project, and what I think will see it through to completion, is my ability to just sit down to work day-after-day and make steady progress on a long project. I enjoy making things, it’s all I’ve ever really done professionally, and I’ve been an avid player of video games for almost forty years, so this all feels like the perfect alignment of my interests and abilities.

Hi, I’m Dave Mauro. Programmer, artist, founder of DIE SOFT. Thank you for reading!

Recently I’ve been recruiting help so that I can increase the quality of the game in the areas that are simply out of my expertise. Here’s everyone who has been helping with the game:

In the interest in transparency about the target goal and my best-guess estimates for costs, here’s a rough, estimated breakdown of the Kickstarter budget:

I’ve tried to be diligent about accounting for costs that could otherwise sneak up on me so as to prevent any financial hurdles from causing delays, but ultimately many of these costs will vary greatly depending on tier breakdowns. Meeting the base goal should cover for all foreseen expenses while allowing me the freedom to continue working on the game until release.

I created DIE SOFT with the hope of being able to continue making games even after Little Nemo. Your support is highly appreciated and will directly make possible both this game, and future games that I hope to work on. Thank you so much for reading this far down. ♥