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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

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!

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 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 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/ 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.


The community worked together to unlock these fun additional rewards by bringing in new backers, Twitter followers, and Discord members. Here's what we unlocked:

  • Reward #1: Design Stream: You can find this stream here on YouTube. I walked viewers through my design process for the closed demo. I showed all the secrets, why I put what where, what I messed up, and what I learned from watching content creators play it.
  • Reward #2: In-Game Digital Manual: All backers receive a digital illustrated manual PDF, but thanks to this reward we'll bring that instruction manual into the game so you can simply access it from the menu!
  • Reward #3: In-Game Artbook Unlockables: We're gonna bring pages from the artbook PDF backer reward into the game so that they can be unlocked as you play. This will add some fun meta progression into the game to make achievement hunting a little more exciting by rewarding players with fun art from the making of Little Nemo.


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.

You can visit the DIE SOFT Soundcloud profile HERE.


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.


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. ♥







Available Rewards:


Sleepyhead (Digital Game +)

Get the game at release. You'll also get Credited as a "Sleepyhead" along with the matching role in the community Discord server. Backers of the Kickstarter also receive exclusive in-game cosmetic items, which are not available to late backers.


  • 🎮 Digital Copy of the Game
  • 🖼️ Wallpaper Pack
  • 📖 Digital Illustrated Manual
  • 💬 "Sleepyhead" Role in Discord
  • 📜 Credited as "Sleepyhead"
  • 💎 Exclusive In-Game Items (original KS backers only)

Dreamer (Digital Deluxe)

If you're really into the art and music of Little Nemo, back at this tier or higher to get everything above as well as the digital artbook and a digital copy of the soundtrack. Your Credited As... and Discord role will get upgraded to "Dreamer" as well.


  • 🎮 Digital Copy of the Game
  • 💎 Exclusive In-Game Items (original KS backers only)
  • 🖼️ Wallpaper Pack
  • 📖 Digital Illustrated Manual

    ---⬇ New In This Tier ⬇---

  • 💬 "Dreamer" Role in Discord
  • 📜 Credited as "Dreamer"
  • 🎨 Digital Artbook
  • 🎵 Digital Soundtrack

Sleepwalker (Alpha Access)

Want to get your hands on the game BEFORE release? In addition to everything above, this tier will get you access to private builds of the game before release, and access to private playtesting streams during development. Also get the improved Credited As... and Discord roles of "Sleepwalker".


  • 🎮 Digital Copy of the Game
  • 💎 Exclusive In-Game Items (original KS backers only)
  • 🖼️ Wallpaper Pack
  • 📖 Digital Illustrated Manual
  • 🎨 Digital Artbook
  • 🎵 Digital Soundtrack

    ---⬇ New In This Tier ⬇---

  • 💬 "Sleepwalker" Role in Discord
  • 📜 Credited as "Sleepwalker"
  • 💾 Early Builds Access
  • 👁 Playtesting Livestream Access

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