The Best UK Kickstarter projects (and the worst)

Published 
16 Nov 2012
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We separate the wheat from the chaff, and then stand around laughing at the chaff

Financial crowdsourcing website Kickstarter has finally launched in the UK, giving us Brits the chance to invest our hard-earned cash in weird and wonderful projects that may or may not get off the ground. It can be something of a minefield finding the right project amongst a whole host of dodgy ideas and daft inventions, so we've picked out a few of the best to help you get started.

On our quest, we also spotted some absolute monstrosities, and felt we had to share them with you too. People's take on Kickstarter varies immensely. Some see it as a simple retail transaction, give money get stuff; while others view the projects like charities, to which they are donating in hope of helping.

The sensible way to look at them is as businesses looking for investment in order to make money, and so are open to the full force of our critical gaze. Naturally we'll be happy to review any of these projects once they go on sale if the companies behind them want to prove us wrong. Don't feel too bad for any of the projects we've highlighted here - after all, any coverage is good coverage, right?

BEST: BEERLAB

At the risk of sounding like an alcoholic journalist cliche, we love a good pint here at Expert Reviews, with at least one card-carrying CAMRA member on staff. However, much as we love both ale and building things, we've never quite got up the gumption to brew our own.

That's where Beerlab comes in. It promises to provide a complete open source guide to brewing, with recipes, methods and step-by-step guides to building fermenters, kegs and other essential brewing kit to get you started.

Open source brewing: free, as in beer.

With a funding goal of £23,000, the project is asking a lot, but you'll be funding a full year's research into the fine art of beermaking. And, presumably, drinking.

WORST: DADA UNDERWEAR
We aren't sure that underwear needed to be made interesting, but clearly DaDa Underwear can see a gap in the market we can't. It promises to use "art, bamboo, recycled paper and empowerment" to shake up the "rather bland luxury underwear market". We're prepared to run with the idea, although hopefully without any intimate chafing from all that bamboo.

Unfortunately, DaDa seems to have confused the word "interesting" with "hipster 1950's throwback" - meaning all their cuts and fabric patterns either look bland or outdated. Pastel colours, stripes and spots might look great on a beach umbrella, but they're not what most of us want from our boxer shorts. We're not convinced that the world of designer pants is going to be challenged by a pair of pink and white running shots.

Marcel Duchamp would not approve

We do admire DaDa's commitment to ethical labour, organic fabrics and recycled packaging, but at £18 a pair, our idea of style is more about understated simplicity than pastel blue polka dots.

BEST: FIST OF AWESOME

Even before you start reading the Kickstarter pitch for The Fist of Awesome, the fantastic lead image and accompanying caption could be enough to sell you on it right away.

All games that don't involve bear punching are now ruined

The “time-travelling-lumberjack-‘em-up” sees lead character Tim Burr with, quite literally, a problem on his hand(s). His hand has become self-aware after his house burnt down, referring to itself as the “Fist of Awesome”. To make matters even worse, bears have taken over the Earth, so it’s up to Tim and his fist to save the day.

It’s a ludicrous set-up, but we just love its retro pixelated art style and witty humour. And we get to punch a bear in the face! At the time of writing it had only raised £1673 of its £5000 goal needed to help finish the game, but with 25 days to go, we really hope it gets funded. We all agree that our iOS and Android devices would be sorely lacking in bear-punching apps without it.

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