Owlboy
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Nearly 10 years in the making, there’s still plenty of reason to care about Owlboy

Owlboy, which has been in the making since 2007, was at one point a joke. It sat alongside Fez (2012) as retro-sentimental platformers by independent studios that promised a lot, but seemed fated to never come out. “Do you reckon Owlboy will come out next year?” someone might ask. “Haha, yeah right,” might be the reply. Fez did eventually come out after five years of waiting, but Owlboy didn’t—it’s been nearly a decade now. When Jo-Remi Madsen of the Norway-based D-Pad Studio tells me it’s “OWLBOY TIME,” I presume that it is a joke. The concept of Owlboy Time is more a unit…

Celeste
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Next up for the creator of TowerFall, a game about climbing a mountain

There’s a mountain near my house where I grew up and it was a regular exercise for teenagers to climb up it as the sun fell, and then race back down chasing the light. Since it was a small peak, and since I lived in the foothills of the Appalachians, it seemed like a bent grandfather to the craggy peaks of the Rockies or other, more noble mountain ranges. Certainly, scaling that mountain in its green glory, bears little resemblance to the snow-capped summit that awaits you at the top of upcoming game Celeste. pixel trees underneath a star-lit sky A…

diariesmain
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Today in GIFs: Get a look at Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor’s strange world

It’s been too long since we last checked in on Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor, the game about exploring a grand sci-fi universe through the viewpoint of a lowly municipal worker rather than a more standard space marine hero figure. Since my original post covering the game, the team has been hard at work bringing the backwater trash-planet it takes place on to life, and recently, that work has paid off as a series of new GIFs and screenshots posted to the game’s official Tumblr. Since they give me an excuse to write about this adorable blue collar spin on…

undungeon1
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Undungeon’s pixel art makes the fantasy genre fresh again

A point of honesty: I still have yet to play more than the first hour of The Witcher 3 (2015). Not because the game is bad—in fact, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far—but because at this point, I’m just too exhausted with fantasy to have much interest in delving any further. How many hours have I spent playing as men in armor swinging their swords at lumbering dragons? Or, in the case of science-fiction, playing as a space ranger swinging his light sword at insectoid queens? Granted, there are fantasy stories that work to subvert these tropes, as we’ve…

catgame2
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If a pixel-art kitty game doesn’t turn you into a cat person, nothing will

Let’s start off with a confession that’s sure to have my friends messaging me all day: I don’t really like cats. I know, I know—I’m nerdy, I’m introverted, I write about games on the internet, I’m queer. By all accounts, I should be queen cat over here. But ever since growing up with my adorable labrador retriever, Gretchen, I’ve always been more partial to dogs. I don’t particularly have anything against cats; I just tend to have a bit of trouble finding them cute. After playing ᗢ, though, I may finally be a convert. Created by duo katslevania and takorii,…

Mable & the Wood
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Pixel art exploration game gets its moral ambiguity from Studio Ghibli films

Mable & the Wood is a 2D exploration game about a young red-haired girl with the ability to transform into other creatures. The idea is to get her through the titular colorful woods. However, the more you use the girl’s powers, the more you take from the forest, slowly destroying it—regardless, it’s the only way to reach some areas, and it’s the only way to beat the enemies you meet. The idea behind the game was born in April 2015, as it was made for the Ludum Dare game jam that month, which carried the theme “An Unconventional Weapon,” hence the shape-shifting. Now…

among thorns
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Another perfect marriage of cyberpunk and pixels

Cyberpunk worlds always seem to draw me in. Whether it’s the derelict planets visited by Spike Spiegel and his bounty hunting companions in the cult classic anime Cowboy Bebop (1997-98), or the replicant-laden world of the famed Blade Runner (1982), cyberpunk has always remained a static aesthetic in the media I’ve read, watched, and played. And freelance pixel artist Matt Frith’s bite-sized cyberpunk point-and-click adventure game Among Thorns is no exception. The setting in Among Thorns is described on as “a world suffering with a technological plague, Cora Bry is recruited for a shady job.” So, essentially, a textbook example of any…

hyperlight drifter2
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See how far Hyper Light Drifter has come before its arrival next week

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) wasn’t a tough sell. It had audiences entranced from its first trailer. A desert slashed with muted yellows and clay reds set against a crisp aquamarine sky spoke for itself. The dies irae of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Requiem” was only there to make sure you never forgot. The first trailer for Hyper Light Drifter was different in almost every way, but the effect was the same. Alex Preston introduced his stylish action-RPG not with an apocalyptic bang but with the rhythmic chiptune meditations of a specialty Baths track. Grounded in Will Wiesenfeld’s introspective beat, Hyper Light Drifter wrapped its precious pixel art…

Pixel art
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Interactive illustrations give pixel art a new lease of life

Pixel art has produced a new trick from up its jagged sleeve—responsive pixel art. Or, as inventive web designer Marcus Blättermann calls it: “resolution-independent pixel illustrations.” Yes, it’s a bit of a mouthful, but don’t worry, interacting with it for the first time should empty your gob as you involuntarily gawp in wonder. It is nothing if not visually spectacular. You’ll need to head over to Blättermann’s website to play around with the illustrations. There are seven in total (though there’s room to add more), all of which work the same way, just with different images to reveal to you. To explain…