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Favorite Four: Pixel Worlds

Posted by Rob Rich on April 26th, 2013

Like it or not (I personally like it), retro-inspired pixel graphics are here to stay. A lot of people love the nostalgia that comes with such visuals, but it’s also interesting to see how pixel artists interpret different ideas. They can squeeze a surprising amount of detail out of a few well-placed squares. This list chronicles four of the pixilated worlds we find the most impressive. Not just the characters, mind, but the overall artistic style of their universe.

Arranger
I’ll admit that it’s a bit rough around the edges. Some of the mechanics aren’t fully realized and the movement controls, while much better after an update, are still a bit tough to use. However this is a list about fantastic, pixilated worlds, and Arranger has definitely got that. Part homage to Atari classics, part acid trip through a 1970s arcade cabinet, it’s nothing it not incredibly imaginative and unique.

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Pixel Kingdom
I know I’ve already mentioned how much I love the visuals in Pixel Kingdom but I’m going to reiterate because I really love them. Capturing so much personality and charm in characters that sport such small dimensions is no easy task, yet here it’s pulled off almost effortlessly. At least it seems that way. Simply watching the heros walk across the field brings a smile to my face. The added draw of discovering what other bizarre and wonderful creatures lurk just off-screen on higher difficulties is another big draw.

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Canabalt
What impresses me so much about Canabalt is how minimal its visuals are. Aside from the main character, I mean. His animations are pretty spectacular. There’s no color and practically no fine details to the backgrounds, yet it manages to tell a rather harrowing story. It’s a world on the brink of destruction, under attack from seemingly invincible extra-terrestrial aggressors, all depicted through the use of various shades of gray and some silhouettes.

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Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP
Of all the worlds I've visited that can be expressed through "bits," Sword & Sworcery's is definitely my favorite. It's a world full of whimsical forests and foreboding caves. The magic floating in the pixelated air is almost tangible. And to say it's gorgeous would be a rather terrible understatement. The warrior monk's quest might be sorrowful (and a tad short), but it's stayed with me ever since its completion.

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Arranger Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on November 19th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarblankstarblankstar :: A LITTLE OFF KEY
Get ready to embark on what is perhaps the most bizarre musical adventure ever! Just be ready for a few stumbling blocks along the way.
Read The Full Review »

Arranger is a Different Sort of Action RPG

Posted by Rob Rich on April 16th, 2012

Hearing about an adventure/music/rpg is enough to pique my interest, and that's exactly what Arman Bohn's Arranger is setting out to be. However, reading over a few of the more descriptive elements has gotten me more than interested. It's gotten me downright excited, actually.

"The game is an Adventure/RPG that combines elements from classics like The Legend of Zelda, WarioWare and the original Sierra adventure games," according to the developer. Now if that doesn't get people's attention then I suppose there's no hope for the world. The mini-game laden adventure is looking pretty fantastic in a simple, retro-esque sort of way. Players will be controlling the tiny musician as they attempt to save the world in a less-then-typical fashion. Rather than direct combat or level-grinding, they'll be gathering a number of musical instruments in order to craft a tune that will avoid whatever this particular catastrophe entails.

Arranger is still a little ways out, being slated for a Summer 2012 release, but it definitely looks like something to keep an eye on. If the trailer below is any indication, it just might be worth the wait. It's also apparently going to have some great music.