Sunday, 9 August 2009

Beauty, in 2 dimensions

It's not far-fetched to assume that most of the current generation of young gamers will grow up with little or no knowledge of 2D games. Despite the visual feasts presented to me in the forms of Gears of War, MGS4 and Mario Galaxy, I still find some of the most visually arresting games to be those rendered in 2D. I'm not going to claim that it's a dying art because it clearly isn't. There are plenty of 2D games still being made and beautifully so. I've rounded up a few that are currently on my radar and because I'm so lovely, I thought that I'd share them with you.


Machinarium Trailer from Amanita Design on Vimeo.

Machinarium describes itself as a puzzle/adventure game that seems to take it's cues from our beloved Lucasarts point n' clicks. You have been thrown out of the scrap yard and you've lost your girlfriend. Whether it can match the insane genius puzzles of Day of the Tentacle and co. is yet to be seen but one thing is for sure: this game looks stunning. It's like Belleville Rendez-vous meets Metropolis, directed by Henry Selick. It's going to be download-only for the PC and it'll cost you $17 when it comes out this October. If I can confidently run it, I've got no reason not to pick it up. It's being independently published right now, but only the most foolish of publishers would pass on this. Let's hope they can strike a deal in the future for the likes of PSN and XBLA.


Blazblue launch trailer from Gamer Limit on Vimeo.

Coming from Japanese developer Arc System Works - those responsible for Guilty Gear - Blazblue is, obviously, a 2D fighter. There's not much else to say for it other than it looks incredible. The character art, background design, the lighting. Jesus Christ. My jaw dropped when I first saw this game and then promptly feformed into a scowl when I heard that it wasn't coming to the UK. Just another reason why I should buy a PS3 then: I could import this with ease.

King Of Fighters XII:

King of Fighters XII launch trailer from Gamer Limit on Vimeo.

Whilst it may lack the memorable characters of it's closest rival: Street Fighter, the King of Fighters series is arguably, equally as popular in it's native Japan. It's not exactly a household name out here, but with Street Fighter IV going some way to re-igniting the fighting genre, there's a whole new audience primed for the home console release of KOF 12, me being one of them. I'm running out of adjectives now, so I'll spare you another variation on 'visually stunning', you get the picture by now.

Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Coming to Wii sometime in November, Muramasa is a Castlevania-esque action platformer with an art style that takes it's cues from traditional Japanese prints, much like Okami. Inky ribbons flow and splash across the screen with a hint of familiarity, just enough to still allow Muramasa to be uniquely beautiful and set it aside from just about everything else on the platform. This joins House of the Dead: Overkill, Mario Galaxy, Madworld and No More Heroes as being one of the five games that actually make it worth buying a Wii.

I don't think that the grave has yet been dug for 2D visuals in games. I hope that developers continue to harness current technology for more than just rendering thick-necked marines and creating games where 'the city itself is a character'. I'm looking at you, the developers of Prototype. I swear, if I hear that fucking soundbite from any other developer in the future then I will either A) Kick them square in the balls or B) Not buy their game on principle. Both if possible. It's not a character, it's an environment.

Rant over. 2D is nice.

The Faux Bot

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