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pixel art crossing souls

3 awesome pixel art games from the first months of 2018

The entertainment industry is currently obsessed with anything and everything retro and pixel art video games are certainly no exception.

We have barely reached the end of 2018’s first quarter and already there is a plethora of nostalgia inducing and pixel art-infused titles flooding the marketplace.

While a great deal of them are nothing to write home about, we’ve managed to find a few that certainly deserve your attention.

Crossing Souls

With Crossing Souls, developer Adult Swim shamelessly takes advantage of the current retro-nostalgia trend (think Stranger Things, colourful neon lighting, VHS tapes, etc.) while throwing in some of its own distinctive humour. From mesmerizing synthscapes and charming pixel art to hand drawn lo-fi cartoon cutscenes, this game is retro as fuck.

The indie adventure game is fraught with 80’s pop-culture references and boasts a noticeable blend of Stephen King and Spielberg influences that won’t be too hard to miss for fans. Films such as E.T. and Stand By Me immediately came to mind in my playthrough.

Crossing Souls takes place in a small Californian town in 1986 where a strange lighting storm puts in motion an eerie string of events. We follow a group of teenagers who, after this storm, happen upon a dead body in the possession of a mysterious and powerful object known as the “Duat Stone”. With this ominous discovery comes a plethora of strange and eerie implications that rip them from their mundane suburban existence and starts them on the adventure of a life time.

Crossing Souls takes place in a small Californian town in 1986 where a strange lighting storm puts in motion an eerie string of events

The group consists of four teens (and a tween), each with their wonderfully distinct personalities and abilities. There’s the natural leader, Chris, who is your typical courageous hero-type (basically Steve from Stranger Things, bat included). Math is the nerd of the group, utilizing his crazy inventions and knowledge to help out the gang. Then there’s Big Joe, the kind-hearted physical powerhouse, and Charlie, the take-no-shit tomboy. And lastly, there’s Kevin, Chris’ devious little brother. He’s not much of a fighter but has some pretty neat stealth skills.

Crossing Souls does a great job of evoking that sense of adventure so prevalent in pre-millennium adventure films, before CGI became replacement for good storytelling, and banks on a nostalgic edge that hasn’t really been explored yet in today’s retro-crazed age.

Seeing as this is an Adult Swim game, you can also expect a healthy dose of absurdity, such as the group having to take on the perpetually-smashed residents of the local trailer park. If you’re looking for a video game that drips with nostalgia and provides entertaining and engaging gameplay, Crossing Souls certainly isn’t a bad bet.

Into the Breach

If you’ve been on the internet in the last few weeks, there’s a good chance you’ve come across someone talking about Into the Breach, a tough-as-nails turn-based strategy game created by the same developers behind the award-winning FTL: Faster Than Light.

Into the Breach puts you in control of a team of battle-mechs and tasks you with eliminating colossal insect-like creatures seeking to destroy your human cities. You will only be able to control three different units in each battle sequence, each with their own specific abilities and role, which are chosen from a relatively wide range of distinctive mechs.

Some mechs are simple melee battle robots or mobile cannons, while others boast more interesting and strategic abilities such as shooting boulders than can block tiles. It’s these latter additions that make Into the Breach a tactical warfare delight, greatly enhancing its otherwise solid but familiar one-move-one-attack per turn framework.

Beyond the actual mechs, you will also be able to choose from thirteen pilots with special abilities, which in the end allows you to even further tailor your team to fit your playstyle.

Outside of combat, you will also be able to upgrade your team, adding yet another layer of tactical edge for you to consider.

At a quick glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Into the Breach might seems like a charming but shallow strategy game, something you’d mindlessly play on your mobile while attending to your bathroom duties rather than an in-depth tactical experience that will test both your wits and resolve. Although, considering the actual pressure and stress that this game’s surprising complexity can cause you, maybe the bathroom is not the worst place to be…

Regions of Ruin

Regions of Ruin is a unique 2D sidescroller that boasts an interesting blend of the RPG and citybuilder genres.

In Regions of Ruin, the Dwarven race has resurfaced from their great underground kingdom where they’ve locked themselves away for the last few centuries. But the world above has become a dangerous place, forcing the Dwarves to fight hordes of goblins, trolls, and other mythical creatures. Although they fought fiercely, they were overthrown and now the Dwarves lay scattered across the lands and it is up to you to once again unite them and restore them to their former glory.

You will start out with nothing but a blunt axe and shoddy shield and will have to set out to explore the large 2D open world to gather resources and rebuild the Dwarven Kingdom while fighting off a string of malevolent creatures in the process.

You will regularly encounter NPCs that will provide you with quests that usually reward you with much needed resources such as iron, wood, and stone. Once you have some resources gathered you can start building and evolving your sad little villages into a full-fledged range of bustling cities.

If you played and enjoyed Terraria, then Regions of Ruin will be right up your alley. If not, it’s still an intriguing and surprisingly addictive title to spend your time with. It certainly has my vote!

Feature image: Crossing Souls/Adult Swim

Author Bio

Wiehahn Diederichs: Columnist
Capetonian freelance writer and photographer. Wiehahn is a lover of stories in all their forms, and has been an avid gamer since he took his first breath. If he is not working or gaming, he either pours his creative energy into his passion for music or plays foosball in some... More