I love graphical minimalism, and this game by Jordan Magnuson takes it pretty close to as minimal as you can get. The graphics are so low res, and only use about four shades of grey for the most part, yet you can tell exactly what stuff is supposed to be, because the shapes and animation suggest and the brain fills in the rest. Caves, buildings, cars, doors, are all readily apparent.
“You” are just a 3-px line, yet it’s enough to convey “person”. Foreground/background objects are conveyed through how dark/light its color is. I have little idea what’s going on plot-wise, yet, but it looks like you go around exploring a world trying to figure out puzzles to take you deeper into the world. Musical cues seem to communicate something about what’s going on, but that’s all I can make of it so far. Stylistically, I really like it.
It reminds a bit of Terry Cavanaugh’s Don’t Look Back because of the low-res graphics + atmospheric and evocative background music. The gameplay is a bit simple and could use a little more elements to this basic formula, maybe, but I’m not sure what just yet. Mostly you explore these large, empty areas and it seems like there should be more things populating these spaces in order to make them more interesting. You get a good sense of travel and exploration, and figuring out how to navigate and get around obstacles is an interesting puzzle that will take some time to figure out, but once you get past that, there’s not much more to engage the player. Items to collect and use, creatures or other people to encounter would make it more interesting. I could see it being developed into a deeper game with a story, maybe. Certain aspects of the game remind me of so many different titles that I like — everything from Pong, Adventure, Zelda II, Mario, Don’t Look Back.
Built with GameMaker, the developer is even distributing the source for it, which is very awesome. I might have to tinker with this a bit…