Lots of lovely Kickstarter news today! Lunark comes from Canari Games, a one-man team consisting of Johan Vinet, and he hopes to bring his game to Switch. It launched on Kickstarter a little while back, but we’ve only just caught it, and we have to say it looks rather nice.
Self-described as a ‘wild adventure set in the midst of a rebellion against a totalitarian regime’, it owes a lot to the classic 1992 game Flashback, as you can see from the trailer. This means there’ll be plenty of running, jumping, ledge-grabbing and hauling yourself up, plus a curious mixture of natural imagery mixed with alien architecture and monolithic technology. Vinet namechecks both Flashback and Prince of Persia in the blurb of his Kickstarter pitch and is recreating the rotoscoped charm of his influences.
While the launch trailer and the screens set the scene nicely, the alpha footage below gives you a better idea of how the finished product will play.
While the developer is at pains to point out that the game is only around 15% complete – with readability of text and various other issues being addressed in the future – we think you’ll agree it looks pretty lovely even at this early stage. We also love the kidney-shaped Mega Drive pad on the Controls menu – what a reassuringly chunky bit of kit that was!
Lunark stands at 70% funded at the time of writing with just six days to go, so if you love those old Delphine Software games, or just like the look of this, head over to its Kickstarter page.
Does this tickle your fancy? Been stung by Kickstarters in the past? Still waiting for your 3DS version of Mighty No. 9 (we’re not bitter, honest!)? Share your thoughts below.
This looks like an Amstrad CPC conversion of Flashback! Blocky and colourful.
Christ, it looks like a reskin of Flashback!!! Will he get away with that?
It's so ugly. So pixelated !! Imagine that on TV !!! Giants blocks everywhere !!!
@Ooyah "Christ, it looks like a reskin of Flashback!!! Will he get away with that?"
That was my thought as well. I think this is getting out of hand here. I don't think they will be able to this is far to similar to FlashBack. I expect a challenge coming from the FlashBack maker.
Is it just me, or did anybody else get a flashback of the old Prince of Persia game from decades ago when the character was walking and jumping?
@PharoneTheGnome it's a flashback Copyright Violation. I think the maker of FlashBack will contact kickstarter the game is a violation of IP. It looks and plays like FlashBack. It's too much similar.
I like pixelart but this is too much for me. Too much pixelate game.
And I personally love this style
A few things work against this game, and make it a no-go for me:
1). This particular pixel art style--where everybody looks like a more refined Pitfall Harry--seriously has to go! It isn't appealing.
2). Flashback is one of my favorite games of that era, along with Another World, and this game seems like a less graphically impressive rip-off of it. Unless it ends up having something unique to offer, I'll have to be content with Flashback, which is also available on Switch.
Wonderful. At this rate, in about a year or so all indie games will be a solid color background and a 9 pixel block. Only the background, block, and movement of said block will differentiate what we're playing.
Looks ugly to me, but I'm not interested in the gameplay either. Enjoyed Another World but not Flashback for some reason.
The character also has that distinctive forward roll from Flashback... Too pixellated also.
It's nice they were inspired by Flashback and all, but visuals matter. This game looks like it'll make my head hurt especially playing handheld. There is no reason to go with this super pixelated look in this day and age. It's not hard to make detailed sprites that look like clear drawings. Grow beyond your homage a little...
The games that can get away with it--Celeste--have something to hook you in. Honestly, that was a game where that pixel art style actually somehow worked!
If they're going for a retro style of gameplay, how expensive could it possibly be to shoot for that rotoscope style that made Another World, Heart of Darkness, Flashback, Prince of Persia, and others stand out? Considering that games like Hollow Knight, Shovel Knight, Owlboy, The Messenger, and Monster Boy are a thing.......this just seems incredibly lazy to me.
To all the people thinking this is just some Flashback rip-off that's going to face copyright action: There is literally nothing here that the developers of Flasback can claim copyright on. You do not understand copyright if you believe otherwise. Gameplay generally cannot be copyrighted, and it's obviously all his own art and music and presumably code too, even if it's clear where his inspiration came from, so there is literally nothing here that is breaking any copyright laws/rules. It looks a bit like Flashback but it is entirely its own game (at least from everything I can see and hear)--and imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Lastly, I do agree that the pixel resolution is too low, certainly for my personal taste and in terms of how it appears on quite a large HD screen like that on the Switch--it's def lower then any NES and SNES games and the like ever really were (even if the screen real estate itself might be bigger in overall pixel dimensions)--BUT I do think it would look really cool on a screen the size of the original Game Boy screen or something like that, although obviously it's not on a screen that size here. So, I guess you have to think of this as kinda like playing a GBC game displayed on your Switch/TV and come at it from that point of view (imagine what it would be like using the Super Game Boy on the SNES for example). I'm not really a fan of modern pixel games using the GB resolution for them rather than say the SNES resolution, and I wish more developers these days would actually go with a pixel look that properly reflects what games actually looked like on home consoles like the NES and SNES (particularly SNES) for their "retro" pixel games, but it is a novel approach at the very least, and it's clear there's actual quality artistic talent creating the low-res visuals in this game for absolute sure (it's very low-res art but still pretty with it).
This game would look very cool on a Switch "micro"--or a Game Boy micro:
This looks terrible. I hope this fad of 8 or 16 bit looking games goes away soon. Why can't it have the graphics of a game like Guacamelee or Steamworld Dig
Seems most of the people posting negative comments about the art style and graphics may be unaware of the cost and time involved in making higher fidelity pixel art (and just all game art in general). One can't simply quadruple the size and quality of sprites on a whim.
Personally I think this game looks fantastic and is a true homage to the classics it is (self-admittedly) inspired by. I've backed it and am looking forward to playing it on the Switch.
@impurekind I think Celeste proved you can have a very minimalist style play well on large TVs. If anything I would simply make the characters themselves a little larger to stand out more. The animation work done on the main character already looks really nice but just a couple more little details would make it pop.
@BadAstroZA I don't mind the graphics (I'm was raised on 8-bit lol) but my main concern is it's awfully derivative. The screeching car and the other cutscene are almost beat for beat Another World. There is a backdrop almost lifted from Last Resort on Neo Geo. The sprite looks like it's taken from Flashback (especially when it's moving.) There isn't much skill in making low res copies of old games people may not have played. And this guy made Flinthook which was awesome. Now I'm wondering if there is a hidden gem that plays like Flinthook I missed. I'm on the fence.
@Indielink Yeah, and if Celeste can get Game of the Year nominations, which it did, then the art in this game shouldn't hold it back at all. It's very low-res, for sure, but it's actually clearly still lovely artwork in its own right, with great use of light and colour and really good character animation.
@Dman10 I absolutely don't want them to go away--not if they look like this:
And that's not to even touching on some of the arcade games of that era, which had utterly gorgeous pixel art.
When done right, old school pixel art can look beautiful.
NES/SNES style pixel art is not the issue; not properly doing NES/SNES style pixel art is the issue.
Looks lovely. I like this retro aesthetic a lot. It’s like peering into a digital glass window with incalculable amount of glowing pixels shimmering in the dark.
@impurekind don’t forget the incredible chiptune soundtracks and particle effects.
@Dman10 be quiet, troll.
I had the Delphine soft collection on my Amiga 500. This does give me big vibes from that. Reskin of flashback or homage to it... I honestly don't care as long as it plays well. This style of game I always loved. Remember being completely blown away by another world (hell even still got the home brew version on my gba).
I would be happy to buy this. Have got flashback on the switch and will get another world. This will be worth a punt as well.
@impurekind I had a Micro but somehow lost the damn thing over the years. Breaks my heart just thinking about it; loved that system and the great games I had for it. The SP was a treat to play with as well; great amount of battery life and great resolution too if memory serves.
@VHSGLITCH I never had a GB micro but boy did I love my black GBA SP. That thing was just a really slick little portable all round, and it had a whole load of truly great games, inlcuding this one, which sooo few people have actually played but REALLY should:
@impurekind I concur. Playing Metroid Zero Mission, Fusion, Donkey Kong Country Trilogy, Contra, etc- what a blast! Hoping we get ports of these on the Switch eventually.
@VHSGLITCH I kinda hope we get all Nintendo's classic games on Switch.
@impurekind you and me both, brotha.
@Dman10 Two reasons: a lot of people love this style and the challenges that its limitations bring to visuals and gameplay, and of course budget. It's expensive.
@impurekind @VHSGLITCH They HAVE to have something up their sleeve with regards to bringing GBA and SNES games to Switch. Too many classics there to ignore.
Back in the day developers were trying NOT to make their games look pixelated and today some developers go out of their way to make ugly, blocky games to play on nostalgia.
@impurekind Yeah I think the art in this looks amazing. If I had the spare cash I would definitely throw down a couple bucks for it.
I don't mind games not following along the basis set by NES or SNES games but I do think that developers like Jools Watsham/Atooi need to step their game up with the medium.
Doesn't look bad but there are too many games out right now for me to worry about this one.
@BadAstroZA fingers crossed something is brewing over at the big N.
Fad is a strong word with most indie budgets.
@Kal_ Indie games don't have to look like they belong on the Atari 2600.
Yes, all indie games should look like hellblade senua's sacrifice.
@Kal_ There's nothing inbetween eh?
I dunno you were the one who threw a hyperbole and I gave you an "exception".
(Whilst keeping in mind that hellblade senua's sacrifice was made by a AAA team who just wanted to change the rep that indie games get.)
Then again the best pixel art I've seen was The Last Night...
edit: Dammit HTML
@Kal_ Yeah, The Last Night is a stunning mix of the old and the new:
@Dman10 Or Sundered? Sundered is gorgeous.
Edit: YES, it is a fad. I don't mind 2d gaming experiences, but looking at a pixelated mess wears thin after a while. I love Hyperlight Drifter, and Axiom Verge, but I would probably enjoy them even more if they were in a hand-drawn, animated style. Or even a 32-bit pixelated sprite format, à la Sega Saturn or PS1.
Prince of Persia much? Cool. I don't get the hate for the pixel art here, this looks incredible, detailed and great palette. Look beautiful. Certainly not low res either as some have suggested. I have seen bad pixel art and this ain't it.
Looks great to me, love the prince of Persia style platforming too, really love it because I love prince of Persia, especially the Sega mega cd version.
I'd be willing to donate $100 to the Kickstarter if he would abandon this project
Thank you for bringing some clarity to the stupid theft of IP comments...
@VHSGLITCH thank you for calling me a troll, I guess. I just started playing Mario Odyssey and I am blown away by it. And then I see something like this. Obviously, not every game can be like Mario Odyssey, but there are way too many games like this one.
@Dman10 ignoring you, troll. Come back when you have something interesting to say.
@impurekind I sincerely hope we get The Last Night on Switch. How amazing would that be?
@KennyBania go back to jacking jokes from Jerry Seinfeld, Bania. You’re a relic and you haven’t aged well at all.
Am replying to your first comment. Usually, what you say about copywriting gameplay would be true... but, have you ever played Flashback? Some of the screens shown in this article have the exact same layout as screens in Flashback... and I mean exactly the same. Only the graphics differ. That is the problem. If you click on the screenshots and scroll through them... the third screen in particular is a total replica reskin of a screen in Flashback. The actual layout is exactly the same.
@Ooyah That doesn't really matter. You could copy basically an exact replica of the first level of Super Mario Bros. in your own platform game if you wanted, literally placing each block and enemy and tree and cloud and the like in exactly the same place, but as long as it's all your own original graphics and sound and code then it's almost certainly not breaking any copyright laws. It's just a loving nod to a beloved classic. It would be be breaking the law, however, if you used art or sound or code assets that are basically direct copies of someone else's work or infringe on their Trademarked images/designs, or maybe if every level in your game was an exact duplicate but just with changed sprites, because a full game of specifically laid out levels would likely constitute an original "composition" of said levels, which might be protected under copyright law (I'm not entirely sure on far you'd had to go down that rabbit whole for it to be a thing). It's just like how you can't copyright an original individual dance move or two, but you can copyright a full sequence of dance moves. And we're seeing this play out before our eyes right now with the whole Fortnite dance moves fiasco. That's just how the law works. It means that while you can't rip someone else's original idea off completely, there's still room for both creativity and imitation/aping--and rightly so. Because you can't and indeed shouldn't also have one company stopping every other company from making games that are similar to one of its original game ideas simply because they are literally that, similar, in some aspects. It would be the death of the industry in many ways.
Ah, I see... I didn't realise that, thank you for the explanation. It seems odd to me that "physical" assets such as artwork cannot be legally copied, but design can. But, well, the law is indeed an ass!!! 😆 Although... are you familiar with The Great Giana Sisters? The original game, on the C64? Nintendo successfully sued Rainbow Arts for that. Was a similar situation with R-Type and Katakis. No assets were copied... it was just that the concept was too similar. But maybe the laws have changed since then.
@Ooyah I was literally going to paste the story of The Great Giana Sisters in one of my previous posts to back up my own point even further, lol.
Because the actual truth is that Nintendo did not sue these guys and win to then get them to remove the game due to copyright infringement. Nintendo only threatened the guys and the guys themselves are the ones who took down the game of their own free will without any legal action having actually taken place. But the great irony is that if those guys had actually had to balls to challenge Nintendo's threat, they would have almost certainly won the case and demonstrated/proven to sooo many people the exact opposite of what most people think when it comes to this stuff around copyright and games, and it's ironically this game they use as the example--as you did.
These guys actually did sooo many developers a great disservice by just folding to the threat of a big corporation that was actually on the wrong side of the law in that example, because it's falsely convinced a lot of developers ever since that the law on copyright and video games is rather different to what it actually is, to the determent of so many small indies and the like, while letting the big guys get away with unfairly abusing their power to their own advantage, as seems to be the case sooo often.
Check the bit that talks about the "alleged" lawsuit.
So I don't think the law has changed in all that time; I just think people have been fed a lie. And Nintendo certainly ain't about to tell anyone that this is exactly what it is.
Oh wow, bloody hell, I have been all kinds of wrong here! lol I stand corrected. But I will still say that I, personally, believe this level of mimicry to be wrong, when it comes down to whole screens being duplicated. To me, this is not a homage... it's design robbery. Legal, but still, in my eyes, dishonest.
@Ooyah Well, admittedly, I did think it looked very similar to Flashback when I first saw it, and I even went and checked right away to see if it was just copying certain parts directly and simply outputting them at a way lower resolution. But, seeing all the footage of the game so far, I think it is its own thing, even with a few bits that obviously ape Flashback rather close, so I ultimately have no real problem with it. Other than it being a bit too low resolution for my own personal taste, even though it still looks cool and pretty in its own way, I think it's looks like a game that could give a lot of people a good deal of fun. I can't really knock for being heavily inspired by a cult classic, because to me, being a good and fun game is all that really matters at the end of the day. I don't have shares in Nintendo, and I'm not a lawyer, so all I want to see when all is said and done is lots of cool fun video games.
@nkarafo yes. easy money. that's what we get from "quality" gaming. you will get 4bit unknown nintendo type graphics. even 8bit NES beating this... kinda sad isn't it? getting games like this they can't even look as good as SNES games?
I like the design, but I’m not a fan of low-res pixel art. I really wish developers would stop using it. In the age of HD, I don’t want blurry pixelated graphics in my games. I’m not asking for realism, but at least make the visuals not look like a blob of moving dots.
Low-res vs medium-res vs high-res pixel art.
I do love the music though.
Doesn't look bad, but yeah it looks very blocky.
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