Pixel art adventures were one of the very strong milestones in the history of video games. King’s Quest or The Secret of the Monkey Island are a great example of that. Nowadays, it is mostly that indie developers try to bring them back. Pixel art adventures made by indie developers are succesful because they bring back what was the secret of succes of old adventure games: freedom and innovation.
Don’t get me wrong – AAA games are innovative from time to time. But, very often, big studios are scared of trying new things, fresh ideas and going with the idea in hopes player will love it. Back in the day, nobody knew what people wanted because the whole market and playbase was still in the making. Possibly why Sierra created all kinds of different adventure games, of different themes (fantasy theme, police theme, space theme, etc) to gather a full range of audience, people of different tastes and likes.
Indie developers do not have an easy job either. It is often working two jobs, and putting your passion first. But in the case of an indie studio, where you do not have to worry about paying hundreds of people, just couple – you can allow yourself to take risks. Maybe not big risks, because you still need to eat, but this is how pixel art game suceed.
The sad true of success of an indie developer is to create for passion and for love for creating rather than making enough money of it, although for many of them it does pay off. It is a mixutre of skill, dedication and sheer luck.
But, pixel art adventures became a well known genre created by many indie developers.. It is a one of those smaller risks, because of the popularity of the genre. Turns out that a lot of us, especially us gamers remembering the times of first pixels, don’t mind lack of 3d high quality graphics, if the story or gameplay or both are stunning.
And today we are talking about something stunning.
There is a very skillful creator called Octavi Navarro that has worked on quite a few such productions, like Thimbleweed Park, and is a truly talented individual. Recently, he has released his second short game called “The Librarian”, and on this ocassion, I decided to write this little piece.
Navarro has created two short games, but it’s shortness show you just how time consuming and how tough it may be to create game on your own. Yes, Navarro created almost all of the assets by himself. Fonts were done by SomePx, and some of the sound effect were taken from royalty free assets.
First of his games is Midnight Scenes.
Midnight Scenes is Navarro’s first game and much more spooky one. Of course, point-and-click horros are not fully scary, but they do not intend to be. They are about building atmosphere, and Octavi Navarro has a tremendous talent in that. He builds atmosphere so perfectly it makes you shudder. I am amazed at how many little things his games have that help set the atmosphere.
You follow a story of young woman being stuck on a road and… some very interesting events happen. I am really curious about the story and all the things that weren’t said.
Midnigh Scenes is a very short let intriguing story, and feels like it has potential for much longer, bigger game. I would love to see what could be made out of this, and how the story could develop.
His newest game, The Librarian, shows even more professionalism and beautiful design.
The Librarian has one very specific feature that I adore. It is not as hard to tell a story, if you can tell it through words.Many mysteries and secrets can be revealed this way. Navarro shows his skill by telling us a story through no words what so ever. Midnight Scenes had very few words as well, but still they needed some because of how the story went. Librarian defends itself through it’s design and the only time you read something is at the beginning. One, short sentence and later you need to observe the game and solve puzzles to learn the story.
Both games from Octavi Navarro are beautiful, a bit spooky adventures that you need to check out. Details in character’s animation, beautiful art and other assets, and amazing design are what makes those games truly delightful. In anticipation I am awaiting Octavi’s bigger production, because I am certain it will be the real GOTY. Navarro is the artist you want to follow and see just how he will surprise you next.
Here is the link to his website, when you can see how to support him, see some beautiful pixel art and more!