There must be something in the water because we’ve got another world-class game jam on our hands. This year’s #LOWREZJAM just wrapped up and the entries are great. If you haven’t kept track of Low Rez Jam’s history (no I’m not going to keep typing it in all caps with the hashtag) all you need to know is that every game has to output in a resolution of 64x64. All genres and themes are fair game so the entries have a huge level of diversity. As usual, you can check out all of the entries on the jam page or the jam’s tag, but here are some of our favorites.
If you’re steeped in the lore of Low Rez Jam, you’ll be familiar with the name Legend of Xenia. The series has been developed over multiple competitions as an indie take on Zelda, but with the Legend of Xenia 3D the series has really come into its own. Now this wasn’t done by some convoluted twist, all it took was transporting the game into 3D and making it first person. Where the previous Xenias were fun but just indie remakes of an existing game, Xenia 3D feels unique.
Impressively enough, a lot of what made the 2D Xenia’s great survived the transfer to 3D. The art is still expressively pixelated, the world is charming and warm, and the experience is delightfully refined. It’s not a surprise that Legend of Xenia 2 was Low Res Jam 2017’s highest rated game, and I’m certain that Xenia 3D will achieve similar acclaim.
As a young buck, I’ve always associated point and click adventures with their revival. This coupled with my love/hate relationship with the genre has given me a complicated set of expectations when I see another point and click game pop up. Cosmodge takes classic design tropes of the genre, smooths them all out, and creates an absolutely charming world inside of its 64x64 window.
All of the classic point and click interactions are present in Cosmodge -- use object, inspect, etc…-- but the puzzles remain accessible and you can breeze through the short adventure without any of the frustration that the genre has become associated with. But this isn’t where Cosmodge shines brightest: that would be the adorable interactions between the player cosmonaut and the denizens of your space adventure. Planet Cosmodge is explicitly a game about symbiosis and the world it builds is one of joy and helping, both of which we could use more of.
Is 64x64 pixels too high resolution for you? Enter: Pixel Islands and its 64x36 viewport. Get your walking simulator on as you explore a world that you’ll swear is higher resolution. I’m not sure how this game was possible on a technical level, but each time you play you’re greeted with a different randomly generated island that is both engrossing and beautiful.
There isn’t a ton in Pixel Islands outside of the usual walking simulator field trip/ sightseeing but it’s a great and beautiful experience that inspires reflection and meditation. It’s a peaceful adventure that lasts just as long as you want it to.
Do you have any favorites from the past week? Let us know in the comments below.
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