I had an unexpected love affair at rAge. I knew there would be some cool games available, but Pixel Boy seriously impressed me – I had such a fun time playing, and I’m not the only one. Beyond the game, I really enjoyed chatting to the guys behind its creation, and learning about how the game came into being.
What is Pixel Boy? Well, it’s a bit of everything. Heavily inspired by classic games, Pixel Boy draws on a wide range of styles and genres. Prepare yourself for hyphens: Pixel Boy is a part-RPG, part action-shooter that is a top-down self-aware rogue dungeon crawler with tons of weapon combinations. In fact, with the variety of weapons and power ups, there are over 6000 unique combinations.
I jumped into gameplay, which was surprisingly intuitive. No tutorial hoops to jump through – just start shooting and running around. I never felt stuck or lost, with the game ramping up as I improved. And improve I did – Pixel Boy has a speedy leveling system where you can spend point on your Health, Damage, Fire Rate or Range stats. Those changes are quickly visible – I loaded up my damage stat and could immediately kill the baddies with fewer shots. Plus, I picked up loot in the form of power ups for my weapon – by combining them I already made an awesome spray gun that shot out three shots with an improved chance of critical hits. The constant progression was fantastic, especially when I learned that the game ramps up in difficulty as you go, with certain enemies only being weak to particular weapon combos. I was hooked after only five minutes of play – the only reason I stopped playing after 15 minutes was to give someone else a turn (unlike some people at rAge).
I really like how the guys dealt with the idea of a rogue dungeon crawler. Rather than just pretending that the same cave entrance could lead to a vastly varied environment, they made the game self-aware. The town of Resolutia has selected “The Boy” to take part in a dungeon running tournament, complete with commentators. The dungeons of Cinnamod are actually built each night to provide a unique challenge to “the Boy”. I like the concept, and the fact that the game breaks the fourth wall this way.
The two-man team of Giant Box Games consists of David Nickerson and Dominic Obojkovits. Dave and Dom actually only met a few days before rAge – the entire game development was done collaboratively online. That’s right, Google Hangouts was their dev space. Who would imagine that the creativity could flow like this without being in person. Welcome to the digital age. I got to chat to them both at rAge – those guys are seriously enthusiastic! Check out the interview:
Pixel Boy is going for Steam Greenlight, so please go show your support. Also, get on this bandwagon early – Nintendo and Xbox are both showing interest in these guys. You know you want to be there before they’re famous. But seriously, let’s support this local talent – South African indies are moving up in the world and we should be right behind them.
Last Updated: October 8, 2013