Platform: Nintendo Switch, Windows PC
Developer: Studio Pixel Punk
Publisher: Studio Pixel Punk
Release Date: TBA 2020
Industry rating: Unknown
Developed by fledgling studio Studio Pixel Punk, UNSIGHTED is an upcoming top-down action-adventure game with phenomenal sprite work and smooth, fast-paced, and methodical combat. When we say “phenomenal sprite work” we mean it.
UNSIGHTED is the kind of game that immediately catches the eye–something that stands out from a crowd. UNSIGHTED‘s cyberpunk aesthetic and stellar art direction make the game rather distinct, and we really cannot overstate just how awesome the game looks. You’ll just have to see it for yourself, but more on that in a minute.
Despite dropping a new trailer in August of 2019, and several trailers before that, somehow this indie gem escaped our attention until recently. Though that’s part and partial to the realm of indie titles, which often get little exposure.
We’ll always spread the Gospel of the Independent Developer, however. UNSIGHTED marks one of the many stand-out indie titles that deserve our–and your–attention, so let’s jump right in.
UNSIGHTED‘s level designs are extremely unique, ranging from underwater aquariums, to futuristic city rooftops, to traditional Asian gardens. Each level we’ve seen so far is both technically impressive and artistically intriguing. The game’s stage design is bestowed with a unique character that screams creativity.
That creativity resounds especially loudly in the game’s small details. Passive animated effects like a slow rain of drifting cherry blossoms or the splashing of pond water as you run through the Asian garden bring this pixel-art world to life. The game lives and breathes in a way uncharacteristic for many smaller productions, and it’s clear that Studio Pixel Punk has taken unique care in crafting each area of the game.
While much of the game seems to takes place in rather dreary environments–it is a cyberpunk apocalypse, after all–it’s clear from the above garden stage that this is not always the case. Nor does that narrative bleakness translate into visual drudgery, as the aquarium scene below demonstrates.
While dark, UNSIGHTED appears full of lively effects like the bubbling of air and swaying of underwater anemones that put the artist’s skill and attention to detail on full display. We at The Game Manual swear by good sprite work, something we’ve mentioned time and again, and UNSIGHTED is an exemplary specimen.
It’s worth mention that the game has noteworthy sound direction as well, with a perfectly thematic–and periodic–soundboard that captures the game’s futuristic, cyberpunk theme.
The game’s music, while we haven’t heard a whole lot of it, seems quite fitting. The music playing in the Steam trailer, at least, has a foreboding body, with eerie overlays accompanying, but not drowning out, an underlying synthwave track.
Studio Pixel Punk’s game is inspired by classics such as Zelda, Metroid, and the Soulsborne genre (though the developer notes that they prefer to avoid the “Soulsborne” label out of respect for the titles that truly pioneered the genre; we dig it), with a stated emphasis on the Zelda and Metroid descriptors.
The game’s combat requires you to wait for enemy openings to attack and in turn dodge and parry your enemies attacks, all while managing your stamina. It also features many different weapons and items that can affect combat in various ways, such as changing the timing [of attacks and/or dodges/parries], adding elemental bonuses to attacks, and so on.
While not much of the game’s story has been disclosed, the basic premise involves a dilapidating metropolis whose cybernetic inhabitants (actually, androids–there is a difference) are running out of the energy that gives robots their consciousness: Anima.
The protagonist of UNSIGHTED will explore the ruins of this once great city in order to prevent the remaining androids from turning into “Unsighted”. We’re not sure exactly what the Unsighted are, but we’re guessing it’s neither friendly nor pretty, judging by this ominous aesthetic transition:
The developer notes the game’s focus is on exploration and attaining abilities that unlock new ways to explore.
Featuring a large, interconnected world filled with shortcuts and secrets, progressing through the game will require all of your faculties, as exploration and combat is met with puzzle-solving, platforming obstacles, and a focus on your protagonist’s dwindling time (perhaps even time limits to certain objectives?).
Progression will also be non-linear, offering high replayability and letting you continually try to improve on past performance. Find new routes, develop new combat strategies, or bring a friend along for co-op gameplay.
The game has undergone significant progress in its short development period. Back in 2018, the game seemingly featured a very different protagonist, with light skin and pink (Or purple? I’m colorblind. Sorry.) hair–a noticeable change from the dark-skinned, white-haired protagonist featured in later trailers and videos.
We love the new design, but it’s unclear if she is a remodel of the same protagonist or a completely new character. Perhaps the original design will make an appearance in the game, or even in the games co-op mode?
Many of the levels themselves also seem to have become more detailed and more varied over time, owing–we presume–to the developers own personal growth as well as decisions about the games artistic direction.
Studio Pixel Punk has done amazing work thus far, and we couldn’t be more excited to check the game out. The studio has expressed a desire to see the game translated into as many languages as possible–an effort we commend–and it is confirmed for a release on both Windows PCs (via Steam) and for the Nintendo Switch.
UNSIGHTED is scheduled for an as yet undisclosed 2020 release date, but you can add it to your Steam wishlist now to keep up to date on its developments. Studio Pixel Punk also posts updates, videos, and images via their Facebook page, so give them a Like and Follow if you want to keep up with their work.
We recently published a preview for Studio Pixel Punk's UNSIGHTED, a top-down action-adventure indie game inspired by Zelda and Metroid. This is the Steam trailer for the game, so you can get a feel for what it's all about. If you like what you see, be sure to check out [...]