Standing out in a crowded sea of retro-style indie games is no easy task, but 16-bit RPG Elysian Shadows caught my attention recently for what it's promising to do differently.
Fashioning itself as a "next-gen 2D RPG," Elysian Shadows isn't shy about wearing its inspiration on its sleeve. Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana both get shout outs in the developer video, and the aesthetics are right out of 1995. Those names are enough to get any 16-bit fan excited, but they're also names I hear referenced in almost every video about a new retro game.
What has me intrigued, though, are the features that could give Elysian Shadows a much more modern feel. Better 2D/3D graphics, dynamic lighting and sound, a real-time day/night system, and a world where everything is interactive (no "decorative doors") are a few things that could push this from just another nostalgia trip into something genuinely memorable.
What its team has released so far looks promising:
The best retro games — here's looking at you Shovel Knight — are the ones that can pay homage to the past while still giving players a fresh and unique experience. I'm hopeful that's what Elysian Shadows can deliver.
Elysian Shadows will launch on PC, Mac, Linux, OUYA, mobile platforms, and the Dreamcast for some reason. The game just hit its Kickstarter goal, so head over there to follow along with the development.