In our minds 2D never died, but try telling that some of the game publishers of the last decade. That’s why we love seeing flat graphics get some love, whether it’s in a full-fledged release or a downloadable. E3 had no shortage of great new 2D titles, but which impressed us most?
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet has already won us over with its charming aesthetics and enigmatic tale of alien infestation, but it really hooked us with the evocative, shadowy design. How can spacey, alien tendrils move so fluidly? Preview
Developer WayForward knows a thing or two about modern 2D gaming. Contra 4, A Boy and His Blob and Shantae: Risky’s Revenge are all shining examples of sprites done right, each one offering a grand throwback to 8- and 16-bit sensibilities. But up until now, WayForward has worked in standard definition, and even then within a relatively family-friendly mindset. BloodRayne, on the other hand, is stupendously bloody and flat-out gorgeous to see in HD; we know this number is part of WayForward’s marketing speil, but it’s still worth mentioning that Rayne herself has 4000 frames of animation. Not pre-rendered sprites or 3D models with a cel-shaded sheen, but 4000 frames of animation. Nice. Preview
One year ago Rayman Origins was first revealed as a charming downloadable, and 365 days later it has grown into a retail game and has only grown lovelier. Michel Ancel seems dedicated to give this 2D game the kind of AAA treatment they got before the PlayStation showed up, creating a world that looks nothing short of a living cartoon. Preview
Kirby Mass Attack
While the new Kirby game on Wii looks like a nice return to form, Mass Attack is forging new ground in the world of two dimensional pink puffballs. A mash-up of a side-scroller and RTS, Mass Attack features a team of cute Kirbys out to save the world. It might just be the last good game to hit the DS.
And the winner is…
Each of these games is worth applauding. But only one can walk away the winner, and seeing as we’ve already propped a spotlight on Rayman Origins we felt now’s the time to officially acknowledge BloodRayne Betrayal. Its impressive animations, sprites, music and absolutely everything else that make it a modern Super NES game are too well done and too captivating to watch for us to settle on any other game in this category. Oh, we’ll play (and likely love) everything on this page, but the idea of a lavishly animated, hyper-bloody slash-em-up really pushes all our buttons. So strange – a month ago we couldn’t have cared less about BloodRayne, and never would have expected her to return. But here we are, genuinely excited about her next game. Maybe some hardcore ‘Rayne fans (you’re out there, right?) have a problem with this old-school direction, but as for GamesRadar, we are so damn down.