A Game Where You Are The Terrifying Alien That Soldiers Want To Kill

I've killed a lot of aliens in my time. You probably have, too. It's not often that we get to be the mysterious extraterrestrial that all the humans are terrified of, though. Paradise Lost: First Contact is a game where you get to play as an alien plant thing that comes to Earth via a meteor. The humans try to figure out what you are of course, but this...doesn't exactly go to plan.

The game is a side-scrolling adventure with heavy focus on stealth and action. The developers, Ashtree Works, promise levels with huge maps with lots of secrets, traps, and puzzles (the idea being that it'll be a Metroidvania), as well as some form of RPG skill progression (any terrifying alien worth its salt evolves into something more sinister). You'll also have abilities like camo, decoys, bombs and some form of mental control (!). All in all, this looks rather rad, no?

The developers hope to raise $US70,000 on Kickstarter to make Paradise Lost a reality. You can also vote for Paradise Lost on Steam Greenlight here.

Or, take a look at a few screenshots here.

A Game Where You Are The Terrifying Alien That Soldiers Want To Kill
A Game Where You Are The Terrifying Alien That Soldiers Want To Kill
A Game Where You Are The Terrifying Alien That Soldiers Want To Kill
A Game Where You Are The Terrifying Alien That Soldiers Want To Kill
A Game Where You Are The Terrifying Alien That Soldiers Want To Kill


    Those amazing graphics from 1998...

    For all this money these kickstarter games get, I don't expect Crysis 3 level graphics, but I guess I do expect something a little better than this? It seems rather... lazy at times? I've seen some outstanding games with lower level graphics for sure, that have amazing gameplay, but it just seems we're going backwards with visuals in the last few years even when certain kickstarters garner an almost obscene amount of money towards themselves?

    Last edited 03/11/13 4:55 pm

      it's an artistic choice...its actually really not hard these days for a game to look really good

      while usually I'm not a fan of retro-wank I can't deny those screens there are actually pretty gorgeous....

        You're right in that it is an artistic choice. Some people will always love that retro style, some hate it.

        The game premise certainly sounds interesting, and a few years ago I would have found it cool, but at this point I feel being ANOTHER indie game with retro graphics just detracts from the project more than it adds. Given the sheer amount of artistic talent floating around the internet these days, I can't help but think how many indie devs would be better off splurging a bit to hire someone to give the game a fresher, more unique look.

          Exactly my point. Lets see some original looks coming out, lets see some actual artistic style. I honestly don't see anything truly 'artistic' there. I see something that looks exactly the same as many 16 bit games of the 90s. That's not to say it won't be a damn good game, just that it's visually very generic.

          Last edited 03/11/13 5:54 pm

            Tis a real shame. I'm assuming so many small dev teams simply go that way because it's cheaper and easier, because come on, pretty much any one can make half decent pixel art if they try.

            The part that really saddens me is that indie devs are the ones that are supposed to be able to take those artistic risks and try something interesting with their game, compared to big AAA studios that have to churn out fairly generic looking "summer blockbusters" every year. I'm just amazed how generic most games have been lately. It's like they sit down to have a brainstorming session and the only things that end up on the whiteboard are "some kind of 8-bit game" and "some kind of zombie game".

            I guess it just makes me appreciate those unique looking games that little bit more.

              "Tis a real shame. I'm assuming so many small dev teams simply go that way because it's cheaper and easier, because come on, pretty much any one can make half decent pixel art if they try."

              gonna have to stop you right there....

              you implied in your earlier post that the pixel art was there because they couldn't get an "actual" artist to do it, this simply isn't true, take a look at those screenshots, particularly the first one...its friggin beautiful, whoever did that knew EXACTLY what they were doing and not just anyone with access to MS paint could do that....I've seen pixel art on varying levels of complexity and what I see up there is actually on the slightly more detailed side, a good artist knows the complexities and THEN simplifies it..this is stylisation, and often a choice rather than a limitation ), I don't know how much easier pixel art would be to 2D graphics on the level of say..Bastion but I cant imagine the difference would be all that much, at worst I'd say this here is unoriginal

              yes it "pixel art" has become the Indie games version of "brown/grey" for AAA games and I actually find it a real turn off....

                That's pretty much it isn't it. I like that term, 'Pixelart is the indie games version of AAA games brown/grey', pretty much nails it right on its head.

                This is the 2D issue. The 3D offender of course, is what I'd term Minecraft clones. Games that just lazily copy the imagery of minecraft.

                Recently however I played 7 Days to Die? THAT was *fantastic*. Loved how they did that. Visually stunning.

                Please understand I'm not trying to imply that this is bad pixel art. There is absolutely a difference between good and bad pixel art, and as far as games using the pixelated style go, this is actually very nicely done. It's easy to appreciate the effort they've put into it.

                My issue is with the graphics is not the quality of the art, but the fact that it's yet another game in a pixelated retro style. As you said, pixel art is the new generic indie game style, much like the awful "muddy brown shooter" phase we went through with AAA titles. You can't throw a rock at the Steam Store without hitting at least a dozen "retro" games.

                When I implied that it was due to lacking the funds or the clout to get an actual artist, I wasn't necessarily referring to this title, but rather to the multitude of other games out there with (often poor) pixel art.

          Pixal art is a very difficult art style. To do what they are doing they must have skilled artist. Pixal art animation is even worse. A lot of complications.

      Well so far the kickstarter has earned enough to feed and shelter one person for a year in poor accomodations. if it reaches its goal itll be able to fund a small (2-3) dev team. Personally I dont begrudge them the retro style.

      Agreed - I'd rather have a game aspire to 'early 90s gameplay', not 'early 90s graphics'.

      I get the throwback appeal, and remember being impressed when SVGA finally came along, but a little polish never hurt. Especially if they're going to charge for it after the donation stage. (I'm getting share-ware flashbacks from the screenshots..)

        Very much this. Gameplay over graphics for sure, but a little polish never hurt.

          And it can be done without losing the old vibe they're apparently aiming for... just look at the DuckTales or Ys remakes on Steam.

            Absolutely. Both good examples.

            Now imagine if Paradise Lost kept that retro metroidvania playstyle, but had a more modern aesthetic, something like Mark of the Ninja, or Dust: an Elysian Tail. I know I'd be up for that.

              A look akin to Mark of the Ninja would be sweet, that sort of style would be great. Or Dust, indeed. There's lots to be said about the comic art approach in games. Mark of the Ninja is one of the most strikingly beautiful 2D games I've seen in recent years.

      I agree that "retro" pixel art is a style that is being beaten to death right now and that devs should probably try to create their own style rather than just making it look like Swords and Sworcery (same goes for any game that looks like Minecraft), but if you're implying that it takes less amount of effort to make a game in pixel art rather than HD or Vector, then you are very mistaken. Pixel art and pixel animation is not a lazy choice, if anything, it's the developers choosing the hardest way to make art for a game just because they want it to have that nostalgic feel. Its a very specific style that means that their are no short cuts to making it, there are no photoshop filters and no pre-coded tweens for animations. With pixel art, everything has to be done frame by frame.

      Frankly, I apprecaite these kinds of graphics alot, not just for the nostalgia, but for the artists deliberately taking a limited tool set and then showing how great they can make a game look using it. Same goes for ChipTunes, mixing nostalgia and the challenge of limited hardware to make amazing music.

      So, you're allowed to not like the look of pixel art games, I've no problem with that at all, but I have to seriously disagree with you calling them lazy.

        Lazy for following the current trend, not lazy for the work involved in the style, that's all.

          Hey : )

          Sorry, never commented on this site before but was interested in what was being said so thought I'd sign up : P

          I'm glad the skill level of pixel art discussion has been cleared up, but I'd like to also offer an idea with regard to following the "lazy" trend of pixel art.

          First of all id like to say that obviously this doesn't apply to *all* pixel art games out there because, as has been mentioned already, without a doubt this has absolutely become a trend over the last few years.

          However, don't forget that some of these games could have been on the minds of these creators for years, some longer even than this trend has been around. Unfortunately, by the time they get around to making their game, in some cases, the idea (in this case pixel art, in others zombie game etc...) has been done to death.

          That being said, regardless of if you're tired of the trend or not, it's always good to judge something new on its own merits. I'm sick to death of zombie games but I could miss out on something great if I never played another zombie game again just cause I'm sick of em : P

          Not saying anyone hasn't thought of these things already and I'm not assuming anyone has implied they're not going to play this game just because of the art style!! Just thinking out loud x)

            Oh indeed. I fully believe in judging a game on its gameplay, not its graphics. I will play this, I will likely enjoy it. It's just one of those things where the complete package I guess (for me, others will disagree and their opinions are *just* as valid) would've been better as one other said, had it been akin to something like Mark of the Ninja... but then, as also said, there is a lot of beauty and effort in Pixelart, true Pixelart that is. This seems to have a lot of effort in it no doubt and deserves the title of pixelart along with some of the best, as others have pointed out some of the minor details on the scientists is fantastic.

    This looks fantastic, all you guys complaining about the graphics are noobs the visuals are fantastic. I love how the scientists' ties sway back & forth while they're walking and all the little touches.

      Please keep in mind we're not implying that the graphics look terrible. They've clearly put work into the backgrounds and little details and whatnot to try and keep things interesting. I really do wish them all the best, because it sounds like they have an interesting idea for a game. What we are saying however is that the overall style they chose may not be the best way to go if they want to stand out from the crowd and woo people.

      As I said, it's merely a stylistic choice. Some people still love the whole "semi 8-bit retro throwback" look, and that's fine. A lot of others though are a bit over it. That's fine too. To each their own.

      Personally though, I already lived through a whole load of games that looked like this 20 years ago, and I'm much more interested in seeing what NEW styles people can come up with.

        The last paragraph was my first thought.

        Then came "The kids aren't going to realise what they're going for, and people my age will probably just dig out their old games if they want nostalgic visuals."

        Still, kudos to the makers for having a style in mind - I might have a look at it, next time I have a generous pay-day.

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