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Welcome to another Screenshot Survey. It’s just over a week before E3, and many AAA developers are busy preparing demos and trailers. Well that or leaking out information about their games early in a naked bid to direct E3 hype their way and not get lost in the shuffle. Indie developers are a bit different, as there are places to show off their games all year long, which means that I can bring you new weird and wacky stuff every week. Let’s begin!

This week, we begin with Caldera Games, a little known two man studio out of France who recently announced that their working on a platformer entitled Pantless Hero. Something I see a lot of in indie games by new studios is a lack of variety in sprites. You instead get a variety of enemy types, and you’re left to assume that every enemy of the same type were  raised under the same roof. Even early on, Caldera is doing a great thing by working on multiple sprites for each foe, and they’re clearly putting the work in to make them look unique and well designed on top of it. Pantless Hero was announced just a few short months ago, so maybe we’ll check in on a future article and see some progress.

Next, here are a few screenshots from Prentice of the Death, a top down Zelda-style game starring goth girls instead of child adventurers. Definitely a step up there. Anyway, the game features some charming enemy designs and a user friendly level editor. The game is a bit farther than Pantless Hero, but is still rather early, so the pretty graphics will have to speak for themselves. Well, the graphics and the logo of the game’s developer, which features a unicorn crying rainbows. So that’s nice.

Here is a lovely background from Fossil Echo, which at first glance struck me as LIMBO with a bit of color. It’s about a young boy who has to climb a tower to end his journey. As you climb, you dive back into flashbacks filling in the boy’s backstory, making the climb that much more meaningful when you get back. The cartoon-quality graphics in the trailer are what really hooked me on this game, so go ahead and take a watch.

The game has already passed Greenlight and is on track for a release this year. I’m not one for more artistic leaning games, but for Fossil Echo I might just have to make an exception.

Those waiting for scraps of news about Bloodstained might be interested in Slain!, a Gothic action game that promises gore in a way that the Super Nintendo could never deliver. The small character sprites give way to ridiculously detailed backgrounds and wonderful flames dancing on the protagonist’s sword. It’s even animated on the weapon’s icon on the bottom of the screen! Sporting ex-designers from the Grand Theft Auto 5 team, Slain! looks to fill in the gap in the short term for Igavania fans when it comes out next month on PC and all the current consoles. Even Wii U and Vita!

Now, a look behind the scenes of the artists who bring me all this pixel-based goodness week in and week out on the Screenshot Survey. As anyone who had an inkling to stand too close to the TV as a child will tell you, all those images on your set are actually just thousands of tiny squares working together to trick your eyes. It’s a lot easier to see with the grid up in front of this yeti from Skyworld, and it’s just mindboggling to think about the meticulous work that artists put in to animate some of my favorite characters. So bravo to you indie developers! Bravo!

The Screenshot Survey will be taking a vacation next week for E3 related preparations. If you can’t bear the weight, just stand close to the TV and you’ll get a bunch of pixel goodness. And problems with your eyes. Don’t actually do this.

If you see a game you like or know of a developer who tweets out for Screenshot Saturday, be sure to mention them in the comments! Have a great E3!

Alex Santa Maria

Reviews Editor

TechRaptor's Reviews Editor. Resident fan of pinball, Needlers, Rougelikes, and anything with neon lighting. Owns an office chair once used by Billy Mays.