Today marks the Steam release of top-down, dungeon-crawling, rogue-like action-RPG Pixel Boy and the Ever Expanding Dungeon. It’s mixes old-school arcade games that demand good reflexes and nimble fingers with modern-day action-RPGs, but with a crafting/powerup-combining/procedurally-generated-levels twist and a uniquely gorgeous art style.
You can grab it on Steam for $9.99 (just over R100) from today, but you’ll have to wait until at least 10pm SA time according to the Steam store.
Since I’ve been lucky enough to play the game already, I can say that it’s the most fun I’ve had with a dungeon-crawler in years thanks to the incredible 6 000+ powerup combos, the steep challenge it offers but most of all, the incredible quasi-retro soundtrack by French artist Pyramid that accompanies everything that had me falling in love with the game even before the first dungeon was done.
Pixel Boy is being made by Giant Box Games, a studio with a one-third South African component. The team is made up of David Nickerson (art, Canada), Dominic Obojkovits (programming, South Africa) and Adam Nickerson (project co-ordination, Canada). They’re a very nice bunch of guys who were only too happy to answer the questions we fired off to them about the imminent release of their game.
If you’d like to win one of five copies of the standard version of Pixel Boy, simply comment on this story in the field below and we’ll randomly select five lucky readers to receive their very own Steam code.
Please tell us a little about yourselves…
David (Nickerson) and Dominic (Obojkovits) are the co-creators of Pixel Boy and the Ever Expanding Dungeon. They met in an online forum and started to work on random phone games together. Somehow Pixel Boy formed out of one of their more primitive ideas. The prototype was a box shooting boxes at other boxes. Pretty intuitive stuff right there. Dominic is new to the games industry as a young guy in University in South Africa. David has worked for several years in the games industry in Vancouver Canada after graduating art school. Adam (Nickerson) joined the project half way into development and now the three of them together have had Pixel Boy greenlit on Steam and worked out a deal to bring Pixel Boy to the Nintendo Wii U in the fall/autumn (hopefully).
What is Pixel Boy?
Pixel Boy is an action-rpg shoot-em-up dungeon crawler. That’s a lot of words for a genre title.
How did you implement Pixel Boy’s OVER 6 000!! powerup combinations?
Through frustration, complication and lots of MATHS as Dominic calls it.
How hard was it collaborating across the ocean? What were the biggest challenges?
Collaborating over the ocean was not as hard as one might expect with all the modern tools we have to work with. The major frustrations were the hours being about 10 hours off of each other and the times when Dominic would sound like he had turned into a robot on his end due to South Africa’s troubled internet bandwidth situation. Overall it made arguing about design decisions pretty easy when one person’s call would just cut out.
What were the challenges getting Greenlit on Steam?
Exposure. That is the largest hurdle, whether a title is great or not, trying to get it in front of people can be hard. Adam took to all sorts of unusual campaigning to help get us noticed. The 30mb GIF version of our teaser trailer posted to the front page of Reddit seemed to have a hilariously massive impact. The rAge expo in Johannesburg really made a massive difference as well as organisations like MakeGamesSA.
Pyramid’s soundtrack is AMAZING! Will you ever make it available for sale on its own or as part of a special Soundtrack Edition of the game?
Pyramid (Etiene Copin)’s Pixel Boy original soundtrack will be made available by the artist himself. To find out more one can visit his webpage at http://pyramid-hall.com/.
If you each had to choose one, what is your fondest childhood gaming memory?
David: Playing Diddy Kong Racing co-op and realising there was another new world after completing the game, mind = blown.
Dominic: Watching my cousin play Spyro on his PlayStation One!
Adam: Being the best! Around! Nothing’s ever gonna keep me down!
If someone is interested in developing games for a living, where should they start?
They should just start reading. Read everything to do with gaming. Interviews, reviews, game design documents, and learn about all aspects of the games/entertainment industry on sites like this one. It’s so important to know as much as possible about the industry you’re entering.
[Image – Pixelboygame.com]