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The Painterly Pixel Art of Even the Ocean

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Today, I’ve got a question for you. Can a platformer be nonviolent, while having a deep story, adventure, dynamic platforming, and more? That’s one of the game design questions we answered when working on the upcoming Even the Ocean.

Even the Ocean is a platformer adventure where you play as Aliph, a government worker who repairs power plants. You’ll travel across the countryside, meet diverse people, and attempt to restore the world’s balance of light and dark energy. In the power plants, you’ll use obstacles and hazards to shift Aliph’s energy levels and movement physics.

Central to Even the Ocean is the two-way energy bar. This bar shows Aliph’s alignment between dark and light energy. By touching energy-charged obstacles, she’ll shift her alignment — dark means she’ll run faster; light means she’ll jump higher. Absorb too much energy of one type… and Aliph will die.  Every level contains multiple ways to overcome its challenges. A dark-energy laser might be a hazard at some alignments, but it might be a huge benefit at other alignments.

Even the Ocean

Even the Ocean

I hope you’ll play the game to discover all the different ways we use the two-way energy bar! But, you may be wondering… “Wow, that art… looks pretty good… what’s the deal with that?”

Good question!

Well, you see, Even the Ocean is roughly divided into two types of areas. Outdoors areas and power plant areas. The first picture in this post was a riverside outdoors area and the photo beliw is a power plant area.

Even the OceanEven the Ocean

The town areas are more organic, more natural feeling. They have hills, slopes, forests, water, and more. So, our artist Marina Kittaka used a special pixelized, painterly style to create these flowing hills and backgrounds. We wanted to create a feeling of being outdoors and hiking. Please take many screenshots and be sure to use the dedicated sit button and enjoy the sights.

As for the power plant areas? They’re far blockier and more geometrical. That’s because we wanted to emphasize the man-made-ness of those levels, and also, it’s easier to create platforming levels that are blocky and square shaped. You might also notice that those areas are made up of a patchwork of tile-based graphics, just like older games. This allowed us to make the levels art faster.

Now, the art we’ve shown here is just a mere taste. The game has a rich, character and dialogue-driven story, which will take you to many wondrous places. I hope that this post will enrich your experience and time with the game!

Even the OceanEven the Ocean

And, by the way! Even the Ocean is one of the first indie games to feature an extensive accessibility and gameplay options menu. You can turn on blocks to make levels easier, toggle the platform physics – even play the game without story or without platforming levels! Please utilize these options to make the experience as fun for you as possible!

Anyways, thanks to the support of prolific Ratalaika Games, we’re happy to be bringing Even the Ocean to Xbox One.

I hope this post has piqued your interest in the game. Please look forward to playing Even the Ocean later this year! Until next time… Chief Happiness Officer Sean Han Tani out. (Be sure to check out our other game, Anodyne, also on Xbox One!)

See the rest of the story on Xbox Wire

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Dragons, Necromancers, Cat People, and More Great Reasons to Check Out TESO: Elsweyr
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