Platform games are often known as one of the most simple forms of video games, and can correspondingly be associated with generic, un-intriguing graphics used in their game landscapes. This, however, could not be more false when it comes to some of the biggest recent platform games. The scenery and terrain are what give these games a large portion of their creative and emotive appeal. Conveying atmosphere, aesthetics and plot points, the landscapes of platforms games can be a deciding factor in terms of the games’ popularity.
Ori and the Blind Forest
Ori and the Blind Forest is an indisputably beautiful video game. Designed by “Moon Studios” and published by Microsoft for Xbox on March the 11th, 2016, Ori and the Blind Forest is a single player adventure that leads you on a journey to save the dying forest of “Nibel” after a storm kicks off the chain of events. You play as the orphaned guardian spirit “Ori” and the creature who contains the power and will of Nibel forest’s Spirit Tree, “Sein”. Working your way through platforms to progress through the mission, the game’s “soul links” feature also allows you to save the game when you wish to do so.
The atmosphere created by the game’s own orchestrated music and the hand-painted artwork sets up a perfect backdrop to the emotive tale. Said to have been inspired by Disney’s The Lion King and The Iron Giant, while also having won the “Game Award for Best Art Direction”, as well as the “BAFTA Games Award for Artistic Achievement”, there is no doubt that Ori and the Blind Forest is a creative masterpiece. The game also gained the highest possible rating of 10/10 on Steam.
— HAP BAINS (@UGBUMSJAANU) September 14, 2017
Trine 2 is similar to Ori and the Blind Forest in that the landscapes are soft and magical, an effect produced in Trine predominantly through specific colours and lighting. The first video game of the Trine franchise was released on July the 2nd, 2009. The December of 2011 then witnessed the birth of Trine 2, which – like its predecessor – is a platform game which incorporates puzzles and, of course, magical scenery. Like trying to choose between a collection of equally beautiful travel destinations, it is difficult to decide which Trine edition is best. What is certain, however, is that Frozenbyte‘s Trine games are all distinct for the utilisation of soft, glowing lighting in a variety of hues, which produces a bold yet gentle effect on the game landscape and works to accentuate the enchanted theme of the realms that the characters pass through. Trine 2 has scored a rating of 85 on Metacritic and has seen further adaptations released, to the delight of those who love the magical game landscape that the video games feature.
Mark of the Ninja
— Dan Hindes (@dhindes) September 8, 2017
Also gaining a Steam rating of 10/10 is Mark of the Ninja. Belonging to the action-stealth genre of video games, Mark of the Ninja has been nominated for the “VGX Award for Best Independent Game”. Klei Entertainment developed the game and it was then released by Microsoft Studios for the Xbox 360 on September the 7th, 2012, after the first announcement to herald its arrival was made on February the 28th, 2012.
Mark of the Ninja features a ninja of a clan that has remained disassociated from the modern world for numerous centuries, but now must come into contact with it for the sake of travelling through various settings with the aim of carrying out assassinations … even a one-hit kill is possible if you manage to sneak up on your opponents without them noticing your approach.
The theme of light and darkness is constantly present throughout gameplay, as the different levels are either of light of dark: in light, you are visible to enemies, whereas in dark areas you have a better chance of catching them unawares. Adding an even greater level of realism is the fact that if from your hero’s perspective you would not be able to see enemies, they do not show up on your screen (although the sound of their movement can be used to give warning of their location).
However, it is the terrain of this platform game that is truly impressive. The use of silhouetted representation of buildings, particularly the traditional constructions, delivers a strong link to the traditional side of the protagonist’s life, while also creating aesthetically appealing shaping and patterns on the screen. Additionally working into links with the scenery is the ink from which Azai’s tattoo is created: the ink is from a particular flower found in the desert. It is this nature of detailed background that we are beginning to encounter more and more in other interactive online ventures, including online casinos, for which bonuses are provided for numerous games which incorporate atmospheric graphics to increase their immersion factor.
— Joice Paz (@juicemundo) June 19, 2017
Outland also uses “light” and “dark” as themes, yet in this game they are far more prominent than in Mark of the Ninja. Light energy is represented as blue and dark energy as red, which you must use to open barriers and combat monsters created from either light or dark energy. Outland was initially released on the 27th of April, 2011 by Ubisoft, having been developed by Housemarque. In addition to regular play, there is also a multiplayer option, a possibility of finding “Masks of the Gods’ and an Arcade Mode (which enforces a time limit in which you must travel through an area and defeat its protector), for example the Jungle Arcade Mode.
The terrains are similar to those of Mark of the Ninja in that silhouettes are utilised frequently, while it is akin to Trine 2 in respect of the importance of lighting and soft colours for the skies. This gentle landscape works well to make the red and blue energy lights prominent, thereby allowing the factors most important to the success of the game to draw the most attention.
Subsequently, is it logical to conclude that the landscapes in games are important not only in themselves, but in accentuating other features of the video games that they are used in as well.