For the Retro-ish series, I'll be taking a look at present-day games that are evocative of retro games either visually or otherwise. First I'll be checking out Appy 1000mg, a game created by Sebastien Benard from Motion Twin for Ludum Dare 20 (May 2011).
Ludum Dare is a site that holds a semiannual rapid game-making competition. In 48 hours, entrants have to make a game from scratch within a given theme. Mr. Benard's entry was the winner in both the "graphics" and "overall" categories for the "It's Dangerous to go Alone, Take This!" competition.
In Appy 1000mg, our robot hero is in pursuit of his constantly-vanishing love Pixelle across a picturesque natural landscape. What follows is a pretty easy to understand platformer, wherein the player uses the arrow keys to move. Harmless pink blobs bounce around, and aside from falling into bodies of water, there is nothing that can harm Appy.
After a strange encounter with a sage-like old robot man and some pills, the game shifts to a much darker tone. The world remains laid out the same way, but a palette shift occurs and the bright sunset backdrop turns to a dark, ashy sky. Those friendly pink blobs? They turn into explosive zombie robots.
I won't give the rest of plot away because you can play the game yourself for free. Once this dichotomous world is established, a short but powerful story unfolds that's paced just perfectly for a 48-hour game. Much like a good short film, it falls in the sweet spot of narrative; a sympathetic character, a goal, and thing preventing him from reaching that goal. It packs quite a punch for such a small feature. I recommend spending the 5-10 minute necessary to see it through to completion!