Amidst all the commotion of the Steam Next Fest (opens in new tab) and some kind of big wizard game (opens in new tab) coming out this week, an absolutely captivating-looking indie RPG has emerged on Steam: Felvidek (opens in new tab) (sometimes styled Felvidék) is a low-fantasy, turn-based game made with the venerable RPG Maker toolset, and it has an absolutely stunning aesthetic all its own.
Process gif to give some insight into how the pixelart look for my environments is madefor any more specific questions feel free to DM me#felvidek #rpgmaker #gamedev #indiegamedev #indiegame pic.twitter.com/zZxuGlRkzNFebruary 8, 2023
"Like Baldur's Gate on the Game Boy" is the punchiest elevator pitch I can come up with. Solo developer Jozef Pavelka replicates that classic style of pre-rendered 3D backdrops common to RPGs of the late '90s, but goes the extra mile by applying this grim, monochrome wash that presents everything in muted greys, greens, and browns. The contrast between the high-fidelity art and the lack of color reminds me of Lucas Pope's Return of the Obra Dinn (opens in new tab), or, and this may sound high-falutin, the gothic vistas of the original Nosferatu silent film. Pavelka recently put a short video outlining the process of making these environments on Twitter (opens in new tab).
I'm an absolute sucker for this sort of rendercore revival, especially when a developer is able to make it their own and offer a really unique take on the style. Gameplay-wise Felvidek is reminiscent of classic Dragon Quests or Ultima, with your train of companions wandering through an exploration screen and combat zooming into a first person view of your enemies laid in a row. New Blood's upcoming Fallout-inspired CRPG (opens in new tab) is going for a similar split in exploration and combat.
Felvidek seems to be a more grounded, sober sort of low fantasy, but there are glimpses of more fantastical elements from its first trailers and screenshots, with floating eyeballs and tentacle monsters dispersed among stinky, arquebus-wielding bandits. I also love Felvidek's cheeky first person combat animations, with chunky sprites of sword swings, shield bashes, and spellcasting that look like they're straight out of Hexen.
Felvidek just strikes me as an incredibly characterful burst of color—ironic given its deliberately drab palette. Felvidek is currently set to release this April, and you can wishlist it now on Steam (opens in new tab).