Sometimes a game comes along and you will play through it for the beautiful artwork and world design, whether the gameplay is good or not so good. I’m a big fan of pixel art in games, maybe it just transports me back to my younger days playing on my Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).
Something that always surprises me is when a pixel art or retro style game makes it into the conversation for top game of the year. Today, we have games that look better than real life — games like Destiny 2, Ghost of Tsushima and Horizon: Forbidden West.
I remember back in 2018, Celeste was one of my top games. Celeste is a pixel art platformer created by a team of four people. That same year we had God of War win the Game Award for Game of the Year, and Celeste was also nominated in that category.
I’ve said it before, but it’s so cool that games of all sizes, styles and scale can bring a player the same amount of excitement. There are huge games with so much going on, and there are also simple, smaller games that may feature a single mechanic or movement. Yet, we can be just as excited for both.
Narita Boy is Beautiful
This is the first post in my “Games are Beautiful” series, where I plan to showcase some amazing visuals and artwork from recent games.
I originally planned on writing out a full “Game Diary” for Narita Boy. The problem is I sort of fell off of this game a while back. I still wanted to post about it in some form, because the world of Narita Boy is so beautiful. It’s the perfect mix of the classic, retro pixel art style with the technology of today.
Narita Boy is an action-adventure platformer sporting an 80s-inspired look and story. The music is very synth heavy — also very 80s. The magic of the art direction lies not only in the pixel-art style, but the tube TV filter, the colors, the sound design and so much more. When it all comes together, that’s what makes Narita Boy look and feel unique.
In my intro, I mentioned how I may play certain games just because they are pretty to look at, even when the gameplay is not so great. This is not the case with Narita Boy. It’s not the perfect game, but the game itself is fun and exciting. This is a classic-style action platformer, where you fight enemies with your techno sword (and other weapons you unlock throughout the journey).
Throughout the game you keep learning new details about “the creator” and this incredible story. It’s fascinating how with simple pixel art the developer was able to create so many different landscapes and areas. The use of colors, neon, image overlays, light and shadows really help create a stunning world, no matter where you find yourself.
I plan to one day get back into Narita Boy, but for now I wanted to share some of the art. Here’s a little slideshow of some screenshots I took while playing the game. In fact, my Switch was full of Narita Boy images, so I decided to pick some of my favorites for this gallery.
I uploaded a few other gameplay videos from Narita Boy on the myVGBC.com YouTube channel and you can find those right here. Make sure to like and subscribe, and check out other videos on the page.
Narita Boy is available on consoles (Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and PlayStation 4) and PC.