Screenshot Saturday - Taking Shape

Screenshot Saturday is the reason your Twitter news stream fills with pictures of games in development. Below, we present you the most intriguing ones we've found during the last feverish 24 hours of screenshot sharing. You can participate yourself by tweeting a screenshot with the #screenshotsaturday hashtag.

Shape of the World

Shape of the World conjures a bucolic fantasy: trees doused in gold, pink blossom canopies, flusters of white leaves like the dust of magic. It's also a rare exploration of the outdoors in how it reflects the ephemeral state of nature. The world constructs itself as you walk inside it, trees taking root and reaching to the skies, bushes popping open into existence. Then it all degenerates into nothing before sprouting right back out again.

In this week's screenshot, it's revealed that there will, in fact, be some permanance to this world in the shape of gates. From the distance, they're humongous outlines of glowing pyramids. But, up close, they're much smaller. They give you something to aim towards, and reward your arrival by building a circle of monuments that will last throughout the ever-changing environments around them.

" These are your marks on the world, and since you will definitely get lost, these will help you on your way again," write the artists creating the game on their blog.

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Star Champion

The defining feature of a "bullet hell" shooter versus any other type of shooter is the curtain of polychrome it throws at you to dodge. Sure, some bullet hell shooters may be duller looking, but a good bullet hell shooter uses bright and bold color to help the player percieve where the gaps in the myriad of bullets are.

It's this wild, psychedelic mish-mash of colors that Star Champion most notably inherits. It's described as a 3D bullet hell shooter that has you playing as a "sci-fi hero" who must run through the guts of an imposing spaceship. The loud screenshot above speaks for itself. After looking at it, it should come as no surprise to find out that its creator cites Rez, Ikaruga, and EDM as inspirations.

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Dark Train

Dark Train is interesting both for its detailed reconstruction of railway engineering, and its dynamic gothic world.

It's said to be a skill-based game in which you must keep a steam engine pumping away to power a train along its tracks. Paper Ash, the game's creator, has gone so far as to create blueprints in order to accurately portray a working machine for you to interact with. There are control panels to mull over, methods of safe combustion that must be learned step-by-step, energy that must be transported to pistons and batteries in controlled currents.

All of this atomical, technological detail that must be researched and micro-managed is what lies at the heart of the challenge. That is, to drive this train from its starting location to its finish.

Making matters a little tougher going, if not also adventurous, is the heterogenous locations you encounter. Graveyards, icy black rocks, and raven-infested forests are realized with a tangible papery aesthetic. And, like the train, there's a biological integrity to how each one is formed behind the imposing set dressing.

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The combination of geometric 3D models and brightly colored pixels of Pixwing has the same allure of early 3D games of the '90s. It's a look that's more concerned with depicting an abrasive feel that, you can imagine, would be rough to the touch. A focus on texture rather than the shape and finer details of objects used as part of an effort to hide the flatness of the game's world.

It's a look that's always appealed to me, most likely due to being a kid when this was the prominent method of realizing 3D worlds in games. But, I'd wager that it's more than blind nostalgia, as this focus on textures has stayed with me as being among the most effective ways to give sense of a world. I can feel its roughness against the virtual body as if it were a phantom sense.

Anyway, Pixwing is about shooting blimps and finding secrets around its fuzzy textured world while flying a bright red aeroplane.

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The Girl and the Robot

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The Legend of Hand

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