When graphic designer Jon Caplin found himself with time on his hands while recovering from a broken jaw, he began work on a personal art-design project that drew from his memories of playing the classic god game Populous. What began as a simple hobby project arrives today as a full, completed game. Titled “Reprisal,” the finished product features one of the most gorgeous presentations of pixel art I’ve seen and is free to play in-browser.
Reprisal has its roots in the classic 1989 game Populous, by Bullfrog. Remembering his time with the game, Caplin says, “playing Populous, I realized the power of capturing someone’s attention making them lose hours of their lives playing games. I fell in love with those little pixel guys!” With Reprisal, he hopes to capture that same feeling and “re-introduce gamers to the original, simplistic genius of the early ‘god’ games.”
I would certainly say he has achieved that goal. The art of Reprisal is presented as a tilt-shift view of a tiny pixel world, providing the player with a sensation of looming over that in-game realm as if they were a deity. Over a campaign of 30 island levels, players must direct a tribe of followers as they collect scattered totems and rid the land of competing tribes. Collecting totems allows for the player to use elemental powers to aid their people, such as the ability to raise and lower land or to call forth natural disasters like volcanoes or tsunamis. All the while, the leaders of the other tribes will be doing the same against you.
Beyond the graphical presentation, Revival also boasts a full soundtrack of eight fantastic chiptunes by Eric Skiff. These tunes really add to the nostalgic aesthetic of the game while never distracting the player from the gameplay itself. I highly encourage this game not only for its old-school gameplay in homage to the god games of yore, but also for the fantastic audio-visual presentation – I would love to see a screensaver of the AI simply playing against itself in a full-screen world. Be sure to head on over to Reprisal Universe and check it out.