50 Shades Of Black And White: Rogue Invader

Rogue Invader’s [official site] art style confounds my ability to form opinions. It’s described as “1-bit HD”, in that it has smooth animation, 3D models and physics, but they’re hidden behind rendering that only uses black and white pixels. Anything that appears grey is created by alternating black and white pixels such that they create the illusion of greyness. The results are occasionally dandy and occasionally like staring at the world’s highest resolution Game & Watch.

Beneath all that? A roguelike about arming and advancing a supersoldier in a shooty-bang fight against an alien planet. It’s due for release later this year, is on Greenlight now, and there’s a demo and trailer below.

As the name implies, Rogue Invader is being pitched as a roguelike, meaning you’ll die early and often in your attempts to fight back against an alien force. To stop all those deaths becoming too repetitive, the planet you’re invading is built using a mixture of pre-created and procedurally generated areas. There are also resources to find and collect, with which you can modify your guns, add perks to your soldier, and otherwise try to improve your strategy.

If any of this is appealing, there’s a demo from last month available to download.


  1. RedViv says:

    I approve of the use of Irish ladies with French given names in promotional materials.

    I also approve of maniacally throne-sitting capital A Alien ripoffs.

    • ensor says:

      And she’s a Fremen, to boot.

      • that_guy_strife says:

        A city dwelling one, perhaps, if you call those Fremen.

        I was all excited when I saw Arrakis, hoped it wasn’t because of the char gen … Oh well.

  2. mgardner says:

    This trailer really had me excited, until it got to the combat bits which look too platformish for my tastes. Up until then, I was picturing DoomRL on steroids. Sure looks pretty, just not for me… Let me crawl back into my cave where all my Roguelike toys are turn-based. Feel free to continue to evolve around me.

    • AL-97 says:

      Do you have free room in your cave? Because after reading the post/before watching the trailer I was thinking about DoomRL as well.

    • ensor says:

      Other than the Classic Mac look, the visual style and setting reminds me a lot of Sword of the Stars: The Pit, which is definitely a true RL, and not too far from a slicked-up DoomRL.

      • Spakkenkhrist says:

        and bastard hard, I completed it with the Liir (space dolphin) on easy but that was a hell of a slog.

    • DelrueOfDetroit says:

      For me my excitement waned once I saw the in-game animation. I can’t stand paper-doll animation. It just looks cheap and it has no character. Maybe once Cuphead comes out we might start seeing less of it but that is unlikely because budgets.

  3. SanguineAngel says:

    That trailer… it was a thing of beauty.

    I don’t have sound here so it was super handy for them to have that text. I think King Zeno is my fave

  4. wcq says:

    For future reference, the coloring technique used here is called “dithering”.

    Yes, I know I’m being a smartass.

    • Llewyn says:

      I was considering posting that but I spent too long thinking about it.

    • kalirion says:

      After zooming in on a screenshot, it does seem like there are two non-dithered shades of gray, in addition to black & white, so I’d say this is 2bit graphics.

  5. GallonOfAlan says:

    The look it is aiming for appears to be ‘classic Macintosh’, i.e. Mac Plus, Mac II and so on. Before they had colour monitors.

  6. Angstsmurf says:

    Yeah, it is upsetting when kids these days don’t recognize the classic Macintosh graphic style.

    • rocketman71 says:

      And it’s not 1-bit, since there are grey pixels. 4-bit perhaps.

      • rocketman71 says:

        Damn login, this was a reply to GallonOfAlan’s post

      • infovore says:

        wot no Atkinson Dithering :(

      • mathead says:

        I don’t think it’s grey pixels. It’s a alternance of black and white giving the illusion of grey.

      • Jekhar says:

        Watch the video at full resolution, there are only black and white pixels. Any grey areas are a result of downsampling.

      • Janichsan says:

        Any grey is just caused by compression or scaling of the screenshots/recordings. The original game images really are only dithered black and white.

  7. mathead says:

    Whish I’d had a game like this 20 years ago on my 1bit 8MHZ 4MB Mac Plus.

    • Harrington says:

      4MB? You had a fancy one.

      • mathead says:

        4 MB was the most you could cram into these things. Luxury ^^

    • SquishyGames says:

      This was one of the main reasons we wanted to make Rogue Invader. (Singular voice change) I used to imagine the types of games I wanted to play on my Mac SE when I was a kid. All I had was HyperCard and an animation program called Video Works 2. Made plenty of unfinished ideas with those programs. But now I can finally make some of those ideas a reality, with a TON of modern mechanics we’ve learned over 20 years of gaming ;) Thank you for your comments, and your attention.

      • mathead says:

        Great. I remember spending hours scanning shareware CDs and stores for obscure games that would get more out of the Plus than the average gaming experience. The most amazing I found to this day still remains “The Colony” by David Alan Smith, a single-handedly created vector 3D Sci-Fi adventure FPS that has strangely vanished from public memory.

        Looking forward to giving Rogue Invader a go.

  8. Riaktion says:

    It’s tone reminded me of Helldivers, seems interesting anyways.

  9. Pantalaimon says:

    Based purely on the trailer this game sure has some style to it. Battle-toads esque sidescrollers are not usually my thing because I’m terrible at them, but the roguelike-like element is definitely a draw.

  10. Wulfram says:

    I don’t really get why they chose this aesthetic for this game

  11. Kefren says:

    Reminds me of Rogue Trooper.
    link to ready64.it

  12. aircool says:

    That greyscale stippling reminds me of the strange looking, 1bit pop-in textures and shadows in Witcher 3.

  13. camdenbuzard says:

    I had to log in to reply to you, you’re really on fire today.

  14. MrBehemoth says:

    I hope Lucas Pope beats them to the finish line with Return of the Obra Dinn link to rockpapershotgun.com Only because the visual style makes more sense for a seafaring mystery adventure, and it would suck for Obra Dinn to become the game wot looks like Rogue Invader.

    • SquishyGames says:

      Lucas Pope’s Obra Dinn is already an excellent piece of work. We reached out to him to let him know how much his style inspired ours. It is not a race to complete a 1-Bit style game. It is only about making quality and stylized games. We are really grateful for the comparison, and are aiming to make our game with the same quality he makes his.

      • MrBehemoth says:

        Ohai. :) I totally respect that. I didn’t mean to imply anything untoward, only commenting on how people might perceive it. …But then I suppose it works both ways (case in point). Personally, Obra Dunn is more my cup of tea, so that’s what I thought of, but I appreciate that the two games are very different and both original. Anyway, I do like your art style and I wish you all the best with the game!

  15. Pizzacheeks McFroogleburgher says:

    Hmmm.. The’ve obv got some skills with the cut scenes but the game itself looks like a mashup of speccy RoboCop and Exolon with the scenery removed..

  16. SquishyGames says:

    We really appreciate the support, and love all the comments we’ve read. If you’ve got more feedback, send us an e-mail or tweet. We look forward to hearing from you.

  17. SquishyGames says:

    Update: We just found out that we have been Greenlit! We wanted to thank all of you for your comments and support getting us this far. We want to give you a great game that is deserving of all the attention you gave us. Thank you again. Please feel free to e-mail or tweet us. You all are FRAKKIN AWESOME!

  18. SquishyGames says:

    Hopefully this catches someone’s attention:

    We launched on Kickstarter today. We’re aiming for a November launch, and the Kickstarter is primarily focused on making sure the music in the game is amazing. We’ve teamed up with a Hollywood composer to provide the soundtrack, and you benefit by getting preview access to the game.

    Kickstarter page: link to kickstarter.com

    @Graham Smith: We’ve also developed a press demo of the game that is suitable for preview articles, if you’re interested.