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Do you miss The Legend Of Zelda, Super Mario World and the old games at the Arcade? Well, in an age of hyperrealistic 3D graphics, pixel art is (almost) inexplicably back. Here's our top picks when it comes to software tools to create your new retro game.
20 Aug 2018
With the rise of mobile games, pixel art found a new way back into the gaming market, being particularly suitable for small screens and reaching a target of casual gamers not interested in ground-breaking graphics.
Here is a small compilation of the best pixel art tools we found, from the most expensive to the cheapest:
Pro Motion ($39)
Pro Motion is probably one of the most complete tools for pixel art game animation in the market.
Specifically designed for retro-looking games, it includes plenty of useful features, such as interchangeable color palettes, pixel transparency, onion-skinning and tiling.
Its interface is rather intuitive, suitable for beginners as well as for experienced animators moving their first steps in the pixel art realm.
It comes at just $39, which is quite a value price if you are designing a game with that retro vibe!
One more for pixel art, Pickle is a great software for tiling, also packed with animation features.
For a tiny price, it has all the tools you might need to create 2D pixel landscapes and levels, with tile mapping, mirrored drawing, rotate and flip tools and so on.
Its animation tools include sprite sheets import and onion skinning.
It’s so easy to use that its user manual is literally a one-pager.
Pickle 2.0 is available at just $24.
Often described as the best tool for pixel art games, Aseprite comes with a great selection of tools including onion-skinning, palette presets, pixel-perfect mode and symmetric drawing.
Many users find that the core strength of this software is its incredible ease of use. While documentation and support is easily accessible, it’s almost never necessary. The interface is pixel-art itself which is a good pro on the aesthetic side, apart from being one of the simplest around.
You can get Aseprtite for just $14. A free version with some limitations is also available.
Pyxel Edit ($9)
Pyxel is a tiling editor for pixel art games that costs less than a tenner.
Yes, you got that right, and it also comes packed with any tool for tiling that you could wish for: it can extract a tileset from a flat image, edit animated tiles with onion skinning, import and export sprites and it is the cheapest pixel-art software you will find.
It only costs $9, get it here!
Piskel (Free + Online)
This one surprised us when we found it.
Piskel is a free online tool for pixel art animation.
Hard to believe, it comes with all of the basic tools such software should have, and it works on any web browser.
Realistically, you could hardly animate a whole game with Piskel, but it might be useful to make some tests and previews while on the go or on a device with no other software installed.
+1 because its name sounds funny.