The upcoming College Ruled Universe combines three things I love; hand-drawn art, side-scrolling space shooters and 2D platforming adventures.
Due in December for PC and Mac, Arachnid Games' genre-bender is inspired by the sorts of doodles you scribbled along the edges of your classroom notes, assuming that you had the artistic ability of the game's creator, Leo Dasso, which you probably didn't. No matter, he's got you covered, as College Ruled Universe features some truly astounding hand-drawn ballpoint pen artwork.
The game puts players in the role of a doodle named Doodle. The bulk of the game is based around Gradius-style side-scrolling shooting, but when you arrive at new planets you can exit your craft and run around otherworldly towns collecting ship parts.
Your craft contains four customisable slots, so you can try various combinations of equipment. Different wings can boost your ship's speed, combo gauge, or HP, while various noses grant unique special attacks and the remaining two weapon mounts can be grafted with any combination of swords, shields and guns. Maybe you'll want a sword and shield for one mission then double up on guns for the next.
It's a bit like a 2D Kingdom Hearts then, only with less Disney characters and Haley Joel Osment.
It's got an amusing story that ties the whole aesthetic together, too. According to the developer, "In the realms of notebook paper, creativity is hunted down like an infection. The ordered societies of logic: Geometry, Algebra, Grammar, Physics, and Anatomy wage war on the creative spurts that have settled on their pages, and they are winning. But every idea starts small, and even the smallest spark can start a raging inferno."
Check out the new trailer for it below and see if it's the sort of thing that you'd like to see on Steam. There's even a demo available on Newgrounds, granted it's from back in March and the game seems to have come a long way since then.