Today, indie game developer The Beauty Cult revealed its upcoming title Nectarmancer. Described as a gardenvania, the game is a cross-pollination of high combat 2D platformer and cozy-core gardening sim. Those are two genres you don’t see together very often! Play as the newest conscripted Nectarmancer, Aisa, in a world dominated by a fascist theocracy that has to be destroyed.
The life of a Nectarmancer is expected to be short, so Aisa struggles to survive; she does so by finding unique uses for otherworldly flora and outsmarting her job. She collects seeds and plants gardens, harvesting plants to restore health, gain weapons, and unleash powerful abilities. There’s a share root system that acts as a planet-scale computer that researches new combat abilities. As she explores, Aisa learns the truth about The Throne and has to use her skills to fight back against the evil government without attracting them to her.
Players must master acrobatic combat platforming while exploring hand-crafted science-fantasy world levels filled with strange creatures and gorgeous landscapes, all presented in naturepunk pixel art (whatever that means). There is a wide variety of seeds to plant, grow, pollinate, and harvest. The Pale Spirit Bosses hold the key to unlocking new nectarmancy. Research upgrades and abilities by growing the planet-scale biological computer, which can also be used to organise the labour of the people of the world.
“We’re very specifically making a gardening game, and very specifically not making a farming game,” says The Beauty Cult co-founder Don Bellenger in a press release. “To me, the plant breeding aspects are just incredible. It’s like Borderlands, but you can breed your weapons.”
“The unique visual style comes from this desire to elevate pixel art away from nostalgia and celebrate environment design animation and detail from just about every resolution a sprite could have,” co-founder and pixel artist Zac Bolubasz (Sneb) says in the same press release. “That and I’m deeply inspired by the artwork of Sergio Toppi and Jean Giraud, the way they play with value and form is incredible and I’m constantly trying to distill the sort of strangeness that they’ve mastered into my own work.”
Developed and published by The Beauty Cult, Nectarmancer will be released for PC via Steam, where it can be wishlisted now. There is no announced release date.