MODERN LOOK, RETRO FEEL
We're going to be completely honest here: We love retro games. Not in some "seven-year-old kid born in 2008 playing Super Mario Bros. for the first time" kinda' way, either. We lived retro games - cutting our teeth on NES, SNES, Genesis, Saturn, PS1, etc. - before those systems were "retro." Back when they were just video game systems.
Though we love retro video games, we recognize that re-creating every aspect of 1980s and 90s games isn't what we want to do. Meaning: the action platformers of the 1980s and early 1990s weren't designed to have "pixel art and chiptunes." Pixel art and chiptunes were simply the tools available to the developers at the time.
Instead of trying to re-create the audio/visual aesthetic of our beloved retro games, then, we're focusing on achieving the SPIRIT of classic games like Ninja Gaiden and Mega Man while using the modern tools of Wacom tablets and real musical instruments.
Thus, the philosophy of "MODERN LOOK, RETRO FEEL."
What does "retro feel" mean? For us, it's a design philosophy centered on easy-to-access but difficult-to-master gameplay. Neon the Ninja won't be an intimidating game to simply pick up and play, but it will require the player learning how to quickly use stealth abilities. All in due time, though. The game doesn't ask you to rely upon complex skills until you've encountered them in low-risk situations.
Retro feel means an emphasis on having fun and rewarding skillful play, rather than an emphasis on enduring long tutorials and collecting every irrelevant trinket in the level.
Retro feel means tight platforming, impactful combat, and over-the-top character.
Retro feel means fun.