X-Story Melds Animation, Adventure, and Video Game Aesthetics into a Powerful, Wordless Short

By  · Published on December 9th, 2016

Short of the Day

Stop what you’re doing, you have to see this.

Have you ever wished Metroid was an award-winning animated short? Of course you have, Metroid is awesome. While we might never get the Real McCoy, we’ve been given the next best thing courtesy of Vitaliy Shushko and his film X-Story, a 13-minute short that contains not one single word of dialogue but still manages to tell an engaging tale.

Made over the course of a couple years, X-Story takes place in a future that looks a helluva lot like Ghost in the Shell, Blade Runner, or The Fifth Element, that kind of megacityscape with architecture that mimics circuitry and where the only light sources seem to be fluorescent or neon. Our hero is a treasure hunter with one bionic, prosthetic arm who’s after an ancient technology via an old map that leads him out of the city and into a barren desert where he must navigate the corridors and rooms of a tower that holds the object of his search. But this isn’t just a hide-and-seek sort of story, there’s a big boss at the end who must be defeated if our hero is to be victorious. The animation is smooth and fluid, cell-style so vivid and playful, the music is straight out of Nintendo’s heyday, and the story, even without the aid of dialogue, is intriguing, captivating, unexpected, and even manages to “say” a few things about technological dependence, modern society, and the ramifications of the former dominating the latter

To put it briefly: you gotta watch this, preferably over and over (FYI, rated MATURE). Shushko is ridiculously talented, as his other work reiterates, so you’re better off getting on his bandwagon now, because his is a name you’ll definitely be hearing more of. Your weekend starts right here. Ready Player One?

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