A trip down memory lane? Well, not exactly, but A Pixel Story does take you for a ride through different generations of Pixelation. I got the chance to review this game, and I took it without hesitation. I enjoy a good platformer, and A Pixel Story promised to deliver this with its own twist.
A Pixel Story is a platformer with some unique mechanics. The game is set in a Computer System and you start off in Generation 1 as a 8-bit Pixelated program. That is how the characters in the game are called, programs, and they all live in the System which has been corrupted by an evil Operator. Only you, the chosen one, can save the System from the corruption, but be wary of firewalls and viruses as they try to stop you in your quest!
The story starts out as a game of Pong, and it turns out that you are the ball. As the System gets corrupted you end up stranded on a beach and transform into the program with a body. You are then greeted by Search, the helping droid that gives you your first quest. You have to fetch a Seagull that stole the magic Hat. This Hat is the tool that will help you save the System and beat the evil Operator.
The game in its core is a simple 2D Puzzle-Platformer which offers a wide variety of medium to hard puzzles (mainly jumping/maneuvering) to overcome, and it is split up into worlds or, as it’s called, Generations. Your character changes appearance as he moves through different Generations, a really cool feature as it shows the evolution in gaming history by pixels and sound. The game adds to this with a main story quest arching over all the worlds including different side quests in every level.
You can navigate through the levels of a Generation by way of an easy-to-use map. Once you have reached a checkpoint, you can even fast travel between them in the same level, making it easier to complete side quests you might have missed in the process. The game also offers the player a hub from which he can easily travel through all the Generations and “Challenge Rooms.” This Hub is called the Bedroom, and by accessing a computer you can travel around the System to different Generations.
Once you finish on the first world, you will take possession of the magical hat. This hat will help you navigate the different difficult puzzles. Trying to solve the problems that A Pixel Story throws at you is no easy task as many of them will require timely button pressing and make you take your time, thinking things through to get past them. If you’re unable to jump a gap in a single jump, for example, you can leave your hat at the height of the jump and warp to it as you start a second jump, effectively using it as a new starting point.
The main story will give you a solid 8 to 10 hours of gameplay, but the game gives you more in the way of replayability. A Pixel Story has added special Challenge Rooms of sorts throughout the game, and these Challenge Rooms offer the player with a high difficulty puzzle. Upon completion, the player is rewarded with coins and gems which increase your memory and unlock lore. These Challenge Rooms have to be unlocked with coins and every room has a different price to unlock. Once unlocked, you can travel to it any time to try and complete the Puzzle.
The Puzzles throughout the game can become challenging to the point where you want to shut off your console, especially in the special Challenge Rooms. Expect to die a lot and to rethink your strategy when it comes to beating the different puzzles. During certain points in the game, you might find some areas inaccessible, but they can be reached later in the game when you unlock different world changing tools.
Graphics and Sound
The graphics and Sound for A Pixel Story are really well done, and of course we can’t speak of eye-candy like graphics but the game does do well in the sense that it takes you through all different pixel states and its accompanying music. A really cool feature in the game, and one that surely will please the player, is that everything is neatly worked out and polished. The music works well in different situations like difficult to overcome puzzle “dungeons.”
A Pixel Story has surely entertained me, however the story in itself is basic and not really original. You are a chosen character that has to save the world from an evil being. The game adds a lot of funny references to games and movies that make it entertaining to go through and actually read the dialogue. Besides the main story, the addition of side quests give you something extra to do while you try and clear a level. As an added bonus, you get to complete puzzle “dungeons” of high difficulty to earn gems and unlock more lore. The game can be a tad frustrating at times when you are attempting to complete a puzzle for the 10th time, but of course this depends on the player.
A Pixel Story will release on Xbox One and PS4 on the 23rd of February. The game is already available on the PC via the steam store. We reviewed the Xbox One version of the game. Check out the video below to see A Pixel Story in action.
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