Here we have a Platforming puzzler, where the aim is to save the universe from the looming threat, avoiding death and traps to navigate puzzles. A game that follows some classic gaming traditions as you’ll see in this A Pixel Story review below.
You star as a red cap, blue dungaree wearing jumping hero, who isn’t that Nintendo mascot you may have heard of, but this is A Pixel story just the sincerest form of flattery, or is there more to this platforming game than meets the eye?
I feel a transformers reference in there some where! Anyway, check out my thoughts on this decent game below. Don’t forget to drop me a comment at the end of the article with your thoughts on this one.
The Red Cap
You start off as a character whose hands aren’t attached to any obvious limb, a yellow scarf and blue dungaree. And soon enough, after an altercation between yourself and a bird, you end up with a red cap that becomes pivotal to the gameplay.
The cap is equal part plot device, and mechanic, which is clever for sure. How it works is simple, the cap is an extension of your being, and the transport through which you will complete the games puzzles.
You take the cap off with one button, return it to your head with another, or teleport to it with a the button with which you take it off.
Add to this switches, moving platforms and a variety of spikes, projectiles and instant-kill floorings and you have the a-typical indie platformer.
It is here that my currently tolerant attitude crumbles, unfortunately for all its abundance of charm and character. A Pixel Story falls into a lot of the same design tropes of its counterparts, whilst missing out on the individuality of such big names as Limbo, Super meat boy and Inside.
Going Up A Level
The levels, whilst challenging soon feel like simple repetitions of a tired formula. The pacing is awkward at best, with many of the game’s best moments being dialogue that nods at the design of areas or the amount of deadly traps.
In fact, the only reason I stuck with the game was to see what fourth walls breaks it would afford. However even these moments of smile inducing humour were comic relief in a game that couldn’t seem to decide what it was trying to achieve.
I found a pixel story very frustrating even after a short time with the game. This was not because of the ‘difficult’ puzzles however. These are actually really well put together overall, with one of my favourites seeing you teleporting in a ‘one step back, two steps forward’ way. This puzzle however was a hidden, optional puzzle, and like many like in this game, was better than the core puzzles you are required to do to progress.
But back to my frustrations! My biggest issue in this game, is that it tries to cater to too many audiences, whilst not really doing anything new. Seeing your character die in order to learn about a puzzle is nothing new, super meat boy does this, in a fast and fun way. But the pacing being so slow in A Pixel Story, followed by all the repetition of dying to learn sections of the puzzles, make them tedious, rather than fun.
Which as I noted earlier in this article, is a real shame as otherwise this is a game and concept with a lot of potential.
If you are going to do a platformer, it has to be good and find a consistent level, with almost all of its levels being mandatory, and short cuts for the speed runners. Or it has to be punishingly hard, with few levels and no shortcuts, it should not attempt both of these things unless it is an awesome platformer.
Unfortunately A Pixel Story never really gets going in any direction and becomes quite frustrating at times. This may not bother some of you out there who really like puzzles, but for the casual gamer it’s not the best execution.
But the developers have some really good ideas and concepts which if taken out of this game into a more fun package, they could really get something special together in the future. Check out my scores below and drop me your thoughts in the comments too.
About This A Pixel Story Review
Game Reviewed: A Pixel Story Digital Download Provided By Publisher.
Review Format: Xbox One
PEGI Rating: 7