By Dalton McClain / March 29th, 2017
A Pixel Story is a 2D puzzle/platforming game where you follow the main character through the evolution of gaming. As you go through the various stages trying to find a way to liberate the system from the Operator, things slowly begin to change and shift. So did this game evolve into something good, or did it fall flat trying? Let’s dive right in, shall we?
The first thing you’ll notice about the game is that the design is stunning, and perfectly accomplishes what it’s trying to do. The game starts out fairly pixelated, but as you go through the game both the visuals and music begin to evolve in an effort to better reflect the generation. The game is split across four generations, each with their own particular look and feel. Personally, I’ve only seen a few games attempt to do this, and this game ranks at the top of that list. It’s done so magnificently that you really do feel a sense of progress as you go through this game.
Not only does the design change, but the mechanics evolve and change with each new generation. You can go from basic platforming and dodging projectiles in generation 1, to solving time and momentum puzzles in generation 2. However, this is also where the problems with the game lie. Instead of a progressive difficulty curve like in most games, there seem to be random spikes in difficulty. This game can get frustratingly hard at certain points, which doesn’t help the fact that this game is already immensely difficult. I see what they were going for here because a lot of older games are really difficult, but the fact that there are sudden spikes at certain points makes the game feel impossible at times.
On a more positive note, my favorite part of the game is the humor and references that it makes. Throughout the game, you are bombarded with classic video game tropes and pop culture references, including a beautiful chiptune rendition of “What is Love” by Haddaway. A lot of the jokes in the game are very meta, which a huge delight to fans of that particular type of comedy, like myself. The levels of charm in this game are through the roof, and it’s clear that a lot of love went into designing the world and the way things work. The comedy is solid and some of the references are so on the nose that you can’t help but enjoy them.
Overall, A Pixel Story has a great story and design, it’s just far too difficult to recommend to everybody. This game would’ve done really well with a difficulty system, or at least a more gradual learning curve. If you’re into really tough games that require a lot of precision, but also offer a lot in terms of reward and humor, then this game is for you. A Pixel Story is about $11.99 right now on PS4, XBox One, and Steam, and gives you a lot of content. I definitely recommend picking this one up if you’re a fan of old school tough-as-nails video games.
a pixel storychannel 4lamplight studios