Steam Game Review: Life of Pixel (2014)

Posted by Retrokaiser On Thursday, November 13, 2014 0 comments

"Life of Pixel" is an retro inspired platformer game for the PC.  This game has you playing as Pixel the pixel who is feeling very sad and alone in this cold world where 3D rules the gaming scene.  While on a walk we see Pixel coming across a museum for old and defunct gaming consoles.  Pixel feels at home here and now his goal is to travel through the consoles of old from the "Atari 2600 (1977)" to the "Super Nintendo Entertainment System/ Super Family Computer (1990)" until he has beaten them all.  It's an adventure that Pixel is sure to remember as being some of his greatest days of all time but will it be yours also?  (Click "Read More" to read the full review).

The story in this game is very basic but in a good way to where they get right to the point and give you incentive to play just by watching the opening.  The idea behind the game itself is very brilliant and handled very well.  One thing that really surprised me about this game is they actually go full out and not only have the proper names to each console but this game gives you information about the consoles as well.  That's right, this game also has some educational value to it but unlike "Mario is Missing (1992)" and "Sonic Edusoft (1991/Unreleased)" you'll find that the educational part is left at the loading screen before you start a stage (info is depending on which stage you are on)  The other thing I like is that the educational parts were fun and you will learn a thing or two whether it'd be on the release date or info about the processor that the consoles use.  This game just doesn't stick to classic consoles but they also have stages based on classic home computer systems like the "Commodore 64 (1982)" and the "ZX Spectrum (1982)" plus there are some secret systems to unlock too.

Playing this game is very simple to where all you need to do is collect "Gems" that are scattered across the levels and once you've done that you go to the exit and thus you have completed a level.  These levels start off very simple and easy but the further you get you'll see the levels expand in size and difficulty.  The difficulty in this game is very fair and you won't find yourself suddenly thrown into a difficult section when you are not ready for it.  When this game does get hard you'll find yourself raging at how hard they can get but do not worry as while hard they are not unbeatable as you can beat them but it takes some time and practice, when you do beat those last stages you'll feel very great about yourself.

The level designs in this game are great, creative, easy to navigate though, and are really fun to explore.  If you have missed any gems and are worried about having to have to die so you can collect the ones you've missed because you fear that they become unreachable after reaching a certain point of a level (that was a mouthful), do not fear as most of the stages don't have that problem as the gems are reachable no matter what part of the stage you are at with the exception of some of the later harder stages.  There's also a decent amount of secret areas to be found in the game and these secret areas contains items that will help with your score and even vehicles you can ride.  All of the 8-bit stages contain a hidden pixel but these are a lot easier to get than the secret areas...  Actually they are very easy to get as they are often hidden in plain sight.  Once you collect a secret item you have it permanently and even when you die mid-stage you will not lose it at all and I am mixed on that as while I did like having the item even if I died mid-stage, I also would've liked it if the item resets until you beat the level with that said item.  Maybe this game needs a difficulty setting in a future update so we can have it both ways.

Controls in this game are very simple as you use the directional keys to move around and the space bar to jump and hitting the space bar twice will make you perform a double-jump.  The controls are very tight and responsive to where if you die it'll be all your fault.  I was fifty-fifty on controlling the vehicles as half of them controlled fine while the other half were very slow like I was controlling a tank.  This game is also friendly to traditional controllers so don't be afraid to plug one in and give it a go.

The graphics in this game changes depending on the levels you choose and they are as you expect with the Atari 2600 stages looking straight out of an Atari 2600 game and so on.  The graphics look really good and it is very fun looking at all of the different graphic styles.  They tried their best to make each graphic design look very authentic and they come pretty close with the only thing being odd is that the graphics are a bit too polished to where it has a bit (no pun intended) better picture quality than the actual systems but that doesn't ruin anything about this game at all.  If you are bothered by how clean this game looks you can go into the options and you can add a filter to the screen that can make the game look anything from "Black and White" to full of "Scan-lines".  Character designs are a bit generic looking but works well in a game like this where they are paying tribute to retro platformers.

The music in this game is very decent and is used appropriately to where you'll hear music that suits each console well.  The sound of the music is very authentic and sounds exactly like how it would sound if this game was released on "Game Boy (1989)", "Nintendo Entertainment System/ Family Computer (1983)", ETC.  Not every song sounded perfect though as there was a track here and there that sounded generic to where they were forgettable.

Overall this is a great game that is very fun and well put together.  I'm easily going to recommend that you check this game out and I'm guaranteeing that you will enjoy the hell out of this game.  I would also love to see this game ported to consoles but I have a feeling that some aspects of this game (like how they use the proper name of the systems) will be toned down and removed but alas I am glad to be playing this game in general.  A retro gamer's wet dream.

Game: Life of Pixel
System: PC
Developer/Publisher: Super Icon Ltd.
Genre: Platformer, Adventure, Neo-Retro, Educational
Price: $6.99 (Steam)
Recommended: Yes


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