Bulkypix brings the charming pixel cat to the iPhone.
When Pixel came to the Xbox Live indie arcade, it stole away many a gamer’s heart with it’s bright and shiny pixel graphics, catchy 8-bit music, and solid side-scrolling action. The game was unexpectedly popular, and remains to be one of the most polished and charming indie titles on the XBLA. When I heard Pixel was coming to the App Store, I felt a warmth in the 8-bit cockles of my heart. After playing the iPhone version on the iPad at E3, that warmth grew. Now that the full game has been out for a week or so, how does it stack up?
The short answer? Pix’n Love Rush brings all the beautiful 8-bit goodness from the original game, and even kicks it up a notch. Rather than a level-based “story mode”, it introduces a fast-paced 5 min “mini-level” mode that has you traveling from one short platforming level to the next. In these levels, your goal is to collect as many “+” icons as you can to gain points. As you collect them, as well as destroy bat enemies, your multiplayer icon fills up. When you fill up your multiplayer, the entire visuals in the game change, and you get more points for each “+” you collect.
In infinite mode, you continually play through levels until you die from losing all of your heart at the top left of the screen.. Essentially, for each enemy you hit, or pit you fall into, your multiplier kicks down a level. If you were x10 and get hit, you get bumped down to x5, and so on. Every time you hit a bat or fall off the level you lose a piece of your heart. You have a generous amount of lives, but things can get pretty crazy pretty fast.
The glossy 8-bit visuals in Pix’n Love are absolutely gorgeous. As I mentioned in my iPad experience with the game, it scales beautifully to the iPad without any iPad assets. That shows just how good this game looks. There is a different digital “skin” for each multiplier level you reach, with the final skin in 5-mode looking like something from Super Mario Land for the original Gameboy, and another skin resembling a Virtual Boy game. The digital style of both the XBLA and iPhone version of the Pixel games should be applauded, and breaths a breath of fresh air into the overdone “new” versions of old 8-bit games. (Even though Pixel is not based on an older version of the game.)
Along with visual changes, the music in Pix’n Love also changes for each multiplier level you reach. I can’t rave enough about the music in this game. If these songs were extended and added a game soundtrack album, I would buy it without second thought. There is different music for each multiplier level in 5 minute mode and infinite mode, as well as completely different visual skins. Things get especially intense once you reach the x10 multiplier level in infinite mode, which features an awesome green radar effect.
While I can appreciate the desire to feature quickplay modes on a mobile device, my only disappointment with Pix’n Love is the complete lack of a normal story mode like the one contained in the original Pixel game. I would have liked to at least see a port of the XBLA version, if not a new adventure. Packaging a story mode along with the two current modes of play would have probably garnered a perfect score for this game, as I can’t think of anything else that I don’t absolutely love. Some folks will eventually get bored of the fast-paced gameplay modes, and I feel they would have served better as a supplement to a normal platforming adventure mode, rather than on their own.
That said, Pix’n Love Rush is well worth it’s $1 (US) asking price. At E3, Bulkypix mentioned they are considering adding new modes of play to the game based off how well the current version is accepted by consumers, and I am really hoping they do. To be honest, with a full story mode and an extra quickplay mode or two, Pix’n Love would be well worthy of a premium price, and is the kind of game I love to show off to my friends. Right now, it’s definitely a must-have for any device, and will leave an 8-bit smile on your face.