Review: Adventures of Pip (PS4)

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Title: Adventures of Pip
Format: PlayStation Network Download (170.8 MB)
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Publisher: Tic Toc Games
Developer: Tic Toc Games
Original MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: E10+
Adventures of Pip is also available on Xbox One, Wii U, PC, OS X, and iOS.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Adventures of Pip is a story about a small kingdom of people made of pixels. The people with more pixels enjoy a better life, while lower-res people lead humble lives. On her sixteenth birthday, Princess Adeline has been kidnapped by an evil Queen DeRezzia who wants the princess’ power to create pixels (as only the princess has this power). The queen started stealing everyone’s pixels, reducing them to lower-resolution sprites. Pip, born as a single pixel, is the hero of the story who sets out to save the princess and the kingdom.

Gameplay:
The game itself is a 2D platformer that’s drawn in beautiful pixel art. The controls are very straightforward with one button to jump and another one to attack. As you get further into the game, Pip is able to take three distinct forms that have three different control schemes.

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Pip’s first form is a single red pixel. In this form, he can jump and float by holding down the jump button. When Pip hits a special blue enemy, he will get upgraded to his next form. In this second form, a slightly higher-resolution hero, Pip has arms and legs, so he can jump and punch as well as cling to walls and wall jump. In his final form, Pip is a thirty-two bit sprite that has a sword, but in this form he is much slower and loses the ability to wall jump.

The world itself is split into six different sections, each having eight stages (with the exception of the last level) and a boss fight at the end of each section. Throughout the various stages, there are simple enemies, most of which can be killed by jumping on top of them.

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When Pip is in pixel form he can jump higher and when he jumps on an enemy he is propelled higher into the air. You can revert to lower-resolution versions of Pip by holding either the Circle button or L2 and you’ll need to do this throughout the different levels to overcome different obstacles. For example, since pip’s pixel form is the smallest, sometimes you will need to revert to pixel form to get through tight spaces.

Other times, when you’re in Pip’s highest-resolution form you may come upon a place that you’ll need to wall jump. From this point, you will need to revert to Pip’s second form to be able to get through the wall jump section.

… a pretty cute story …
The levels are designed pretty well and are fairly generous with checkpoints. There were only a few times where I died and felt frustrated because there was a really tough platforming section and had to redo it several times. The great thing about the checkpoints is that they restore your health as well as save the pixels (currency) that you’ve accumulated up until that point.

Aside from the platforming there are villagers and townspeople that you can find and rescue throughout the different stages, three per stage. Some of these villagers are special, and once saved, will return to the town and open shops. Others will go back to the town when you return there to stock up on supplies.

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As far as the story goes, it’s nothing to write home about. Yes, it’s a pretty cute story but it doesn’t really add much to the overall game. I suppose not everyone cares for a lot of story in their platformers, so this is a personal preference.

Gameplay wise, the controls are pretty solid with a few exceptions. There are several water levels in the game and Pip’s different forms cause him to react differently to water. In his heaviest form, Pip sinks to the bottom and can only jump. When Pip is in his second form, he can swim and jump a bit out of the water. Finally, when Pip is a pixel, he can only float on the top of the water and jump. It was with the first two forms that I had trouble in the water in several spots.

When Pip touches the water there’s a slight pause when you enter or exit it. This pause causes trouble at spots and Pip will get kind of caught in that pause animation, which interrupts the action you’re trying to perform (i.e., jumping out onto a ledge or grabbing hold of the side of a wall). The water surface issue isn’t a game breaker though since it only gave me trouble a couple of times and there’s not many water levels.

… no New Game Plus or harder difficulties after completing …
There are many hidden areas throughout the game and you cannot see them. You kind of have to touch various walls and you’ll happen to find different hidden caves where the wall will turn translucent and you can move about in the hidden area. These are where many of the villagers and treasure chests are hiding so there’s lots of exploration involved as well as platforming.

Though the level designs are pretty well thought out, there were two places in particular where I got stuck. One part, there was no enemy or any way for me to die or move out of the area, so I ended up having to exit the level and start it over without saving.

I broke the blocks in the wrong order and the wind is pressing me to the ceiling with nowhere to go.

I broke the blocks in the wrong order and the wind is pressing me to the ceiling with nowhere to go.


The other section was one part where I got trapped and fortunately had an enemy there that I could let kill me so I could start at the previous checkpoint. These were kind of unavoidable, since I was always trying to explore to find villagers and chests.

I'm stuck here on the left and the only way to get out is to let myself die.

I’m stuck here on the left and the only way to get out is to let myself die.


Aside from the platforming and exploration, you will find villagers who open up shops. One shop sells power-ups and heart containers (to permanently increase your health meter), while the other one you find later in the game will sell different ability enhancers (such as a magnet to draw the pixels/currency to you).

As a whole, this game is very fun and a great platformer. Even with the small issues I had, they really didn’t break the game or prevent me from enjoying it. I was able to beat it, find every villager, buy every item, max out my health, and get all the Trophies in about thirteen hours.

Unfortunately, there is no New Game Plus or harder difficulties after completing the game, nor are there any leaderboards or online capability to try to compare stats with friends. This isn’t necessarily a big problem for me, but I thought it was worth a mention.

… The music is just fantastic …
Visuals:
The visuals in the game are great. Even though the art style is slightly retro-looking, it still has a very smooth and updated feel to it. This isn’t a pure pixel art game, so the characters can bend and move like a newer game (instead of fewer animations like older games).

The colors and environments are simply fantastic and they’ve got that parallax scrolling with about four or so layers in different areas (particularly the town and the first level).

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As far as framerate and performance, the game runs very smoothly. There were a few times though, with about ten or more enemies on the screen, the game did slow down a bit. I was quite surprised that the framerate would drop at all on this one since it doesn’t seem to be a graphically intense game. Overall though, this only happened to me once or twice so as a whole the game runs very well.

Audio:
Audio-wise, there is no voice acting or anything, but another great thing about this game is the soundtrack. The music is just fantastic and sounds great on my surround sound system.

… a bright and colorful game that is a joy to play …
Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single-player only with no online component.

Conclusion:
Overall, Adventures of Pip is a great game. The platforming is fun, the soundtrack is awesome, and it’s pretty challenging (but not impossible). Each level provides a lot to explore and you’ll be hunting for those villagers by trying to explore each and every crevice of the levels.

There were some minor problems with the framerate and two sections that had me stuck, but these small issues didn’t really detract from the overall experience. The game is relatively short but fulfilling, but doesn’t have a lot of replay value.

I would probably recommend this to people who want a solid platformer but don’t want to invest more than twenty hours into a game to complete it. This is probably really great for someone with kids, since it’s not hard, has no real violence, and is pretty tame. If the length and replayability are an issue for you, you might want to wait for a price drop, but the game is worth playing.

Adventures of Pip is a bright and colorful game that is a joy to play, and I highly recommend it.

Score:
8.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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  • Gruel

    Nice review man, I never heard of this game before, but it sounds right up my alley! I don’t own a PS4, but seeing it is on WiiU I think I may try it out there.

    • Jason Honaker

      Cool! And thanks 🙂 It’s a pretty good game, and I’m sure it’d play just as well on WiiU.