Review: A Pixel Story (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: A Pixel Story
Format: PSN (359.6 MB)
Release Date: February 24, 2017
Publisher: Rising Star Games
Developer: Lamplight Studios
Original MSRP: $11.99 (US), €10.99 (EU), £8.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E
PEGI: 3
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
A Pixel Story is a combination of elements that should work together for a fantastic trip down memory lane. It has a gradually evolving graphical style that literally begins with Pong and visits generational visual staples in platforming graphics along the way.

On the forefront this is a platformer that relies on controlled jumps and physics puzzles. Controlling your inertia is trickier than it sounds, and even early on in the game I found myself repeating puzzles multiple times in order to achieve a very minor goal.

It was almost rage-quit inducing, but I didn’t want to give up on it, so I pushed forward. What I found was a rewarding little game that really doesn’t fully realize its nostalgic approach, but still manages to entertain if you have the patience to understand its very different take on puzzles and challenges.

Another unique component is the teleport hat which allows you to throw it and teleport to its location. I thought the jumping puzzles were challenging on their own but this little hat added a another layer of complexity to test my skills.

One thing the game has going for it is that it’s not a completely linear affair. You gain quests from certain characters and even return to previously visited areas in order to unlock blocked doorways. This makes for a deeper experience than the traditional left to right platformer.

… a really unique take on nostalgia …
I did find the save system to be a bit frustrating, though. The game does autosave, and after having completed a complex puzzle, I quit the game. When I returned to play I found myself located pretty far back from where I left off. Fortunately, the puzzle had been completed, but I had to track quite a ways to return to where I had left off.

Similarly, there are complicated puzzles with checkpoints that, if you fail, brutally return you to a few steps prior. This causes you to repeat difficult challenges multiple times only to reach the moment that caused you to fail in the first place.

I realize that this is a minor gripe, especially seeing as how I grew up with games that would give you “Game Over” full restarts after playing the game for hours, but I thought I should mention this if you have a low tolerance for repeating difficult challenges over and over.

Visuals:
This is a really unique take on nostalgia. I love that our hero starts this story literally as a piece in Pong! Over time the game moves from 16-bit style graphics to something more akin to Rayman.

I’ve seen this technique used on a game before (Evoland on smartphones does it with the adventure genre, but that makes Pixel Story no less spectacular for this take on visuals.

… an engaging challenge for those who love inertia-centric platforming …
Audio:
Some catchy tunes accompany you on your journey and traditional effects echo the visuals, particularly as they evoke the retro aspect of the game. While the sound design doesn’t do anything unique, you’d be hard-pressed not to hum the tunes after you’ve stopped playing.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

Conclusion:
I’m not going to tout A Pixel Story as a great game. There is an engaging challenge for those who love inertia-centric platforming and edge of your seat intense moments that could easily end in frustration should you fail.

There certainly is a crowd that enjoys and endures that type of challenge with a blissful smile. For everyone else, I simply give that warning because this is an awesome little game, just temper your expectations to see it through to conclusion if you are faint of heart.

Score:
7.5

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

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