Adventures of Pip PAX South Preview
Kalvin Martinez / Feb 5th, 2015 No Comments
Many current titles try to evoke a feel and spirit of games from prior console generations, but the nostalgic approach doesn’t always work. A simple retro sheen is not enough if the game fails to innovate or use the classic style in a unique way.
Adventures of Pip manages to avoid that pitfall. While it is reminiscent of older games and provokes a feeling of nostalgia, the game quickly differentiates itself from its influences.
The Brave and the 8-Bit
There is a legend common among both the elite class and working class in Pixel Kingdom. It is a legend of a princess able to create pixels out of thin air, and legend has come true with the birth of Princess Adeline.. This power is said to be able to save Pixel Kingdom from eminent doom in their darkest period.
This created a fear among the kingdom because they knew the Skeleton Queen, Lenore, would come for Princess Adeline once she heard of her mythical power. Lenore, ruler of the underworld, has the power to absorb pixels and a fierce army of the dead.
Lenore made her move against Adeline on the princess’ 16th birthday, kidnapping her and absorbing the pixels in the kingdom destroying everything around her.
While everyone else in the kingdom was too afraid to do anything about Lenore’s malicious action, one lone citizen would prove brave enough to stand against her. A mere pixel with limited mobility named Pip is the one with enough courage and boldness to put a stop to the evil queen.
Keep it Bouncing
At PAX South, we were able to play in two different areas of the game. At the beginning, Pip is limited to his box pixel form. He is only able to jump, and holding down the jump button allows him to bounce a bit higher. This is an important habit to pick up as it allows you to reach certain areas. In order to have your best chance to pass levels, you will want to keep bouncing continuously.
After rushing out of the town, Pip runs into a statue of a long dead knight. He recognizes Pip’s uncommon bravery and grants him the power of the bitstream. This power allows Pip to evolve by attacking glowing enemies and taking their pixels. Pip can now become an 8-bit human boy, and gaining more pixels, he can evolve into a 32-bit form.
Each form comes with its own unique abilities, and Pip will need to utilize each form to save Pixel Kingdom. As a mere pixel, Pip is able to get through small spaces his more evolved forms cannot. In 8-bit form, Pip is more agile. Pip’s most advanced form can attack and move objects, but loses his agility and ability to wall jump.
Pip can devolve at will, and this will let out a blue blast, which is necessary to get past certain obstacles. During our playthrough, Pip needed to use different abilities in conjunction with the blast. It becomes an act of timing to execute properly.
The forest and village areas worked to acclimate players to the basic platforming and evolving mechanics in the game. In the forest, we came across a few enemies, such as rotating canons, and contended with moving platforms, but this is standard platformer fare. However, things got real when we reached the temple area.
The first part of the dungeon essentially teaches players how to use Pip’s different abilities. After clearing the area, Pip reaches an area where he must use his devolve blast. You’d think it will get easier from here, but in a delicious developer troll move, you fall into a huge pit.
This pit area is a mad dash against time as stone blocks move through. Avoiding these deadly stones is not the easiest task because Pip needs to use his various forms in a number of fashions to avoid obstacles. Certain spots require Pip to devolve into a single pixel to get through tight spaces, and enemies that need to be taken down by performing wall jumps and use speed. The final bit requires gamers to perform a perfect transition of “Agile” to “Attack” Pip. Players will need to maintain speed through blocks and evolve to get past pillars that can only be destroyed by a sword attack.
During the demo, we gathered some golden pixels from chests, killed enemies and rescued villagers. It didn’t mean much in the demo, but it will matter in the final game. Both the golden pixels and villagers will be valuable to Pip as he helps rebuild the town. The golden pixels act as currency, allowing Pip to rebuild shops and improve attacks.
The Tenacity of a Pixel
Adventures of Pip proves you cannot keep a clever concept down. After an initial Kickstarter failure, TicToc Games re-tooled and gave a second go at the plucky little pixel. The developer’s second campaign was much more successful.
It is a good thing Adventures of Pip achieved its funding goal because the game seems highly promising. Platforming feels great with tight controls, and Pip’s unique abilities provide a wealth of challenging gameplay opportunities. If a lone pixel can save a kingdom and a talented developer can find a way to resonate with the people, it just might need a second try.
Adventures of Pip is targeting a February early access release on Steam with a full launch on PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Wii U set for May.
tags: Adventures of Pip , mac , pc , preview , ps4 , TicToc Games , wii-u , xbox one