Just a few weeks since I played and reviewed Arkedo Series: 02-Swap!, I find myself returning once again to the Arkedo Series, this time for the third game, 03-Pixel! And this time around thing couldn’t be any more different as the series goes from a block matching puzzle game to a side scrolling, critter squashing, platform game. It’s a shout back to the older platform games such as Mario and the old Sonic games. Like the other games in the Arkedo series, Pixel! is as simple yet fun to play as it could possibly be. Taking control of a pixelated cat, all the player needs to do is guide said feline through each of the games stages whilst avoiding hazards. These take the shape of various enemy creatures and a series of lethal drops and falls which must be traversed via a succession of platform hopping and the occasional leap of faith.
Much like the older games from which Pixel! takes its inspiration, things are kept simple when it comes to gameplay with the main controls being left, right and jump. There is also a sprint button that gives our pixelated kitty a little more speed which has more use throughout the game. There is also a special attack move which is charged up by killing a certain number of enemy critters, done so by jumping atop their heads if they have one, if not then jump on top of whatever they may have. The special “roar” attack is then unleashed with a single button push, eliminating any number of varmints patrolling in a row ahead of our heroic kitty. This is especially handy when it comes to eliminating bad guys who are impervious to your noggin hopping attack method, or large groups of enemies. As mentioned before, the goal is simply to get through each level of the game and any fan of old school platforming games will be right at home playing this.
That’s not to say that indie game developers Arkedo have not tried to add a little something else into the game to mix things up a little by throwing in some simple puzzle elements. The majority of these puzzles take the form of a mini game of sorts. Throughout the game you will discover chests and come across items which are blocking your path, an early example of which is a tree which needs to be felled before continuing on your way. Upon examining these chests and items, the players screen changes to a two dimensional maze made up of square tiles with a single path from your starting position to the end within a time limit. On completing this the chest you were examining is opened, replenishing your health. Or in the case of obstacles, such as the aforementioned tree, they are eliminated or altered in a way that you can now progress on through the game. What is slightly more taxing on the mind is when the game throw more cryptic like puzzles your way. Near the end of an early game level you find the exit blocked by a guard who requires a number password before allowing you to make your way to the exit. The only clue you are given is that the guard is fascinated with the players health. **Spoiler alert** your health is displayed on the left side of the screen through a series of hearts drawn in pixels and the number he is after is the number of pixels which makes up your health at the time of you talking to him. And so, if you remember fondly games of this type then Pixel! may be something you would be interested in.
The looks and presentation of the game are as simple as the gameplay itself and yet the game still has an entertaining and interesting look to it, keeping colours to a minimum, mostly white and differing shades of blue. Another point about the games’ looks is the fact that everything in the game, including our adventuresome cat, has been created using pixel like blocks, hence the name of the game. This graphical style gives the game a simplistic yet originally interesting look, meaning the game does not only play like a retro side scrolling game but expands on it with the looks and sounds. Combined these facts make this game ideal for those searching for some retro style gaming at an affordable price. Sure, it’s nothing that has not been seen before. However, if it’s some old school type gaming of the platform hopping kind that you are after, then Arkedo Series: 03-Pixel! is well worth checking out.