Adventures of Pip (Xbox One) Review

By Albert Lichi 06.09.2015

Review for Adventures of Pip on Xbox One

Adventures of Pip began its humble life as a Kickstarter project developed by Tic Toc Games, an indie team made up of some fine talent who used to work for WayForward Technologies. The angle was simple: a retro style 2D platformer with a hero who could shift between single pixel to 8-bit and, ultimately, 16-bit forms. With each form having their unique gameplay properties, Pip the hero would embark on an age-old tale of rescuing a princess from an evil witch who has "derezzed" the king and queen, as well as laid waste to the kingdom. With about 66,000 dollars' worth of donations, is Tic Toc Games' opus all that it is cracked up to be? Read on for the answer in Cubed3's review of Adventures of Pip for Xbox One.

Adventures of Pip is pretty great. It is a polished and thoughtfully designed game that has simple and easy-to-understand mechanics that are gradually introduced over time. The eponymous hero, Pip, begins as a mere square pixel, with only the ability to jump and glide. As a single pixel he is also quite small and can fit into smaller crevices, and is light enough that he can be launched quite high when bouncing on rubbery mushrooms.

After a few stages, Pip will gain the ability to transform into an 8-bit humanoid with punching and Meat Boy-style wall jumping. Although he is a little heavier in 8-bit, which affects his launch on bounce pads and loses his gliding, he is faster and can jump further. Expect much of the game to utilise 8-bit Pip due to this form being the most versatile and since the best challenges come from mastering the wall jumping mechanics.

Screenshot for Adventures of Pip on Xbox One

The last form Pip gains is the 16-bit overhaul that comes with a sword. As 16-bit, Pip is too heavy to use bouncy pads and cannot wall jump, but with the sword he does have the power to smash through blocks, and he can purchase a power-up that gives him a Master Sword-like ability to fire a beam from his blade with his health full. It must be mentioned that Pip can only "de-rez" while holding down the shoulder button, and in order to shift to the 8- and 16-bit forms he must kill a specific enemy that roams the environment. Thankfully, these enemies are plentiful and are pretty much situated in every room in every level, so it is rarely an issue.

The boys at Tic Toc Games made a very pretty looking game that has some interesting takes on pixel animation, and can be best described as puppet-like movement, since these sprites do not animate the traditional way. It is not too much of a shock, however, since Adventures of Pip was built with Unity, which is an effective 3D game engine, so the fact the way the characters animate with an uncanny depth that is not seen in most 2D games is not too unexpected. This does ensure that this is a fluid experience, with no noticeable hiccups or stutters.

Screenshot for Adventures of Pip on Xbox One

Not only does it animate nicely, but it is gorgeously coloured, too, using every colour theory technique in the book. Nice big chunky sprites contrast with detailed renders that populate the kingdom, and even some of the Kickstarter backers make an appearance as villagers who can be saved. Some of the villagers are even helpful NPCs who can sell Pip upgrades, such as increased total health or even a block smash ability for 8-bit Pip.

Structured very similarly like the other indie hit from Yacht Club, Shovel Knight, Pip can explore a world map and easily replay levels for finding missing villagers, or to just grind for cash to get those handy upgrades. It is always nice to return to town and see it populated with new NPCs that were rescued and listening to what they have to say.

The level design in Adventures of Pip is fairly varied and runs just the right length. While it is not quite challenging, it is clear that this is a game aimed for younger gamers. Even the boss fights do not put up too much of a challenge, especially for those who like to grind and purchase the power-ups and upgrades. It must be mentioned, howeve,r that the purchases do go for quite a bit of money, and grinding can often feel like padding for what is already a reasonable length for a 2D side-scroller (about 5-6 hours depending on propensity for grinding).

Screenshot for Adventures of Pip on Xbox One

Adventures of Pip is a feel-good game that won't challenge, but is more like a massage session from an attractive cutie; do not expect to agonise over hard jumps or fast bosses with patterns to memorise - just chill and explore with the easy-to-kill enemies. Don't expect it to be completely without obstacles, like Fez, since this game does punish totally miscalculated jumps or deaths to previous checkpoints. A saving grace, though, is that Pip doesn't have re-rescue villagers.

Tic Toc Games has made a very polished platfomer with Adventures of Pip, and the Kickstarter backers got pretty much what they were promised. On the Xbox One Games Store, it goes for $14.99, which is a fair price. Just do not expect anything too deep with this title, since it is clearly aimed at children. What can be expected is a very polished, smooth and easy-going experience, with a very mild challenge. While it might be light on replayability and the vast upgrades basically serve as the means to lengthen the game's play time, as well as to bring people back for more, the core content found is well worth the cost. A special mention should be given to the unbelievably good music, which sounds every bit as good as something from a classic Final Fantasy-style RPG.

Screenshot for Adventures of Pip on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Adventures of Pip doesn't reach the heights of Shovel Knight, which endures thanks to its challenge, creative characters and inventive boss fights. While Tic Toc Games' title isn't boring, it is not a challenge, but it is memorable and highly polished, sporting some lush art that will make ocular orbs wriggle with excitement. Playing through the levels with little friction is gratifying, since the game is very responsive, and sound design is strong for feedback, inviting gamers to press on to the next level. Much like how Kirby games are never typically challenging, yet are genuinely fun to play, Adventures of Pip has all of its elements in the right place thanks to how tight the mechanics are and how clever the level design is. It would be interesting to see how well this would play on portable platforms like the 3DS or PlayStation Vita, but as digital downloads for Xbox One and PS4, this ranks up high as far as 2D platformers go.

Developer

Tic Toc Games

Publisher

Tic Toc Games

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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