A Pixel Story (PlayStation 4) Review

By Thom Compton 19.02.2017

Review for A Pixel Story on PlayStation 4

A Pixel Story is a great example of how a video game can start off looking one way, and quickly turn into something else. Almost a thesis mixed with an epic journey, it explores the very genesis of gaming in a friendly and approachable format—at least visually. A Pixel Story isn't a gentleman; instead it intends to throw you into a malicious world, seeking to confuse and slaughter at every turn. It's also one of the best adventure games to come out in years.

As the earliest moments telegraph, you will be playing the very pixel everyone remembers from Pong. Right here, A Pixel Story manages to differentiate itself from other "games about games," as it aims to almost be a historical fiction. From here, players enter the System and are tasked with saving it. Unfortunately, moments after arriving, things get ugly. It's clear from the get-go that things in the System are not well, and you may be the only pixel who can save the world.

From the moment the game begins, it feels like it might just be another indie title, pixelated and forcing exploration of a dungeon. It's not what it seems, though, and shortly before entering the temple, things take an unexpected turn. A Pixel Story, at first feeling all too typical, quickly feels spontaneous and inventive. The early introduction of the cache power manages to whet the taste buds of even the most particular player.

Its brilliance is how organic everything feels. The controls feel tight, and every puzzle manages to be at home in its location. Again, the earliest puzzles are the most off-putting, but eventually come around. Now, these puzzles are not going to go easy. Much like the games it aims to emulate, A Pixel Story wants you dead, but doesn't come with the gloomy shadow of most incredibly difficult games. This is still a deep, breathing world that is fantastic to exist to.

Screenshot for A Pixel Story on PlayStation 4

It's a bit misleading to call it "incredibly difficult," as there does seem to be a minor issue with difficulty balancing. Being a Metroidvania of sorts, this can be somewhat expected, as you perhaps stumble across a section too early—and for many of them, the payoff isn't always on par with what you go through to get to it.

The pixel art could be some of the prettiest in a game today. The detail the artists went to is impressive, and there's a lot of very distinct environments. This isn't some quick experience, though a certain Gold Trophy would have you believe otherwise. There's a lot to explore here, and even more to do. One grievance against games that feature companions is that the companion is incredibly irritating or useless. While your companion, Search, has a tendency to not be incredibly helpful, or adversely not willing to leave you alone, he's genuinely charming. Occasionally, he's even downright funny.

A Pixel Story has some minor blemishes, but it's still one of the best indie games to come out on PS4. It's inventive, challenging, and incredibly charming. The blemishes are few, and while the first hour may seem like the same old song and dance, it is absolutely in any gamer's best interest to see this game through, because it's well beyond worth it.

Screenshot for A Pixel Story on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

A Pixel Story is as close to perfect as a game can get, but it falls a bit short. It highlights a lot of the issues other Metroidvania games have, and can feel like an aimless walk from time to time. Rest assured, though, every annoyance you stumble across will be paid back in kind, and with a game so fun and enticing, you may find yourself lost in the System, as well.

Developer

Lamplight Studios

Publisher

Rising Star Games

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

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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