Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Review Update: Life of Pixel

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LifeofPixel33

Life of Pixel has come a long way since we last reviewed it almost a year and a half ago on the Playstation Mobile platform.  At the time developer Super Icon was self-publishing on Sony’s open platform and what they created was a gem of a title at just around a dollar.  You can read my previous review if you’re interested but suffice to say that despite the Playstation Mobile platform being dead, the game lives on in all its glory on the Vita (although you cannot search for it, you must browse the Playstation Mobile tab in the Vita store).  After a few attempts to expand the license and platform, Life of Pixel has re-emerged, this time on PC, with a slew of changes (mostly for the best) and three more platforms for your retro gaming bliss.  I must admit that the game is addicting and right at home on mobile, but that there’s definitely much to be gained by planting this tightly timed platfomer on bigger screens.

LifeofPixel13From the moment you load the game, you can tell it has been updated.  Most consoles are now unlocked from the start (previously you had to complete half the levels in a console to unlock the next), Professor Pixel has been added to provide console background introductions before each set and offer hints along the way, and everything seems just a bit more crisp.  I understand that retro fans will be hesitant with that last statement because it may mean that the classic Atari 2600 or ZX Spectrum graphics will no longer look authentic, but worry not because none of those factors have been tweaked.  Additional tweaks include a timer for speed runners (previously your final time was shown upon completion of a level), newer mechanics like bombs, driving, and even flying, and the ability to take two hits instead of one – I wasn’t personally fond of this change because I was of the few who 100 percented the original version, but you can self police by restarting if you get hit.  I also loved the addition of the 16-bit generation with the SNES, Mega Drive (Genesis to us US folk), and Amiga being integrated with as much care and appreciation as the previous consoles.  Also it appears developer Super Icon is less afraid to pay homage to the classics, as you can see in the screen shots, and it was a blast playing these interesting hybrids between the favorites of my youth and Life of Pixel‘s distinct level design.  All in all this is definitely a complete package that enhances an already wonderful game, updates more consoles (including making the most of the sound chips of each),  and getting it to a wider audience.

LifeofPixel23I will admit that it was a bit of a stiff control setup, but this is at the fault of the PC platform and not Life of Pixel.  It fully  supports keyboard and controller inputs natively, but a fierce platformer will mop the floor with the lackluster 360 gamepad d-pad that I used on my PC for gaming.  Fortunately I had a PS1-style USB controller that worked wonderfully to counter these issues and I found this guy for only $5 at Micro Center.  Once you overcome that initial hurdle Life of Pixel had me all over again and I couldn’t help but try to 100 percent it a second time (thanks to the new levels and a few of the harder original ones I’m not quite there yet, but I will be soon!).  Some may criticize the game’s $6.99 price point, but I find it hard to scoff at the authentic and beefy game you get for half the price of the average indie release nowadays.  Furthermore, I have always touted that $2 on the Vita was far too low and that this game was easily a $5-$10 back then, let alone now.  Trust me, if you like old games and grew up with many of these consoles (and microcomputers for our European gamers) then there’s no way you won’t be charmed to death by Life of Pixel.  I don’t mean to gush, but I cannot say enough good things about this great throwback title that nails neo-retro.

Editor’s Note:  Due to the fact that this game is technically similar enough to the original that we do not deem it a new product, Life of Pixel’s original score would have been kept the same.  Since we did not support scores when the original game was released, it was re-evaluated for a score, which is posted below.

Review Score: 5 out of 5  (review policy)

Life of Pixel is available on the PC and MAC platforms directly from the developer’s site at http://www.lifeofpixel.co.uk for $6.99.  A review copy was provided to the site.  It was played for approximately four hours to explore new content and properly evaluate all changes and enhancements.  If you wish to see the game on Steam, it is currently up for the Greenlight Program and you can vote for it.

Written by Fred Rojas

August 29, 2014 at 3:50 pm

Posted in News

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One Response

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  1. wish the update came on vita as well. oh well. Great review

    jamalais

    September 4, 2014 at 1:19 pm


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