PixelMaker for the Wii U takes a unique approach to your typical “art academy” title. For one thing, the academy aspect is omitted, giving the player free roam to make whatever their heart desires. In addition, the layout is that of a grid with blocks that the player can fill in, leading to 8-bit style creations as opposed to free-handed drawings. Despite appearing simple on the surface, PixelMaker had lots of deep features in order to encourage a creative explosion in the reader.
Before getting into the mechanics within the game, I’d like to mention the atmosphere the game creates. The in-game music is very calming and soothing. PixelMaker creates a peaceful vibe effectively, especially for art lovers who look to drawing as a means of relieving stress. Of course, for someone unartistic like me, the game is more frustrating. Nevertheless, PixelMaker should be able to sooth its target audience excellently.
I’ll start by going over some of the basic features of the game. Just about every aspect of this game is customizable; the size of the “pen” used to draw, the size of the virtual canvas, the size of the eraser, etc., etc. There are other customizable options, but I’ll mention those a little later. It has other basic options you would anticipate from a free hand art title, such as the classic MS Paint-style fill bucket. With the ability to zoom in and out, players have the option to color in large portions of the grid at once, as well as the option of precisely filling in each block individually.
PixelMaker also presents the player with easy ways to save pictures and switch between them. Players can upload their pictures to different folders, giving them the option to group specific types of pictures together if they so choose. They can also load already created pictures easily, and the game makes sure to remind the player to save their current work first. As a result, players are encouraged to create multiple works and continue going back to and tweaking their older works. PixelMaker does this to add lots of replay value to a game that could otherwise grow stale.
Perhaps the biggest draws to this game are its few unique features which completely separate it from its potential competition. One such features is the option of fully customizable color pallets. Players can pinpoint the exact shade of a certain color that they want from the color wheel, then save it to their pallet. The player can save specific pallets for certain pictures, then clear the pallet and select a new one for the next picture. This encourages the player to give each of their pictures a unique and independent feel.
Another unique feature is the advent of individual layers. Players can name layers in order to represent portions of the picture. Then, they can switch between layers and draw without the risk of messing up another layer. This gives the player complete control over both the foreground and background of their picture. With the easy to understand stylus gameplay, this feature allows the player to have a unique level of control without overly complicating the game’s mechanics.
All in all, PixelMaker is a well made game which allows for both simple and complex 8-bit design creation. This game is far from being my cup of tea, but for any artistic gamer, PixelMaker has the potential to be a great way to spend time. It could even encourage amateur game design by allowing players to design their own pixelated characters. While this game certainly isn’t for everybody, for fans of the genre, it lacks no major flaws, which is an impressive feat to say the least.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Wii U code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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