Ever since playing the demo of Adventures of Pip at PAX a few years ago it’s been on my watch list. I’m not entirely sure why it took me so long to actually play it once it was out, but that’s neither here nor there. The game gave a very good first impression back at its booth, and going into the full game I was hopeful that it would live up to expectations.
Things kick off in the kingdom when the Evil Queen DeRezia sets out to rob the world of its pixels. With everyone being reduced to a single pixel – except for her, of course – she kidnaps the princess for her nefarious plot. Desperate to get their daughter back the king and queen of the kingdom beg our hero, Pip, to rescue her and save the kingdom.
With that the adventure begins and the single-pixel Pip begins his journey. His travels take him through a variety of locales and as he advances he gains the ability to evolve. Each evolution brings with it new abilities and challenges.
As a single pixel he can jump higher and float to the ground; as an 8-bit character he can climb walls and punch things; finally as a 16-bit character he wields a sword and is heavier. While he needs to absorb energy from the bitstream through specific enemies to evolve, he can devolve at any time to advance or create a small explosion.
The mechanic was implemented well and the levels built around involving each of the evolutions in some form. Each starts off relatively easy but by the end of the game it can get a bit tricky, switching between forms in quick succession to get through an obstacle or defeat an enemy. The controls are tight and responsive – they have to be for some of the precision needed through the later half of the game – and between the evolving/devolving and control there were very few times when I found myself frustrated despite dying a fair bit.
The deaths mostly came down to skill and everything still felt balanced. And there are sections that require a fair bit of skill or practice, particularly when it came to quickly switching modes.
Finishing off each of the sections was a boss fight with bosses that brought an epic feel to each area’s conclusion. One or two in particular stood out because of the detail put into their models in comparison with the world they reside in, but each was interesting in its own way regardless. Most were relatively easy with the exception being the final battle against DeRezia, however I found them to be satisfying regardless.. Working in the mechanics but mixing them up to defeat each of them was a nice change of pace that helped to keep things fresh.
Throughout each level there are three villagers to rescue as well, although aside from two or three which unlock shops in town they don’t do anything aside from count toward completing the game 100%. Finding the hidden people was neat, but without any real bonuses for finding them I found myself abandoning them after the first couple sections to focus on advancing.
By going back to the castle it’s possible to purchase upgrades and items with the loot found during the quest. Most of these served little to no purpose for me, although the health upgrades were very much-needed and admittedly the item that refilled life automatically was appreciated in that final boss battle. There were some throwaway upgrades and items, but overall it was a nice addition.
Games that hinge on a single mechanic oftentimes either come to an end too quickly or drag on too long. Thankfully, Pip didn’t overstay his welcome and got in a fulfilling adventure. It was just the right length.
Each section of the game has a distinct personality visually, and that’s only amplified by the music featured in each. The peaceful forest, while it does contain trials, doesn’t feel harsh while the lava fields give a feeling of urgency and danger. The soundtrack and area design varied enough and ended up making the world feel a little bit bigger than it was and really helped to bring it to life.
All in all Adventures of Pip met the expectations it set when I first demoed it at PAX and then proceeded to exceed them. It was a fun romp through a neat world and I’m glad I finally got around to playing it. It certainly had its flaws, but it was an enjoyable experience nonetheless.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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