A Pixel Story was originally released on PC in 2015 and is now finally making its way onto both the PS4 and the Xbox One. It’s a 2D platformer which takes the player on a journey through the history of platformers and on into perhaps the future, without feeling like a boring history lesson. As someone who’s been playing Platformers since Super Mario on the NES all the nods to the past and how things have changed over the years felt both familiar and new to me. This is our A Pixel Story review.
A Quest Through History
The goal in A Pixel Story is to save the system by gathering memory from each generation (level/worlds). As I progressed through each generation not only did the graphics and audio receive upgrades but the mechanics grew more complex. In the beginning, there were basic puzzles and most of what was done was variations on running, jumping, and using levers. Later in the game things like porting and double jumping are introduced which added an extra layer of complexity to all the puzzles.
Additionally, as I progressed through the game I ran into various NPCs who would give me quests which I needed to complete to get to specific areas and unlock memory. None of the quests were too crazy though and where I needed to go for each thing was always clearly marked on the map which was very helpful. I really enjoyed these NPCs because the dialogue was often hilarious and sort of goofy which provided a nice counterpoint to some of the frustrations I was having getting through some of the puzzles.
The Controls Sometimes Get in the Way
I didn’t really have any issues figuring out what needed to be done to get through the puzzles. There were a couple which took me stopping and thinking about for a minute or two to figure out. I never hit a point where I had no idea what needed to happen. The issue I did often run into was doing the mechanics the puzzles required, especially early in the game. I’m not sure if this is part of the whole “evolution of platformers” aspect but early in the game I often had issues with the controls not being very responsive. For instance, not jumping when I hit jump or not moving right when I tried to move. As I got further into the game these problems seemed to lessen but it could have just been me getting used to the controls.
Overall A Pixel Story is a ton of fun and aside from some minor glitches here and there it was a delight to play.
Unlike old school platformers there isn’t a limited life system so there’s no real way to get a game over. There are also frequent checkpoints which can be used as a portal system to move freely between any you have unlocked within a level. The only requirement is you must be on a checkpoint to port. Also after the first level is beaten the bedroom opens and this is used to freely move between unlocked levels. In this way, I could go back to previous levels to find everything I might have missed or to work on the challenge rooms (which obviously were really challenging and quite frustrating).
Final Pixel Story Review Thoughts
Overall A Pixel Story is a ton of fun and aside from some minor glitches here and there it was a delight to play. Though I do recommend taking breaks if you’re struggling with any of the puzzles because it can get quite frustrating. Also, although there is a bit of a story happening if you read the text none of it is particularly compelling and you could easily not read any of the NPC quest dialogue and still make it through the game fine.
Editor’s Note: Our copy of A Pixel Story was provided by the PR team for review purposes. We reviewed the game on PlayStation 4.