Developer: 99 Up Games
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★½☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Who doesn’t like trial platformers? They’re a great fit for mobile, because of their waste-no-time levels and challenging gameplay that’s highly replayable, often with secondary objectives like time trials and trinkets to collect. Impossible Pixel is another one of those games, but its controls and features leave something to be desired.

Spoiler alert: this game uses pixel art. It’s a monochromatic style, composed of whites, blacks, and various shades of gray, composing a dystopic world. The player has two goals: to get to the end in one piece, and to optionally collect the coin that floats around the level. Good luck with that, because giant buzzsaws, spikes, and tricky layouts await players to test their resolve. Prepare to die frequently. Thankfully, the player can double jump and also jump off of walls to make these feats of acrobatic skill just a bit more possible.

What this game does right in the best way is that it auto-restarts. Dying is a lot less frustrating when the game automatically just picks back up. I don’t have to push any buttons, and if I want to quit, then I can just hit pause when the game starts back up and quit. It should be standard behavior for trial-based games at this point.

I do have a quibble with the physics rules of Impossible Pixel. There’s double-jumping, but wall-jumping doesn’t reset the double jump. This is generally opposed to other games that use the mechanic, like League of Evil, and having the double jump regularly available makes the platforming much friendlier on a platform with virtual controls. Not having it here is glaring partially because it’s more challenging, and as well because it’s the exception to the rule. The rule was in place for a reason, darn it!

The analog joystick that gets used for controlling the game is difficult to use accurately as well; perhaps static d-pad buttons would be better? As well, the game lacks widescreen support or universal iPad support (yet), so it feels out-of-date, yet it’s a very recent release. Oh, and the game crashes on the iPod touch 4th generation, too, even a freshly reset one, so the game is really only truly playable on an iPhone. It’s a shame because the art style is so great, and these limitations really bring it down.

This could have been a lot of fun, but the frustrations with the game kept me from getting engrossed like I should have in this stylish pixel art trial platformer.

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