Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
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Indie Pixel is a fairly fascinating social experiment. As a game, however, it falters for much the same reasons as why it works so well as a psychological test.
Players control a pixel. Their sole aim is to form shapes with other pixels on screen, gradually unlocking parts of the background which form a different picture each level. The catch is that all the other moving pixels on screen are different players from across the world. Each of them has to collaborate with the others in order to create the shape, gain points and watch the background grow. It sounds so simple, until one realizes that far too many other players are a little, well, dim-witted.
Creating the shapes isn't that hard to do. For instance, with only a few players joining in at once, it's often just a matter of getting two pixels to work together. Harder shapes involve more pixels working together and so forth. Interaction is limited to tapping on a 'wink' button serving as a kind of 'hey, come over here, you' notification but one is reliant upon whether the other players want to do that. All too often it felt like most other players were simply wandering around aimlessly, not really getting the most out of the point behind Indie Pixel.
Power-ups are also available, affecting how many points can be earned each time, as well as more superficial things such as enhancing the pixel's size for a brief time. It's possible to customize one's pixel, too, adjusting its appearance to one's taste. Much like the rest of the game, they're an interesting novelty but frequently under used by other players.
That novelty is perhaps the crucial issue with Indie Pixel. It's interesting at first, but after a time I wasn't entirely sure why I kept coming back for more. Often infuriated by others not participating properly, I felt restricted by those players. Plus unlocking pictures is only appealing for so long. Indie Pixel is certainly original and arguably captures the social experiment side of things better than something like Curiosity but I can't see it being a title that one will return to for any great length of time.