Developer: Chillingo
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

It is a well-known phenomenon for human beings to experience a dream where they are in a never-ending free-fall. As terrifying as these subconscious projections have been known to be, it was only a matter of time until someone found a way to channel that unique experience into game form. The new title Mega Dead Pixel has managed to tweak the formula just enough to get rid of the fright and replace it with 8-bit charm.

56Throw a stone and one will hit an endless runner on the App Store, but it is a bit rarer to find a game of the endless falling variety. The player is placed in control of a single pixel in free-fall and is assigned the task of repainting the pixelated structures that block its descent. Brushing alongside an object imbues it with color, which in turn acquires points and also charges up the multiplier for a “Megapixel.”

When activated, the “Megapixel” morphs the player’s tiny brick into supersized block that is large enough to destroy anything in its path, as well as rapidly increase the rate of fall. But beware, because every item hit, super powered or otherwise, sheds some the pixel’s size. Fortunately there are also white pixels that can be collected that will bloat the player’s size, which also makes the action a bit more chaotic, albeit fun to interact with.

39Playing through Mega Dead Pixel is very reminiscent to the flashy music backing and neon color schemes found in the popular Pac-Man Championship Edition. Despite the core mechanics being a compelling enough piece of the puzzle, the stylish presentation helps keep fresh what could have otherwise grown stale quickly. Coins that are either gathered in-game or awarded post-match for completing mission objectives can be used to purchase new items that will appear in the environment, power-ups, or even unlock additional music tracks. Incentivizing replayability in this manner is the perfect method to feed an addictive mentality.

Though the core gameplay remains essentially unchanged from other “endless” anythings, there is something about Mega Dead Pixel that is compelling enough to inspire return visits. Yes, it isn’t necessarily all that different from its peers, but this is a case where a game has more value than the sum of its parts. Plus, when a title is free-to-play forever it is absolutely worth giving a chance.

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