Developer: Chillingo
Price: FREE
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

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

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Post-apocalyptic subject matter with a positive spin? Sure, whatever you say, Pixel People. I do suppose tackling things from the perspective of rebuilding human society (and the entire species for that matter) on a new world is a bit friendlier, though. It also makes for a shockingly addictive iOS game, despite the gameplay being ultimately devoid of purpose.

Humankind has gone and screwed things up (again) and now they all need a new place to live. That new place is floating out in space and will need to be fleshed out building-by-building, clone-by-clone. That’s right, humanity at this point is comprised entirely of clones. Pixel People borrows elements from a number of different gameplay models, resulting in a hybrid mixture of town-building and tiny person management. When there are enough homes available new clones are beamed to the planet and act as blank slates in need of some definition. Players must combine two of the jobs they’ve acquired or unlocked in order to try and find new occupations and hopefully unlock new structures. Then the cycle continues with the next tier of jobs and buildings. Then the next.

Most of the buildings have several job slots available, and while only one needs to be filled for it to function and earn money it’s possible to make even more if all the positions are taken. Easier said than done, as some jobs won’t be unlocked yet or there might not be enough clones to go around. Pixel People never lets up for a second. It constantly bombards players with tasks like gathering coins, activating buildings, collecting “love” from domiciles in order to unlock previously extinct fauna, juggling clone placement, and more. It’s a series of incredibly shallow tasks that seem utterly pointless on paper but supply enough of a reason to hold off on quitting for “just a little longer.” That, plus the job combination aspect with its 150 attainable roles touches on some kind of innate desire to unlock things.

It can be a bit difficult to keep track of what jobs are needed where, however. At the moment the only way I’ve managed to do it is by checking my buildings one by one and seeing what spots are still open, then cross-referencing that with my library of unlocked jobs. I feel like some kind of quick reference would come in handy for these kinds of situations. I could also do without the job acquisition pop-ups constantly interrupting my love collecting.

Even with the knowledge that Pixel People has no real meat to it and is about as “fun” as browsing someone’s Facebook page I still have a hard time putting it down. Heck, the whole time I’ve been typing this I’ve been itching to get back to discovering new jobs. I can’t quite explain why but this is definitely one time-waster worth checking out.


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