The Adventures Of PIP Preview
No matter what you play, or what console you enjoy them on, games have almost solely been built from pixels. The pixels on your screen/monitor are all important, as they all band together to form a coherent image. And yet as important as they are, no one really seems to give them any credit. Certainly no one has focused a game on these unsung heroes. Until the Adventures of PIP, that is.
Imagine, if you will, you’re in a magical kingdom composed of pixels. Pixels is the equivalent of currency, in that those with more pixels have a better quality of life. Pixels can also be sentient, along with being the building blocks of everything in this kingdom. The Adventures of PIP does as the title implies, it follows a sentient pixel called PIP on his adventures.
However, PIP wasn’t always an adventuring little pixel person. The story begins with a special girl being born. This girl, born to the king and queen of the land, has the ability to make pixels out of nothing. Spotting an opportunity, the evil Skeleton Queen attacks the land and absorbs all the other pixels, whether or not they’re sentient. Only one pixel survives this onslaught, a boy called PIP. He’s unique since he was born as a single, large pixel (even the poor are made of a cluster of pixels). And this is where his journey begins.
As single-pixel PiP, there isn’t an awful lot you can do. Your lack of height allows you to reach small places. Since you’re entirely composed of one pixel, you’re incredibly light. This can be used to slow your descent by holding the jump button. To defeat enemies, you have to jump on their heads. That’s pretty much all there is to it. But then Pip meets the ghost of a knight. This apparition tells him that he can bestow power into PIP. PIP accepts and blue enemies start cropping up. Jump on one of these, and Pip receives enough pixels to turn him into a sprite of a young boy! This is known as “Agile PIP”. This increase in pixels turns out to be a great upgrade. Agile Pip can run faster, jump higher and can perform a series of wall jumps similar to Mario. He can also grasp at wall ledges and pull himself up when needed. He also has the ability to throw a relatively weak punch, but hey, a weak attack is better than no attack at all.
There are obviously some drawbacks to this upgrade. Smaller paths become unavailable to PIP, and he can no longer slowly descend after jumping or bouncing off an enemy. But luckily, there’s a “devolve” button which reverts PIP back to his humble beginnings of a single pixel. So once you have had enough time to play around with this particular build, the ghostly knight reappears. He tells you of another transformation you can undertake by killing another blue enemy. Do this, and you’ll become “Strong PIP”. This is the most detailed model of all three iterations, as he has the most amount of pixels dedicated to him. Strong PIP is, as the name implies, incredibly strong. Enemies are easier to take out, since he utilizes a large sword that can string combos together. He can push heavy blocks that other versions of Pip cannot, and break blocks that bear a sword icon. But other than that, he’s the most awkward to play as. His jump is pretty small, and his running speed leaves a lot to be desired. Luckily this isn’t a problem for long thanks to the “devolve” button. This feature shunts PIP down one level at a time until he’s back to being a single pixel. The devolve button also emits a powerful shockwave that damages or outright kills enemies within its vicinity. It also breaks special blocks that can only be destroyed using this feature.
Now that the mechanics have been set down, the game shows you what you can do with it. Simple challenges ease you into the features of the game, learning each character separately. Then they start linking them together. Need some muscle, followed by a higher jump? Use Strong PIP, devolve (which briefly stops time), and use Agile PIP to clear the wall. This sort of thing becomes more pronounced towards the end of the preview, in which a climactic chase at the end, in which all three versions of PIP are needed, along with the devolve shockwave.
The audio is to a high standard. I’m not an expert in “#-bit” music, but I do enjoy the various chiptune melodies that are heard every once and again. The music also fits the action nicely, with easy listening and cheery music playing for the earlier parts, and tense, faster paced music playing whenever the action ramps up. It may not sound like much, but these simple touches improve the game a lot.
The Adventures of PIP features some very good sprite work. Everything is vibrant and pops out, making it very visually appealing. These high resolution sprites are a personal favourite of mine, as it uses the art style of older games while mixing new technology that allows artists to animate the sprites themselves in new and complex ways that couldn’t be achieved back when sprites were the latest technology. While the genres are pretty different, the style reminds me strongly of Terraria or Starbound, but with more polish. However, since this is a level-based puzzle platformer, the animators can afford to put more effort into each and every sprite animation, while Terraria and Starbound are large maps, each with their own random assortment of features and secrets. All of the above look great with modern sprites.
This may have only been a preview/demo of the full game, but I feel the Adventures of PIP will prove to be an incredibly fun and interesting title. The art style and sprite animation is good, the gameplay is solid, and it all comes together for a great experience that honestly anyone can enjoy.