Pixel Heroes: Byte and Magic Review
Pixel Heroes: Byte and Magic, developed by The Bitfather, is a 2-D, side-scrolling, rogue-like, adventure game with witty dialogue and old-school, RPG elements. The game features 30 playable characters to unlock, a handful of achievements, and endless, class combinations giving the player countless amounts of replay value. All things to consider, the game is very well-made, and a joy to play, but its lack in story and gameplay loses excitement. The random encounter is what keeps the gameplay from being any less boring. Choices have consequences, random items determine the heroesâ stats, and strategic, turn-based battling system is why Pixel Heroes: Byte and Magic does a wonderful job at creating an 80âs style game.Â
You begin your adventure in an inn and are left to choose three heroes as party members to quest through one out of the three campaigns in the game. The heroes are randomized in every new game. The decisions can be hard, considering thereâs a plethora of heroes with different classes to choose from. Examples of these classes range from the classic priest or warrior to pirates or Skyborn. I advise going the classic RPG routine (priest, tank, and damage) before jumping the gun and going along with your own concoction. After making a party all the other heroes, those that werenât chosen, grumble and curse as they leave the Inn. Depending on what campaign youâve chosen next will show a NPC character and explain the main story. Several clicks later, you are outside the inn, in the town. Here, there are five houses to enter: the temple (healing, resurrections and potions), Inn (recruit members), Casino (supposedly a bank), Library (spell books), and Blacksmith (weapons and armor). Some of the NPCs in the town will give you a quest to embark on but you may only select one at a time. These can be very random but are initially all the same. Going back and forth from town to dungeon for meaningless objects was too repetitive for my taste.
At last, the core part of the game â the adventuring. Your party will walk on the left or right side of the screen, akin to the classic Organ Trail traveling system. As your party advances, random encounters occur, in which you will be left with choices to make and have a chance to gain items, alternate quests, gold, and experience. Now, a slight warning. Do not challenge the Grim Reaper. No matter how much he yells at you â do NOT challenge the Grim Reaper. Aside from that one, the encounters arenât that difficult. Sometimes, your party might be facing a puppy disguised as an octopus monster or faced with determining whether pouring hot water down an anthill really was the best course of action. There will be four or five of these random encounters before arriving at the actual dungeon.
The game has 13 dungeons and all of them have a certain theme (lava, ghost, ice). The Dungeons are split up into 7 stages â like Dr. Wiley stages from the Mega Man series. Each will have powerful enemies that matching your level and skill points. This is how the game challenges you and encourages using various spells and weaponry accrued by the party. Pulling out the inventory shows your partyâs profile and what items can be used for which party member. The stats of each hero can be found on the Pentagram sign. When leveling, you gain two stats points to place into whatever stat you desire too. The bag size is a tad too small and holds only 20 items. By going over that limit youâre forced to trash items until 20 items or less are left. This is annoying because some items I had while playing were really good and I was forced to destroy them. If a game places emphasizes hoarding items why would the bag be so petite?
Diving into the first dungeon I finally faced the combat system, which resembles classics such as Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest, in a turn-based RPG style. The hero chosen to attack can only attack once every two turns. This provides incentive for the player to think ahead and often mix-up the playstyle. Itâs important to note that potion cannot be used during combat, which is why a priest is essentially a must. Each enemy has a certain weakness, too. In the help menu at the bottom bar is provided a guide to all the spell meanings and counters against certain powerful minions. The first few battles were really engaging but the more battles I emerged from the more tedious it got. The dungeon levels felt all meshed together and seemed as though I was playing the same levels over and over again. The boss fights, at the end of each dungeon, are what makes the gameplay more enjoyable. Some of the boss battles were complete slaughter fest or others were close calls, since youâve got to carefully manage your partyâs stats and skills. If your whole party is to die then that would be a game over and youâll have to start a new game. After a boss is defeated youâve to travel back to town facing a couple of more encounters and turn in for quest rewards.
There was a story in the game but in order to get the main story I would have to keep doing random quests as excuses to make up for the last dungeon where the main fight took place. The soundtrack is fantastic. The inn had a band playing a mock-up of Star Wars bar tunes to a triumphant and uplifting tune when traveling from town to dungeon. The soundtrack matched very well with the atmosphere and the graphics of the game. The 8-bit style of walking and fighting animations, hooked with catchy 8-bit tunes made Pixel Heroes: Byte and Magic a nostalgia trip.
In conclusion, Pixel Heroes: Byte and Magic took everything good about an old-school RPG by adding 8-bit graphics, 8-bit soundtrack and adding tons of content and playable characters. Even though the gameplay seemed to be repetitive at times, and that story was barely fleshed out by uninteresting quest lines, the game still brings something worthwhile to the table and is overall quite enjoyable.
You can find it HERE on Steam.