Adventures of Pip for PC
I’ve done a lot of reviewing lately of retro-themed side-scrolling adventure games. With titles like BiT Evolution and A Pixel Story, there’s been plenty of these to go around. The latest, and continuing in the trend of simple pixels becoming something more, Adventures of Pip follows the tale of a young, very low-resolution hero as he heads out to save the princess, the townsfolk, and perhaps the entire world. With so many similarities to other indie games, can Adventures of Pip make a distinct place for itself?
Adventures of Pip begins with some introduction, as the world is explained. Essentially, the residents of this bizarre kingdom are separated by their wealth in pixels. This seems to play out in more than one way, as there are not only those pixels which are used as currency, but also the pixel-count of each resident representing their relative wealth. The young princess Adeline, born with the power to create pixels, is kidnapped by an evil queen, who uses the princess’ power to reduce the royals and townsfolk to mere blocks before retreating to her lair where she plots the deconstruction of the entire world. Pip, the brave young block that he is, sets out to become a champion, and soon finds himself imbued with strange powers of his own.
Adventures of Pip makes use of an interesting and well-used power-up system that sees our low-res hero gain the ability to absorb pixels from certain enemies. With two upgrade levels, unlocked at different stages, Pip gains a more human form that can attack and cling to — or spring off of — walls. The second level grants some more heft, adding armor and a sword to his arsenal while nullifying the wall-cling capabilities of the middle form. Each of Pip’s three forms has distinct uses and advantages in different situations, and players are able to devolve at will to return to a lower-resolution form as needed.
Adventures of Pip does a great job of creating puzzles that require quick reflexes and the use of each of Pip’s forms. Often, you’ll even need to devolve mid-jump to ensure you’ll be able to spring off a wall on the other side, or shrink down to block form to squeeze through tight passages. In water-filled levels, Pip’s original body floats quickly to the top, while the armor-clad warrior sinks straight to the bottom. With its mix of platforming, puzzle solving, and combat, there’s plenty to do in each of the three forms, and you’ll need to use them all to overcome the challenges standing between the unlikely hero and the sinister queen’s evil plot of destruction.
Adventures of Pip has plenty to offer in terms of action, as in addition to completing each level, players can rescue three of the scattered townsfolk within each stage. The game’s pixel currency can also be used to buy helpful items and upgrades to aid Pip in his journey, and each boss battle bestows a health increase upon victory. While the $14.99 price on Steam may seem a bit high for the game’s appearance, I’d say the lesson that one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover — a strong theme through Pip’s journey — is in full effect. Though, I’d likely suggest holding out for the nearly-inevitable sale. It may not set the standard for genre innovation, the smoothness and solid level design that play off of the game’s unique upgrade/downgrade system are great, and the retro-style aesthetic and sound design exceed the quality of many similarly-priced, or even higher-priced, titles.