Ah, nothing like the smell of nostalgia in the morning. The last decade or so has seen a huge rise in retro-inspired games, largely due to the amount of freedom now afforded to independent developers and publishers. Everything from Bit.Trip.Saga to Limbo, to Super Meat Boy and beyond have riffed on the past, but none of them have done it in such a beautiful, educational way like Life of Pixel.
you’ll need discipline, guts and more patience than Gary Barlow to get through some levels...
The level design is also brilliant; the double jump coming into its own as you hurdle platforms, avoid spikes and clear liquid pits of doom. The gravity inversion sections make you think about every move and jump, as you slither along the ceiling. The well placed special gems trick you into committing hari-kiri to get them, something we loved, being so sadistic. The enemies are super too; standard grunts give way to flying bats, to tanks firing guns at great speed. Make no mistake about it: Life of Pixel gets tough pretty quickly, and you’ll need discipline, guts and more patience than Gary Barlow to get through some levels - although only a handful feel unbalanced or unfair, which is commendable.
The soundtrack is a retro-gamers delight too, and builds on the nostalgia of the visuals and gameplay to create a delectable mixture. Super Icon have worked with a range of artists from the chiptune movement, resulting in a different tune for every level - music that fits the era and machine.
We loved Life of Pixel, and don’t really have anything negative to say about it. The difficulty level might be too much for some, but for the hardened retro-head, or the peewee after a taste of history, this game provides great entertainment. Online leaderboards for speed-runs add an extra level of lastability to an already beefy game - do yourself a favour Wii U owners: buy it.