Reviews by fishladybot

70

Fantastic presentation, cheap deaths

fishladybot | Aug. 5, 2013 | Review of They Bleed Pixels + Soundtrack

When I started They Bleed Pixels, I was amazed that the game hadn't received more attention. The combat is fun, the platforming flows incredibly well, and the blend of retro-style pixel art and Lovecraft-inspired designs hooked me the moment I reached the title screen. The checkpoint system seemed innovative, as well, and I really enjoyed collecting all the pages in each level. It took me a few hours of gameplay to see any flaws.

And really, They Bleed Pixels only -has- two problems: the checkpoint system, and the floaty, slightly unresponsive feeling of playing the game with a controller. Unfortunately, as the game's difficulty rises, it's harder and harder to ignore these problems, which were responsible for more deaths and frustration than the enemies and the levels themselves.

This game is often compared to Super Meat Boy, and for good reason--the tough-as-nails platforming, the gore, and the retro aesthetic are all very reminiscent of SMB. The problem is that Super Meat Boy's short levels, incredibly tight controls, and instant respawn work quite well to make the difficulty genuine! You learn from your deaths, and you can use that information right away.

They Bleed Pixels' weak point is the combination of its long levels, and the checkpoint system that is intended to make those levels possible to play and complete. Giving the player the ability to place their own checkpoints after they collect enough blood is an interesting idea, and I could see it working well in other games with different playstyles. The problem with this system is that the player doesn't have the same information as the developers--we cannot consider the entirety of a level without first playing it, so we couldn't possibly know the best places to put a checkpoint. This leads to sections that were intended to be short and difficult becoming long, drawn-out, and full of repetition. The player learns how to complete a section, but has to successfully finish it every time we want to learn about the next.

If the game had a traditional checkpoint system, a less floaty game feel, and possibly a camera that was spaced further away from the character, it would be an instant classic, and easily one of my favorites. Though I would still recommend getting it on sale, They Bleed Pixels falls just short of being a hidden gem.