© 2012 SPOOKY SQUID INC.
They Bleed Pixels is a challenging platformer that adds the additional obstacle of enemies that you will need to fight on top of the spikes and traps everywhere. You can build up an ability that allows you to set your own checkpoints. Like all games like this it is best played with a controller. It's a fun, challenging, and good looking game that is worth trying out for fans of difficult platformers. For the low additional price the soundtrack version can be worth buying if you want to further support the developers, it's good in game though it probably isn't likely to be something you will listen to outside of it much.
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.
Lets start of by saying one thing, the soundtrack for this game is great! Now, the game itself is not too easy, and gets increasingly more difficult. For those old-school gamers that like the challenge, this is an instant recommendation. And with 120+ Steam achievements, this will definitely keep you hooked for hours. Not only that, it has a few extra in-game unlockables such as more levels and artwork, which are always a nice little addition.
They Bleed Pixels is a great 2D platformer for those of you who like their games challenging. There are nit that many levels in it, even moreso when compared to, say, Super Meat Boy, but they are also longer than those of the meat. Graphics are not jaw-dropping, but they are certainly stylish. The music is also very good. The gameplay, aside from the jump-and-run mechanics, also has some beat-them-up elements, which are not really complex. I am not sure if it would have worked if they had went for something more complex. You start each level with three hearts and if you lose them, you die. The game also has a checkpoint mechanic, which allows you to replenish your hearts and not start form the beginning when you die. On that note, it is a lot easier than Super Meat Boy, but it is still a formidable challenge to beat.
They Bleed Pixels is a marvelous, solid hidden gem. It's like Super Meat Boy: beautiful, excruciatingly hard yet very satisfying. If you appreciate pixel-art you'll love the graphics and the animations are really well done. The music is also amazing, the soundtrack is worth the extra money. The core gameplay and design is really similar to Super Meat Boy's even though the levels are much longer (there are checkpoints) and you can actually fight your enemies. The combat is fun and it's a good addition to the platforming gameplay. The environment is really diverse, so you won't get bored fast. Overall the game is a bit unfair sometimes, but other than that I can't really hold anything against it. A must for old-school gamers!
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