Adventures of Pip

Indie studio Tic Tock Games enters the puzzle platformer fray with their Kickstarted game Adventures of Pip. Back in late January at PAX South I had the pleasure of speaking to the developers of this charming project about “a little pixel who could.” What I found were some awesome guys who not only focused on adding their own style to the 2D platformer genre, but they were also excited about the lore they created for their universe.

Adventures of Pip is a charming story about an unlikely hero named Pip. Pip is a single pixel living in a 32-Bit world. Those who have a higher fidelity constantly remind Pip that he is just a lowly pixel not capable of much. But like all great underdog stories, Pip gets his opportunity to show his worth when the evil Queen DeRezzia kidnaps the princess of the kingdom in order to gain control of the bitstream and cover the land in darkness. With everyone afraid of being devolved to a single pixel by the evil queen, Pip sets out to rescue the princess and save the kingdom.

Pip’s bravery is rewarded when the ghost of the brave knight Sir Elwin bestows upon Pip the ability to control the bitstream and absorb the pixels of his enemy in order to evolve into different forms. In addition to his single form, Pip gains the ability to evolve into an 8-bit and 16-bit forms, each with their own set of abilities. This is where the primary gameplay comes from. As you jump through the levels you have to constantly pay attention to things like size, weight and speed which are also important to find and rescue all the villagers who have fled the Evil Queen. The level design is top notch at introducing you to your abilities early and how they work before ramping up the difficulty later on. Not to impossible difficult levels, but enough difficulty to make one feel satisfied as they work through a level. Each of the five stylized areas showcase new challenges and end with some epic looking 32-bit boss battles. It is quite satisfying beating a big menacing boss as a single or 8-bit pixel. Bravo, Pip.

However there are some minuses to this adventure. For starters, the music is good, but doesn’t always seem to fit the moment. It doesn’t advance or become dynamic with what is going on in the current state and doesn’t quite seem to work with the sound effects. Furthermore, the music (especially early on) does not evoke any urgency or sense of the “adventure” that Pip is on. Instead, it sooths and seems like Pip is just out for a walk in the park. And the music just loops, even as you die and respawn. It never seems to be broken up by any of the gameplay which gets a little bit tiresome. After a while I found myself turning the music down or off in levels 3-7 of the areas I was in. Only to turn it back on for the boss battles.

Additionally, you have unlimited lives in this game. Which at times is nice when you die at a part you were too slow to solve or are introduced to a new type of challenge. However, with no limit on the amount of times you can die, the game simply becomes one of trial and error and less challenging. As a result, the upgrades you can buy from the village seem negated by the fact that they really aren’t needed for anything other than convenience. This made them feel unnecessary and forced as if to add an element found in something like Shovel Knight. Not a bad idea, however the store upgrades are better implemented in something like Shovel Knight because it has more action like Megaman, while Adventures of Pip is more like Mario with a focus on the level. Thus, the store/upgrades don’t really feel needed and I often forgot to go back to it.

Lastly, I would have liked to see a speed runner mode or puzzle trial mode. Something to break up the game and perhaps give me a reason to return. Because as it stands now, I have beat the game and have little reason to return to play the game. Even the trophy/achievement lists do not encourage you to “beat the game without upgrades” or “beat the game in under 5 hours” – challenges that may keep me playing the game well after it has been finished.

In the end, I really enjoyed my time with Adventures of Pip and look forward to see what Tic Tock Games does to expand the charming lore and gameplay they created with this adventure. This game is for anyone looking for a delightful but challenging platformer, or maybe even looking to introduce their children to platform gaming. While I do have some complaints about the score, store and lack of modes, none of those things take away from the excellent game play and endearing story of this charming puzzle platformer.

3.75 stars out of 5


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