System: Wii U (eShop)
Release: June 4, 2015
Developer: TicToc Games
Publisher: TicToc Games
In the HD world we live in, we’re spoiled by the copious amount of pixels that deliver us vibrant colors in a sequence of images on our TV screens and phones. Each pixel helps support the next, all the while providing a fragment of whatever is being displayed – regardless of resolution. In the Pixel Kingdom, those who have more pixels live in luxury. The other “low-rez” inhabitants live basic, humble lives. After a terrible attack threatens those with many pixels, all watch in absolute terror except for one that was bound to save the day. A single pixel. Enter Pip.
Adventures of Pip is a charming puzzle/platformer that takes you on a journey of five animated, yet very arduous worlds, each with its own theme. The story begins with you in the Pixel Kingdom castle where it’s being attacked by Queen DeRezzia, an evildoer who wants the power to harness and create pixels out of thin air. A power the Princess of the Pixel Kingdom, Princess Adeline, was born with. This ability is an ancient power that was once wielded by a warrior princess that saved the Pixel Kingdom from its demise a long, long time ago. After the princess is kidnapped, Pip must step up and attempt to save the princess and save the kingdom from Queen DeRezzia.
Throughout your adventure you’ll be faced with many enemies, run into hidden passages (provided you can find them), and collect a total of three villagers per level. You can acquire tons of pixel currency by defeating enemies, finding chests, and destroying random inanimate objects. With the money you garner over time, you can go back to the village and spend them on various boosts and upgrades.
Boosts and upgrades help you throughout your journey, with a nice selection of both that aren’t overwhelming to the player or makes the game lose focus on what it’s trying to accomplish. Boosts are items that are at your disposal any time you enter a level. These Boosts can range from items that will fully replenish your health, revive you instantly after death— instead of warping you to the last checkpoint, temporary invincibility, fireballs you can throw at enemies, and a few others. Aside from Boosts, next door is a little Upgrade shop. Here you can purchase upgrades that will permanently strengthen your character and give you a better chance at reaching the end of levels. These upgrades include a new version of your weapon called Cerebrus. This upgrade is clearly inspired by The Legend of Zelda where, much like the Master Sword when you’re at full health, you’re able to shoot beams from the sword. Other upgrades include making enemy damage only inflict half as much damage as normal, a magnet for money drops so they’ll go straight to you, doubling money drops (this was the first thing I bought so it would make purchasing the other upgrades and boosts much more feasible), and a bunch of others.
At the end of each world, you’ll face a boss that goes along with the theme of the world. For example: In the Forest world, you face a huge caterpillar looking monster. In the Cave world, where most of it is underwater, you face a gigantic fish monster. These bosses test what you’ve learned within each world. Though they’re easy in theory, the execution of slaying them was actually quite difficult. These bosses are presented as easy due to the simplistic layout of the arena, but you have to be quick on your fingers and ready to change frequently between each of Pips three forms to come out victorious throughout the various phases of each boss. Once a boss is defeated, you gain a Heart Container. This Heart Container is another aspect of Adventures of Pip clearly inspired by The Legend of Zelda, where once it’s attained your health is replenished and then another heart is added to your life bar.
The music for Adventures of Pip couldn’t be any more of a perfect fit for it. The soundtrack has ferocious strings play throughout the menu and boss battles, while subtle flutes and soundscapes accentuate the serenity of the village and some of the earlier, less frenetic levels. Those in love with video game scores are sure to fall in love quite quickly with the music of Adventures of Pip as it helps accentuate the theme and vibes of the levels without being distracting.
At the end of it all, Adventures of Pip delivers a unique platforming experience with a beautiful Shovel Knight-like aesthetic and challenge inspired by the likes of Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. The puzzles get challenging, but never impossible. After multiple attempts, your patience will reward you as you get closer and closer to beating levels the closer you are to finishing the game. Pip requires you stay continuously focused on the enemies and platforms around you, and using them to your advantage to hop and slice your way to victory, saving the Pixel Kingdom from an inevitable doom.
If you’re a fan of side-scrollers, platformers, puzzles, pixel art, and a feel good retro-style adventure, look no further. Adventures of Pip takes some of the best elements from all these styles and blends them into a beautiful vibrant world filled with fantastic level design, tons of hidden things to find, and an innocent damsel in distress storyline involving a great sense of humor for all ages to enjoy. Adventures of Pip makes a great addition to any Wii U library for those that are looking for that old-school look and feel with a modern take while providing a bit of a challenge that will last many hours.