Super Pixalo

Super Pixalo is a 2d platformer in a similar vein as Super Meat Boy. There is a large quantity of short levels in which your aim is to guide the protagonist across the obstacles, reach the portal - in this case a TV set - and pick up a collectable if you desire. Unfortunately, Super Pixalo has a considerable number of issues that will hold back most of your potential enjoyment.

The is a visual theme of recent decades throughout the game. However, this aesthetic is mainly restricted to colour palette associated with the time frame and the technological advances in television sets showing a game of that time. The look is quite basic; while it is functional it isn't particularly pleasing to view.

Starting with the 1970s, there are twenty levels in each section. Initially, Super Pixalo is very welcoming to new players. The first set of levels are simplistic, with no dangers for you to fall foul of. It's about learning to navigate and becoming accustomed to controlling Pixalo. Some of the later 70s levels begin to show potential in design, though remain easy to complete. There is no challenge until you reach the 80s, in which hazardous lasers are introduced. Again, there is promise in this set of levels, and some are fun to complete. It isn't until levels forty to sixty where my real frustrations surfaced and all desire to play more faded.

Super Pixalo

Super Pixalo has controller support; an important inclusion in a game of this genre. Controlling Pixalo is okay once you get used to how the game works. The jump is in a relatively high ark and somewhat floaty but you are still able to land in your desired spot. All the surfaces have the properties of ice (or maybe Pixalo himself is just slippery), so you'll slide a little distance after stopping. This is exaggerated by unpredictable controller responses. You can be tapping left or right during the level in a point where precision is required, and you'll suddenly shoot several squares in that direction plummeting to your demise.

Upon death you re-spawn instantly at the beginning of the level. However, the level itself does not reset. In the 90s set of levels moving platforms are introduced. These move incredibly slowly across the screen, phasing out at one edge and reappearing at the other. There is not a steady flow of these platforms either so if you do die you often have to wait thirty to forty seconds for them to come back round and position themselves in such a way you can make it across. This becomes incredibly tedious. Pixalo also doesn't move along when on these platforms. This requires you to edge across them as they move along the screen. Coupled with the movement issue you'll find yourself unexpectedly zooming off them frequently. Playing with a keyboard prevents this specific issue but who wants to play a precision 2d platformer like that?

Skill based games need the player to be at fault for mistakes, encouraging them to repeat and improve. But this game is the wrong kind of challenging. The game punishes the player with its wavering gameplay mechanics and bugs. I've spawned at random points in a level several times instantly falling to my death.

Super Pixalo

There is a considerable lack of polish in the game. There is a chip-tune soundtrack but no sound effects. When you die there is a single frame change in the character and your momentum is continued from your point of death. This results in any lack of visual impact from your failure. The vast majority of optional collectables have been easy to get to. However, they are different in each level, well drawn and you can view each of them in a menu.

I got through about half of the 90s levels before deciding my time with Super Pixalo was up. There are too many frustrations present, few of which are the fault of the player. At £3.60, it is also a little pricey for what it is; you can buy superior games for less. Mr Bree+ is £1.99 for instance.

There was some potential on show; some of the level design was interesting and when the controls weren't experiencing bugs it felt pretty precise. Sadly though, the various problems and the forgettable aesthetics leave it difficult to recommend. I don't particularly feel like playing it again.


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