In a world filled with high budgeted, 100-manned teamed AAA games, it’s a refreshing change to see a game that brings you back to a simpler time, where games were still pretty pricey, gave you a little less bang for your buck, but still managed to be ridiculously fun and captivating. Adventures of Pip is that game.
Adventures of Pip (reviewed on the PC, although it is also available on the Wii U) is a game that hearkens back to the days of old-school gaming. Heavily inspired by games such as Super Mario Bros, the game is a platformer that relies on pixels to tell its story. While that may sound confusing, it’s pretty easy to understand once you play. A kingdom is made up of people of all different “resolutions,” with our princess and the royal family having the most pixels out of anyone. The poorest of the folk have only one solitary pixel to their name, and that’s where we find our soon to be hero Pip.
As fun as this game is, it’s a shocker that it even managed to get created. Tic Toc Games (members of former studio WayForward) had to go through two different Kickstarter drives, and after some crunching, it was finally ready for us to play. For this game to have gone through two different Kickstarters and still be created faster than some other Kickstarted games says a lot about the dedicated team over at Tic Toc.
As it goes in the platforming world, an evil witch wants to take over, and she does so by kidnapping the princess in order to use her powers to create pixels. Pip seems to be the only one willing to go out and get the princess and stop the witch. During his journey, he discovers something known as the Bitstream, a tool that can manipulate life, but can also be used to evolve your “resolution” in the world. After finding this power, Pip is finally ready to be the hero we know he can be.
If I had to get down on the game for one thing, it would be that it is not terribly long, only thanks to how refreshing the gameplay is. Throughout the game, we often shape-shift Pip into different “resolutions.” starting out with the 8-bit, tiny pixel Pip, ranging all the way to 32-bit Pip, a character that looks straight out of the PS1 days. Mechanics like that are seldom used in games, and when they are it tugs hard on our nostalgia strings, something that is far from a bad thing. Everything about the game oozes detail, from the beautifully constructed music to the backdrops to every world. It’s nice to see a small team pour so much care into a game, as it makes it shine that much brighter.
While the game doesn’t go too far into the deep end of social commentary, there’s still a fair bit here. The game deals with classism in a way that’s not often tackled in video games, and tries to tell the tale of someone who started with nothing only to become a big shot.
Again, the game isn’t incredibly deep, and does suffer from some things that hold it back from being truly great. While there are things to do on your way to beating the game, they often end up being either too tedious or not worth while. Saving citizens as a sort of “collectible” is fun for the first few times, but quickly loses its allure. There are options to go out and buy upgrades for Pip, it seems as if all the vendors charge insane prices. By the time I was near the end, I had stopped even wanting to find any more jewel chests, as it didn’t seem to be worth it. Sadly, there aren’t many other extras to be found in the game, either.
Adventures of Pip had the potential to be a truly amazing game, but was bogged down by some not so great activities. It was still a very fun game at the end of day, however, and has tons of potential to spawn a sequel that lives up to the game’s expectations. Perhaps a venture into the world of HD is next for Pip, or perhaps just a little more meat to the bone. For $14.99, however, you really can’t pass up a game like this, and I would consider it a big steal.
This review is based on a digital copy of Adventures of Pip for the PC provided by Tic Toc Games.