TL;DR(eview) - Adventures of Pip is a charming platformer inspired by and drawing from the best of the NES and SNES eras. A good buy if you enjoy 2D-era games of the genre.
When I first played Tic Toc Games' Adventures of Pip at last year's PlayStation Experience, I knew I was going to keep an eye on this Kickstarted throwback.
A pixel-art platformer, Adventures of Pip has you playing as the titular Pip, a single pixel who, through the course of his story, obtains the ability to evolve into 8-bit and 16-bit versions of himself. Each iteration has different abilities and you will need to evolve and devolve to work your way through the nearly 40 levels.
The art-style is beautiful for a gamer like myself, who literally grew up with the Nintendo systems. A world where pixelated characters live alongside 8-bit and 16-bit era proves utterly charming for someone who can recognize what games influenced these sprites. For example, Pip has the same jump pose as 8-bit Mega Man and 16-bit Pip looks like he'd fit right in alongside Mickey in The Magical Quest Starring Mickey Mouse for the Super Nintendo.
The story is fairly routine. An evil queen kidnaps a good princess and you are the only one who can save her. The dialogue is filled with tongue-in-cheek references and puns about pixels, bits, and resolution; definitely geared toward an all-ages audience. The world map is broken up into five different areas and each of those is broken up into a handful of levels, Super Mario Bros. 3-style. You can collect bits as currency in the levels and can spend them on temporary boosts or permanent upgrades like extra life hearts, The Legend of Zelda-style. And each of the five areas culminates in a three-stage boss battle in the final level, as seen in too many games to count. In fact, with so many elements pulled from these classic games, the mechanic of needing to evolve/devolve through the levels proves to be the games most interesting element.
Platforming is done right in Adventures of Pip. The levels are all well-designed, providing engaging moments that are occasionally difficult but always manageable. The fact that each iteration of Pip has different abilities is well-utilized in later levels. For example, single-pixel Pip can jump and float longer than the higher resolution versions a la Princess Toadstool in Super Mario Bros. 2 (except Pip descends slowly over time whereas Toadstool stayed on her horizontal path). Meanwhile, 8-bit Pip can run faster and wall jump, while 16-bit Pip's sword can break through walls. In the games best moments, you need to combine all three iterations in a sequence to move forward. Hopefully, Tic Toc Games finds more of and builds upon these opportunities should they develop a sequel.
Adventures of Pip is available on PC, Mac, Wii U, iOS, Playstation 4, and Xbox One. For more information, visit Tic Toc Games' official site.