When the kind people over at Super Icon sent us retro platforming game Life of Pixel, I was hoping to be sent back in time. A time when games were simple. A time before leaderboards, trophies, 20 page manuals and Tinchy Stryder soundtracks. At the beginning of your retro platforming journey, Life of Pixel starts you on the ZX81. This is the dawn of home computer gaming.
You play as Pixel, who is tired of being part of the crowd. Pixel wants to see more so visits a Video Game Museum to find out about his background. Pixel is thrown into a world of retro joy and so it begins. The controls are simple; left, right, jump and double jump will see Pixel brave blind jumps, avoiding enemies and hopefully landing on higher platforms to find the exit and progress. Collecting all the gems on each level is the only way to open the exit door, so you can’t miss a thing. As this is the ZX81, the first level is black, white and basic – how it should be. After collecting gems and unlocking newer levels you’ll also unlock the next home computer, the amazing ZX Spectrum. Now things start to get a little more colourful and exciting.
As you progress through the levels, you’ll unlock more consoles. It took me getting to about 30% of game completion for them all to become available. Each console features eight levels, and the machines included are Atari 2600, ZX81, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, BBC Model B, Nintendo Gameboy and NES. In your total of 64 levels, you’ll also find one jewel to grab in each one. They tend to be in awkward places but if you can grab all 64, you’ll also unlock the Sega Master System. Playing this on the most powerful handheld device ever created seems strange, but right. If you can’t remember basic platform gaming, then let me tell you, Super Icon have totally nailed it. Everything from the sound to the graphics is spot on. Life of Pixel is brilliantly clever. Imagine a retro Sound Shapes.
There are times in the game however when bouncing your Vita off the nearest wall comes to mind. You really need good precision when guiding your smiling green pixel from ledge to ledge. Falling into water, avoiding bats or being impaled by spikes will mean you die many times. Don’t worry though, it’s all part of the journey in unlocking cool levels.
If Life of Pixel had trophies and leaderboards, it would not be what the game set out to be. It’s retro heaven. Addictive as a Krispy Creme doughnut and cheaper than one, Life of Pixel is the reason to check out PlayStation Mobile.
Punk and Lizard rating 8/10
Publisher: Super Icon