In the platformer Adventures of Pip, our hero is Pip, a working-class pixel who is thrust into adventure when he witnesses the evil Queen DeRezzia attacking the kingdom’s castle. In this kingdom, how many pixels you’re made out of determines your place in society, and the evil Queen wants to end this by turning everyone who is “8-bit” or “16-bit” into a single pixel. Pip runs into the throne room just in time to see the evil Queen transform the king and queen of the kingdom into single bits and kidnap the princess to steal her power over the Bitstream (think The Force). Pip soon charges after them.

Early in the adventure, Pip meets a ghostly apparition of a long-dead knight. This knight grants the ability to use the Bitstream, which allows the player to transform Pip between pixel, 8-bit, and 16-bit forms, each with different abilities. In pixel form, Pip can jump high, slowly float down, and stomp upon enemies, but he lacks speed and has no arms to punch. In 8-bit form, Pip can run fast, grip onto walls and wall jump, and punch. In 16-bit form, Pip is able to push and pull heavy objects, is heavy himself, and can attack with a sword, but he’s no longer able to wall jump or run quickly. While Pip can transform “down” as much as he wants, he can only increase his power by landing on bitsprites, or shiny, pixelated creatures from the Bitstream that wander around stages. You’re never at a loss if you mistakenly revert too far, as bitsprites can always be found in areas where you may need one.

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The kingdom is separated into five zones, each with five to eight stages, and at the end of each zone is a boss. Zones have different themes such as forest, swamp, caves, and so on and each of their stages reflect those environments. The forest has tall climbs, the swamp has a number of water elements, and caves require the player to explore various caverns to make their way through.

In each stage there are also three optional villagers to find and money to collect to spend in town for various boosts or power-ups. Boosts are temporary and range from “magnetic” money that draws the cash enemies drop to you, coming back to life where you died rather than being sent back to a checkpoint, and heart containers to increase how many hits you can take. Power-ups are more expensive; some allow you to take less damage when hit, and others double any earnings you make from money enemies drop.

Stages tend to get more difficult as you progress through the game, asking more of the player, be it timing of jumps, finding passageways, or solving small puzzles to advance. No stage is terribly difficult, but rushing too quickly will result in a number of deaths as some jumps and landings require fairly precise movements or good timing. Thankfully, the death penalty is rather minor, only knocking you back to the most recent checkpoint, of which there are many.

My complaints about the game are relatively minor. The first is that in some of the later stages, it isn’t clear to the player which pathway will lead to secret riches or an optional villager to collect, or which path will lead you to the end of the stage. Since the game later trains you not to expect  the prize for many moments after the path diverges, it’s frustrating to choose one way only to discover moments later that you’ve gone the wrong way, and you can’t go the other way without restarting the level.

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The boss fight for the caves (third zone) wasn’t intuitive at all. I don’t want to spoil the fight for readers, but I was left trying everything I could think of for a bit while the boss slowly wore down my health. While figuring out the mechanic took only three deaths, it was a slog as I bounced and swam around before I finally found the secret.

I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the both the game’s graphics. Everything looks like a cartoon and is a joy to look at, be it the bright green forest, dark caves, or even the castle ruins. In all three of his incarnations, Pip is full of character. His pixel form bounces around, ever so slightly wobbling as he jumps, and the 8 and 16-bit forms each have fluid animations for his limbs which now can punch or swing swords.

Everything here is easy to listen to, be it the music or sound effects. I’m not much of a music person, so I suppose it means a lot when I say that the background music, particularly the early forest stages, has stuck with me even weeks after playing them.

Overall, my experience with the game was one of joy—so much so that I recorded an LP of the game from start to finish. Watch it here. With enjoyable gameplay and cute, gorgeous graphics, Adventures of Pip is a fun adventure for gamers of all types.

About The Author

Contributor

Sabriel Mastin writes about and creates videos about video games, enjoying the indie side of things most of all. She has many aspirations in life, one of those being sharing the games and the stories of independent developers from around the world.

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