Surprise suprise, I’m playing a hardcore Meat Boy-esque combat-oriented action platformer. They Bleed Pixels is one of the games I got because I thought it looked good. Typically I try to avoid that kind of behavior, because… well, that goes without saying, but my point is that sometimes it pays off. Sometimes. Also, this is the only PC game I own that recommends a controller, so one milestone awarded to me.
This is a game of few words and stages, but great challenge. You play as a girl twisted into a monster by a book of dark magic after having been sent to a mental institution for young ladies. Your goal is to find the owner of the strange book, confront him, and kick his booty. I honestly couldn’t tell you, because I haven’t quite beaten the game yet. It’s tough.
There are several things I’d like to credit They Bleed Pixels with, the first being an excellent soundtrack by DJ Finish Him, the album’s name being They Bleed Pixels on the Dance Floor. FYI, if you purchase the special bonus pack thing on Steam for few dolalrs extra, you get the entire album, all 54 tracks. That’s $10 for the game, $5 for the soundtrack, or $13 for the collector’s edition.
Secondly, the retro visuals and… shall we call them memorable? Yes, the memorable death effects. Your score is measured in blood, specifically the pints of blood your enemies shed. Depending on how fast, how safely, and how completely you finish the level, your score will enjoy the benefits of several multipliers.
Third, the combat system. You begin with a basic, easy to combo slash, a light kick (away), and a hard kick (knockup). It’s not about how fast you kill the adorable Lovecraftian enemies as it is how spectacularly you do it. Air juggles, wall-spike fatalities, razor blades, impaling spikes, so on, so forth. The more you mix it up, the better your score will be.
What I like most is the adaptive checkpoint system. By killing enemies, you fill your sigil gauge. When that caps out, standing still will cause the player character to create a waypoint. The game won’t let you lay one down near hazards or enemies, so safer spots are plain old better. Also, since you can choose when they activate, you can save them for when you really need them.
I recommend playing with a PC controller, unless you truly have deft hands when tip-tapping keyboards. I haven’t found any proper software or drivers to permit compatibility with Ps3 controllers yet, but that’s mainly because I haven’t been trying to hard. A little dedicated searching will probably yield sufficient results.
They Bleed Pixels is a magnificently dark and immersive trial and error platformer, and I definitely don’t regret buying it. It’s on sale for the holiday season at the moment, a smashing 66% off, so grab it while you can. All the same, Steam has a lot of sales. Even if you miss out, opportunity will come knocking again.
10DollarGaming seems to like They Bleed Pixels as much as I do. We touch on the same points, fawn about the same gimmicks. If only it had cooperative multiplayer, then we could prance about and make a bloody mess of everything and have a bloody good time! Get it? Bloody bloody? Right, well. Here’s the link: http://www.10dollargaming.com/2012/11/they-bleed-pixels-review