Review by Chris
One of my top picks for 2D platformers, They Bleed Pixels has the ideal blend of fast-paced action, frustrating (yet fun) obstacles and atmosphere. Today’s review is more of a heads-up. If you haven’t already picked up this game, jump on Steam and do so!
This is a Lovecraft-inspired hell of a platformer that takes you through a myriad of dark worlds, teeming with enemies ready to give you the day-one prison treatment. These enemies are, of course, accompanied by buzzsaws, pulverisers and death plunges into Mortal Kombat-style spikes. Though the backgrounds are a treat for the eye, the actual platforms can get monotonous when there isn’t a buzzsaw barreling towards you.
The combat is a few steps up from the hop-on-head style of Mario, but is still a fairly simple system, and is easy to get the hang of. The frustration is going to be in dealing with enemies in night, trap-filled quarters, or when you are jumping desperately from wall to wall with a banshee on your ass. You save your in-level progress by filling up a health bar and standing in a safe area to create a checkpoint.
The game follows the story of a girl who is sent to an academy for “troubled young ladies”. There, she discovers the Necronomicon (or what is heavily suggested by the theme of the game to be the Necronomicon). This book causes her to have a series of dreams that would most accurately be described as a cross between Hellraiser and a Pink Floyd music video. These are the levels through which you will be dashing, hacking, clawing and leaping to completion. She then wakes up with her hands covered in blood, and repeatedly tries to discard the tome to no avail.
This plot is told through pictures, and works well with the pixel/ink-textured storybook atmosphere. It isn’t The Count of Monte Cristo, but it serves the gameplay well. The main character has a simple design, with a badassery that is underscored by her FREAKIN BLOOD-SOAKED CLAW HANDS!
Once again, this review is more of an affirmation for the uninitiated. If you feel interested and are wondering if They Bleed Pixels is worth the money, it is.