Back when developers didn’t have shaders, motion blur and other technical tricks to wow their user-base, the key to a game’s success came down to whether or not its gameplay could get under your skin. Super Mario Bros., Space Invaders, Bubble Bobble, the knack was to somehow infuse addictive qualities in what, ostensibly at least, looked fairly rudimentary. Boil Mario down (Take a breath, Dan – Ed) and the coin collecting system along with bopping turtles on the head is all well and good. However, add in the tight level design and infectious, challenging gameplay and the result is a game that changed the medium’s landscape forever.
Pix ‘N Love Rush is a patent homage to this golden platforming era, a game that takes retro pastiche to a whole new neon-saturated level, evident in its kitsch, garish LCD-inspired visuals, 8-bit fuelled staccato soundtrack and beguiling platforming style. Beguiling, for though Pix ‘N Love Rush appears spartan by way of basic gaming architecture, its high-score topping driving force and ease of use is enough to entice most gamers back for one more acid-trip down memory lane.
Bats are not your friends. Ever.
It’s starkly simple in execution, the dynamics of the game’s different modes quickly absorbed within seconds as if by osmosis. The charming aspect of Pix ‘N Love Rush, however, is its ever-changing level design and delivery. Some levels are of the more traditional left to right scrolling manner, while others sees the pixel persona scale up platforms from bottom to top, collectables sometimes stationary while other times moving about the screen. Levels are also exceedingly transient, the player barely having time to figure out where the necessary trinkets are before a milestone is reached and the setting morphs into a new area.
Pix ‘N Love Rush ships with a number of modes. The five minute classic rush is exactly that: a time-based “how much can you rattle up before the clock runs out” assault across visually shifting often duotone environments. Players are unlikely to see the game’s 125 areas via this mode, though, something reserved only for those with a little more time on their hands who choose to tackle the unlimited rush mode.
Uncle Joe's acid flashbacks came on at the worst times.
Simple to describe, easy to play, unfortunately Pix ‘N Love Rush doesn’t quite live up to the games it so blatantly extols. It’s a little too stark, an ascetic aesthetic (say that three times real fast) to the point where the designers have perhaps stripped things down so much that they’ve gone past retro and into some sort of primordial proto period of gaming that even the medium’s Ancients will find hard-pressed to recall (or, more likely, exalt). Honouring gaming’s history is an exemplary endeavour. Paring things down to a base element that is perhaps a tad too simplistic, however, appears almost masochistic.
- Retro style is deliciously nostalgic.
- Soundtrack is head-boppingly good.
- Easy to pick up, not always easy to put down.
- Niche to say the least. Some will simply not “get it.”
- Can be a little easy when levels’ mechanics becomes apparent.
- More modes would be nice.
- People on the bus will think you’re on drugs, old or old and on drugs.
A port from the ubiquitous iOS version, the quick-fire gameplay and simple controls of Pix ‘N Love Rush lends itself to brief flashes of gratification. Despite its clever design and (too) authentic presentation, Pix ‘N Love Rush rarely exceeds in being more than an immediate distraction; essentially something to pass five minutes before the train arrives. It’s not that it’s shallow or totally without complexity, it’s just targeted at people who don’t have time to invest hours of their day into game progression. This is the paragon of pick up, play and progress on to something else gaming.
- Retro with a capital ZX.
- Free for PlayStation Plus subscribers.
- Warning: psychotropic. May cause munchies.
It’s not rocket surgery by any means, but there’s enough LSD inspired mind-melting on show to make it at least worth a look. If you want to know what your Dad played back when he was half your age, Pix ‘N Love Rush might as well have come straight out of a time-capsule, a pair of tattered MC Hammer baggy trousers – their reflective sheen excusably now dulled – attached, poignantly fluttering in a futuristic breeze.