I reached out to the UK based Lamplight Studios recently and they were nice enough to provide me with a copy of their game A Pixel Story. Thanks guys!
Starting as a prototype way back in 2012, A Pixel Story spans across four generations of video games, starting out as an 8 bit platformer and turning into a graphically more defined puzzle game. In a world where indie developers frequently use 8 bit graphics as the basis of their game, A Pixel Story is a refreshing change and I can only imagine what a nightmare it must have been to create all of the art assets for essentially four entirely different games, but Lamplight have done a fantastic job is this regard.
There are times when the game reminds me of Fez for its visual style or Thomas Was Alone for its atmosphere. Add in a little bit of Super Meat Boy and possibly a sprinkling of The Flintstones game for NES and you have A Pixel Story. It borrows from several games in small ways but ultimately it is its own beautiful thing.
From the first level and progressing throughout the game there are puzzles to solve which are legitimately frustrating but also provide you with a sense of accomplishment once you're out the other side. I'm not saying it's on par with Portal in this aspect, but in terms of level design I would definitely put it up there.
Overall I found the UI to be nice and clean with easy to navigate maps and attention to detail if you look close enough to find it. The controls however could be a little tighter and more responsive. There was more than one occasion that I found myself jumping a fracture later then I pressed the button, leading to my death. This becomes especially noticeable in the aptly named challenge rooms, which is where the Super Meat Boy element can come into it at times.
In the past six months A Pixel Story has been featured on Gamespot, Giant Bomb, PC PowerPlay and Wired to name a few. Over on Steam the game has received a 94% positive user rating with only one partially negative comment (Thanks Mantoner. You ruined everything).
What that says to me is that A Pixel Story has developed a small but passionate fan base and it's not hard to see why with all of the little touches that went into the game. From the general humour and variety of easter eggs to the range of art and sound for the most part very befitting of a game around the time, A Pixel Story is a fun adventure to experience that hails back to the origins of gaming as we know it today.
Available now on Steam for $11.99USD.