Pixel Blocked! (Second Chance with the Chick)
January 28, 2012 6 Comments
It’s been exactly six months since I first reviewed Pixel Blocked! I thought it was essentially the basis of a good puzzle game that was in dire need of some tender loving care. Well, developer Daniel Truong took that to heart. He started taking it out to fancy restaurants and spas, writing it mushy love letters, and buying it expensive shiny jewelery. And then I said “no you idiot, I meant fix the fucking problems with it.” “Oh” responded Danny.
Just so I’m clear, I really liked Pixel Blocked the first time around. Hell, it was an original occupant on the leaderboard here. But I couldn’t ignore the numerous design flaws that held it back. Patches were promised and Danny went back to the drawing board. How did he do? Well, let’s take a look.
Original Problem: The reward system was broken due to way out-of-bounds minimum requirements.
Current Build: The reward system has been drastically overhauled. Now you’re scored on the classic Gold-Silver-Bronze system. Having said that, getting a gold on the time attack mode is still a total bitch. Pixel Blocked is a logic puzzler, so the speed fits in like Colonel Sanders taking a job at Weight Watchers.
Original Problem: The game was too easy on account of having missiles at your disposal to clear away bad shots.
Current Build: There are no missiles. At all. And this works just fine for me, because if they had been around I wouldn’t have been able to resist the temptation to use them. When it came to them, I was like an alcoholic whose only hope for salvation is removing every outlet of liquor from my entire life.
Consequently, now if you fuck up you do have to start the whole puzzle over again. How do you know if you’ve fucked up? It’s simple: any time you make a wrong move, the game makes a sarcastic quip at you followed by the words PIXEL BLOCKED! It’s actually pretty motivational. I only wish there had been a wider variety of quips, or maybe the ability to customize them. I think I would have taken my time and not fucked up as much if the game told me “Wow, you’re getting dumber Kairi. Also, you’re putting on weight and your hair is ugly. PIXEL BLOCKED!”
Original Problem: The cursor had visibility issues.
Current Build: You can see it.
Original Problem: If you rotated the board after firing a shot, it would result in misfires as the blocks traveled too slowly.
Current Build: This got fixed too, so a block will go exactly where you meant it to go whether you rotate the board or not.
So as you can see, every major complaint about Pixel Blocked has been fixed. The result is a game that has completely shed its indie feel. Pixel Blocked plays like a polished title by a major studio. It makes me wonder if Mr. Truong isn’t essentially slumming-it by keeping this title on Xbox Live Indie Games and Windows Phone. Pixel Blocked is a game that’s ready for prime time. Sure, taking away the missiles left me gibbering in the corner and possibly in need of an intervention, but that’s fine. Once I got over my dependency I took the game in stride and was able to have an even better time. I never thought a game would fall off the leaderboard and then manage to climb back on, but Pixel Blocked has done that, so come back to Indie Gamer Chick on February 1. What are you waiting for? You should grab it now before Danny is turning tricks for Nintendo, learning first hand how the concept for Kirby came about.