Games, Reviews/Previews

Pixel People – iPad/iPhone Review

Cloning is a fascinating concept, something that in my mind is as easy as taping two people together with Duct Tape. Obviously I know that when producing Dolly the Sheep all those years ago it was probably extra strength Duct Tape or something similar. Pixel People just confirms my theory about cloning and in the process produces something excellent. Straight away I’ll say Pixel People is a great game!

Earth is destroyed, somehow, and all that’s left of mankind is a town hall sat on some grass in space, somehow. Obviously as far as plots go this game doesn’t exactly produce a War and Peace sized novel of explanation, but then we’ve been trained not to expect that with games that fall into the same style of a Simpsons Tapped Out or Smurf Village or even Tiny Towers. Every few minutes you are given a new clone to assign a job to on this new flat world. Again, plot and explanation are on the light side, so it’s best not to think about where these clones come from.  I’m sticking with Duct Tape.

photo 1

Now you have some new minions you have to home them, using your hard-earned cash you produce housing. Different sized houses take up a different amount of land space and this is the one area where Pixel People does smack you upside the head. You are limited to the amount of land space, or judging by the stars in the background space land you have, once you have hit this limit you can’t build any more homes or places for your Pixel People to work. To get round this you need to buy more space, at first this is easy and quite cheap, but then about 4 or 5 hours into the game it blind sides you with a cost that is quite simply unfair and makes you worry about where this is leading, especially when increased price (4 fold sometimes) doesn’t equate to any more land, you are still assigned 10 more squares to work with.

I went house heavy at first, building terrace after terrace so I wasn’t ever stuck without a place for my minions to live.  The other thing you can build is workplaces; this is really where the cloning comes in. You, playing the role as either the mayor or in my mind a rather overly involved and bureaucratic god, get to splice together two job roles that you have already discovered and produce a logical new job for someone. So a combination of Zookeeper plus Detective means that a few minutes later out pops a Cryptozoologist. Some of these jobs have specific workplaces that come with them, and when you find these roles you get to choose where to put the new workplace. You are given the option of roads and waterways to produce a logical lay out to your world, and whilst they don’t cost any land they do cost a lot of money: this made me not want them, so as you can see from my screen shots I now have a random shanty town effect going on.

Pixel People

The splicing of genes to produce new jobs is fun, sometimes you will be stuck and thanks to essentially a traffic light system of “Made Before”, “Won’t Produce Anything New” and “Something New and Amazing” you will do the old school point and click tactic of rubbing everything against everything to see what happens.

To be honest I was late to the party with these games.  I owned an iPad and iPod but always just thought they were pointless time wasters and were out to nickel and dime you. Now there are examples of games that don’t do that and thankfully Pixel People isn’t a Machiavellian Manipulator out to take a few coins here and there from the user. There is the usual “Elite Currency” that is harder to get but does speed things up; it is thrown at you near the start of the game, but is a bit reserved later on.

photo 2

The two main things that should bring people to this game are the art style and the humour. Each building is designed in such a great pixel art style and with the ability to zoom in you really are given a chance to see how much work has gone into each element. With each new person you produce and splice you are presented with their portrait and quote – some are just bad puns but others are hilarious pop culture references.

The game does have it flaws though – as well as the pace issue and cost of expanding, you are also hit with only two songs on the soundtrack.  One is a great chill out piece of pseudo chip tune; the other is a horrible, grating and aggravating piece of music that sounds like something that would be played in a shopping centre.  The only other issue I have with the game is potentially more of an issue that only certain people will have: the hit detection.  To claim some money is horrible. You’ll tap a building and it’ll think you wanted the one behind; it does say in the tutorial that you need to tap the square the building is sat on rather than the building, but when you are trying to do a quick grind it’s easy to forget and misplace a finger.

Pixel People brings some great new and balanced features to entice fans of games like Tiny Tower or Simpsons Tapped Out. But that’s just it, you need to be a fan of those other games. If you hated them then there isn’t much here to change your mind. But if you haven’t tried a game like this before, then Pixel People is a solid and enjoyable introduction to the genre.

DOWNLOAD: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/id586616284

Score 9

Gameplay
+Genuinely Funny
+Grinding Feels Fine For Majority of Game
-4 to 5 Hour Mark Produces Unbalanced Costs and Grindfest

Graphics
+Perfect Pixel Art
+Fun People Designs
-Hard To Know Hit Detection On Buildings

Sound
2 Songs on Soundtrack
+1 Song is Amazing Chilled 8-Bit
-1 Song Sounds Like Grating Muzak And Makes You Want To Hurt People

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Ruaidhri

Big-Boss of PixelBedlam.co.uk
Ruaidhri has been writing for a number of sites over the past few years, spewing his vitriol and love in equal measures on all topics from Video Games to Film and Board Games to Geek Culture. He started PixelBedlam in September of 2012. Follow him on Twitter!

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1 Comment

  1. Where is the option to add roads? CAN’T find it, anywhere!!!

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