Gamers are spoiled for choice these days. Regardless of genre, platform, or production value preferences, there seems to be a near endless flow of games to choose from. But even in this oversaturated market, it remains rare to encounter a truly special game; one built with passion, joy and an unyielding desire to deliver a memorable experience. Because of that, when such a game does come along it’s our job as gamers to take note. So take note, everyone, because Adventures of Pip really is something special.
Those of you who keep your ear to the gaming ground may have heard of this game in the past few months, as it garnered some attention for its awesome concept and ambitious design. Despite this, however, Pip’s first Kickstarter campaign failed, and it seemed we would never experience the glimmering promise of the title. The team at Tic Toc Games weren’t about to let their dream simply slip through their fingers though, and Adventures of Pip is back, new and improved, ready to warm the hearts and test the thumbs of gamers the world over.
Adventures of Pip is a retro sidescrolling platformer with a twist. The titular Pip begins his journey as a single pixel with limited mobility, but smiting certain enemies throughout the game allows him to absorb their pixels and upgrade his form, thus attaining 8-bit and 16-bit status respectively. Each new form brings its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and players can devolve Pip whenever they please in order to utilize another form’s abilities. For example, you may see a clear path of progression before you, but spy a strange alcove above. You could then devolve from 16-bit to 8-bit Pip and use his bespoke wall jumping ability to reach the platform and discover a hidden treasure chest. Each level is laden with puzzles and secrets just like this that challenge the player to explore the world and cleverly employ the game’s unique evolution mechanic to discover ever last nook and cranny.
Pip’s PAX Prime demo featured a single, extended level, and the developers explained they had lowered the difficulty for the build to ensure more people could experience what the game had to offer. With those qualms resolved, I was free to enjoy the game and imagine all the potential directions they could take Pip. I encountered cute and bulbous enemies and marveled over the game’s charm, bounded over obstacles and collected pixels, and searched high and low for the villagers hidden throughout the level. Towards the end of the demo, some really great platforming puzzles were introduced, and I caught myself smiling as I marveled over the game’s charm. To top it all off, I eventually reached the game’s first boss, a towering, moss-covered tree creature with looming arms and threatening red eyes. Gripping my controller, ready for my first real test in Pip’s world, the demo ended. It was a bold move by Tic Toc Games, but one that sealed my support for Pip. I want to fight that boss, and I want to play that game in its entirety.
Brimming with wonderfully realized retro visuals, truly inspired level design and infectious music, Adventures of Pip was a joy to play from start to finish. Of course, this shouldn’t surprise anyone; the studio behind Pip, Tic Toc Games, is comprised of WayForward vets, the minds behind acclaimed titles like Shantae, Contra 4, and A Boy and His Blob. They’ve even incorporated some invaluable tips from their good friend Sean Velasco, creator of Shovel Knight, to make sure their game exceeds the impossibly high standards they set for themselves. These illustrious and talented individuals have all combined to follow a vision that anyone who has ever enjoyed a video game should rally behind, as it represents all the love, joy and history that make the medium so special.
Adventures of Pip has amazing potential, but its future isn’t set just yet. If you like what you see, make sure you back it on Kickstarter and do your part to bring it to your favorite platforms. Vote with your wallet, and show those industry big-wigs that this is the type of game the people want. All hail Pip, the people’s champion.