Last weekend Fall arrived in full force, the mornings were crisp, the leaves are changing and the sky had the most wonderful shade of overcast with the threat of storms arriving. During this time of the year I like to curl up under a blanket and read some of H.P Lovecraft’s short stories with a warm cup of fall tea.
But as awesome as it was to read the stories of the strange and supernatural with the intend to stretch your mind to the edge of insanity, I started to get an itch to play a game that is somewhat based in the H.P Lovecraft world that drives you insane. Luckily there is a game that fills that niche, enter They Bleed Pixels.
They Bleed Pixels is an indie game from Spookysquid that is available on both Xbox and Steam and best summed up this game is an intense combat-platforming game that does it’s best to test your skills and pushes your sanity limit. Imagine if you will, an unholy creation of Super Meat Boy’s controls and levels with one button combo combat that takes place in a nightmarish world.
The plot is about the story of a young girl that is dropped off at a boarding school where she stumbled upon an evil tome that plagues her dreams with night terrors where she is transformed into a clawed monster and the odd events that follows her back into the real world.
Those nightmares are the playable levels with the classic platforming challenge of getting from one side of the stage to the other with is easier typed then performed.
It almost goes without saying that controls and one button combat on an indie game like this are polished to the mirror shine just like Super Meat Boy, Binding of Issac and Mark of the Ninja. What makes it different from SMB is that you have three lives, checkpoints, and a double jump ability but do not let it fool you They Bleed Pixels is not any less forgiving. It demands perfection from you
The stage starts off with a quote from a famous horror writer and the stage is filled with various hostile shambling shadow monsters and floating red jellybeans that works together to make one of the most interesting saving mechanic that I have seen and it works as a part of the game.
The game gives you a combat bar on the top of your HUD that, when filled allows you to set up a checkpoint in a safe location. The combat bar can only be filled by slaying the creeps or collection the red blobs.
It gives you an interesting gameplay choice that I have not seen before, either fight every unearthly monster you can get your
hands claws on, to get more points for more frequent checkpoints but at the risk losing health by an attack or try to avoid all threats but have your checkpoints set up further apart.
There are also collectibles that are near impossible to collect, but that unlocks artwork from the group and other goodies. But This game hits the small target of delivering real satisfaction from beating that one level that has been stressing you out for the last 15-30 minutes.
But like the best the insanely difficult indie game the levels and monsters are consistent and the controls are smooth enough that when you mess up the only person to blame for your sudden misfortune is you….Just like most of the protagonist of H.P Lovecraft’s tales.
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