They Bleed Pixels is a fiendishly difficult action platformer inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and classic horror.
User reviews:
Very Positive (1,649 reviews) - 88% of the 1,649 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Aug 29, 2012

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Includes 2 items: They Bleed Pixels, They Bleed Pixels Soundtrack

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March 11

They Bleed Pixels is now playable in Japanese!

ːtbphappyːThanks to the fine folks at Playism you can now play They Bleed Pixels in Japanese. Everything from the chapter start quotations to the bonus artist bios has been translated, and we worked closely with Playism to ensure that the game’s unique typography and design was preserved. You can read more about the localization process on our blog (which is unfortunately English only ːtbpsadː ).

Also there's a new T-shirt design available through We Love Fine!

8 comments Read more


"They Bleed Pixels will make you feel like a magician with a gamepad."
8/10 – Hardcore Gamer

“Gothic brutality shines brightly throughout this blocky, blood-soaked indie platformer.”
8.2/10 – IGN

"A Pleasurably Painful Way to Break In Steam's Big Picture Mode."
– Kotaku

About This Game

They Bleed Pixels is a fiendishly difficult action platformer inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and classic horror. Rendered in a distinct visual style that blends pixel art with paper and ink textures, They Bleed Pixels is a singular mix of intense platforming and fierce beat-em-up action. At the core of its fighting system is a simple one-button combat scheme with surprising depth and versatility. Button mashing is discouraged while kicking shadowy monsters into saws, pits and spikes is rewarded, thanks to a unique system that lets you earn and place your own checkpoints through stylish kills. The fancier your kills, the faster you fill the checkpoint meter.

When a young girl arrives at the Lafcadio Academy for Troubled Young Ladies, she's unprepared for the violent nightmares that plague her dreams and transport her to other worlds. Worse yet, her dreams are intruding into her waking life, slowly altering her flesh into the demonic form of her night terrors. Can she destroy the mysterious blood-soaked book that appears to be the root of her troubles or will her transmutation from girl to clawed horror become complete?

Key Features:

  • Extra tight controls: One-button attack system favors skilled combat over complicated combos and button-mashing. Super precise platforming controls let you stop and start on a dime while pulling off gravity-defying dashes and double jumps.

  • Eleven massive levels to fight through and explore, each with unique visuals and music. Unlock additional bonus levels and guest levels from indie game developers based on their own creations: They Bleed Ponycorns, They Bleed Stardust, exp.

  • Unique checkpoint system rewards fancy kills with a save spot you can carry with you. Hold on to it for extra points or drop it right away to preserve your progress.

  • Becoming a monster stabbing master with individual level rankings as well as 150 skill-based achievements. There's lots to aim for after you've completed the game.

  • Standard and Novice difficulty to match your skill level.

  • Record, playback and share your best playthroughs with online leaderboards for speed and high score!

  • Lush pixel art motion comics tell the story a young girl haunted by eldritch nightmares.

  • Original electronic soundtrack by DJ Finish Him (aka Shaun Hatton) composed with synthesizers, unconventional instruments and gadgets often not meant for musical use.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP sp 3 or later.
    • Processor:CPU 1.2GHz or Faster
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 3.0+, 2.1 with ARB extensions acceptable
    • Hard Drive: 250 MB
    • Controller Support: Any SDL 2.0 compatible controller (DirectInput/Xinput) including the Xbox 360 Controller.
    • Processor:CPU 1.73Gz or Faster
    • Graphics: Recent Intel HD Graphics or better.
    Gamepad highly recommended for best experience.
    • OS: Snow Leopard 10.6.8, 32-bit
    • Processor:CPU 1.2GHz or Faster
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 3.0+, 2.1 with ARB extensions acceptable
    • Hard Drive: 250 MB
    • Controller Support: Any SDL 2.0 compatible controller (DirectInput/Xinput) including the Xbox 360 Controller.
    • Processor:CPU 1.73Gz or Faster
    • Graphics: Recent Intel HD Graphics or better.
    Gamepad highly recommended for best experience.
    • OS: glibc 2.15+, 32-bit. S3TC support is NOT required.
    • Processor:CPU 1.2GHz or Faster
    • Memory: 512 MB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL 3.0+, 2.1 with ARB extensions acceptable
    • Hard Drive: 250 MB
    • Controller Support: Any SDL 2.0 compatible controller (DirectInput/Xinput) including the Xbox 360 Controller.
    • Processor:CPU 1.73Gz or Faster
    • Graphics: Recent Intel HD Graphics or better.
    Gamepad highly recommended for best experience.
Helpful customer reviews
24 of 24 people (100%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
33.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 21
They Bleed Pixels is a challenging wall jump platformer, with a satisfying unique premise, quality combat and engaging mechanics.

You control a presumably troubled student at the Lafcadio Academy for troubled girls. She stumbles across a magical book that makes you have wild dreams involving a few strangely horrific creatures, several bloody spikes, and an ever present number of saws. The book also has glowing bits and pages that not only are missing, but found inside said dreams. Take heed of any such events that occur in reality, as these are not normal behaviors for books or their pages.

Through mysterious circumstance you have grown claws, which is so awesome that we will refer to this character as clawgirl. Also you become purple, which is a color associated with royalty, Roman Emperors, plums, and according to the Simpsons is itself a fruit. Clawgirl now likes to claw and kick levers and assorted Eldritch horrors, as she navigate your fun dream world with silky mechanics and enough cool moves to enjoyably and reliably get the job done. These moves include the downward thrusting fall, the slide on the floor, and the rat-a-tat-tat hit-you-in-the-air maneuvre. A clever mechanic in this game is the check point system, as a new checkpoint can be placed down whenever a sufficient amount of combo bar has been activated, where combo can be gained by elegantly and rhythmically dismantling opponents, or picking up little globules of blood that are scattered around the world as if left by a crime spree in space. On occasion this has led to taking perhaps a more difficult path to simply save earlier to avoid redoing portions of a level.

The levels involve clawgirl moving from the beginning to the end in what is often a circuitous and meandering path. You accumulate pints, in opposition to the classic of points and referencing the games appreciation of blood. There's a fair amount of pixely blood in this game, and it's always fun. Most of it will be spilled by you of course, especially if you intend to complete the challenges for each level of gathering the grim harvest of all the blood pickups, or the 6 book pages on each level. The blood pickups mostly involve a finesse of controls to navigate while collecting them all, serving to increase the overall number of jumps, and occasionally up the difficulty of those jumps. The pages are of significantly higher challenge for the level, serving to provide interesting navigations that can intrigue or frustrate, depending on your underlying psychological dispositions.

The game plays out over a prologue, three chapters with three levels each, and an ending sequence. These will take a fair amount of time to beat for players of most skill levels, with a significant ramp up in difficulty over the course of the game. There are also a number of created levels for those with more voracious appetite for content.

The graphics of this game involve a pleasant pixelated layer upon which the game mechanics plays out, and a fascinating background layer that is often quite a surreal, tesselated treat. The music is of a high bit-sound quality, fitting the grim aesthetic of the game and is sufficiently varied that it never wears on your soul with repetition.

This is a well made platformer that will entertain grizzled veterans of the genre with its challenging, engaging dynamics and delightful Lovecraft inspired aesthetic. Non-afficianados may find themselves frustrated with the difficulty, and leaving after a few levels, but not after spending sufficient time with the game to justify its purchase.

This review provided in accordance with international treaties established in accordance with all applicable sovereign entities. This review produced sans collaboration with Lovecraft; with thanks for his admittance of seminal literary works into the public domain. Review provided via the Original Curator Group
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16 of 17 people (94%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
3.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 21, 2015
I'm too frustrated to write a real review, so here are the highlights:

* It's hard.
* The art style and the protagonist are charming. The art also helps keep the level design unconfusing.
* It's hard.
* The controls are simple and tight. You might need a bit to get used to them, but by the third level you'll probably have come to grips quite well. Combat is pretty fun.
* You will die. A lot.
* The enemies and obstacles provide plenty of variety, and the game is short enough that I wager nothing gets stale.
* Seriously, buy an extra controller before you snap your current one in two from rage.
* The music is good, as are the sound effects. The PC screams upon death, but it's not an annoying scream.
* I have mentioned it's hard, yes?

10/10 would get my ♥♥♥ kicked by mini-pixel-Cthulu again.
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26 of 40 people (65%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
5.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 22
This game focuses on being a difficult platformer and does it well. There's no real plot, story, character depth or anything else here, it's all about the platforming. The game would be good if not for 2 big problems.

Firstly, the buzzsaws. The hit detection on them is awful. You don't have to touch them to get hurt by them, the game seemingly decides at random whether you touched one or not. This wouldn't be a huge issue except that every time you touch one, it sends you flying across the room into something that will kill you right off or into something else that will send you flying across the room into something that finishes you off. Essentially, touching any buzzsaw is a death sentence, especially in the later stages. This becomes frustrating when you seemingly get killed or get past them by random chance rather than skill.

Secondly, the controls. Every attack is controlled by one button/key (I used a controller, but you still use one key for all attacks if using the keyboard), and the game often gets confused by what you're trying to do, which inevitably leads to your death. Using a controller, pressing B does a kick that sends enemies flying sideways. Holding B does a kick that sends enemies straight up in the air. Pressing left/right and B at the same time does a dash attack. Holding left/right and pressing B does your claw attack. Holding left/right for a second or two and pressing B does your dash attack as well. See the problem yet? Too many times, you press right/left and B meaning to do a claw attack and you do a dash attack. Other times, you press them at the same time and it does a claw attack instead of a dash attack. Sometimes you hold in left/right for a second or two and press B and it will do a dash attack, sometimes it does a claw attack. Sometimes you let go of left/right and press B trying to kick and it does a claw attack instead. Sometimes you hold right/left and press B and it does a kick instead. You're essentially at the mercy of whether the game decides to do the attack you wanted or not.

Wall jumping is also an issue. You can double jump from the ground in the game. You can also attach to walls if you go toward them. If you jump off a wall, you may jump again midair. If you fall off a wall, you get a single jump to use midair. In order to jump off of a wall in the opposite direction (Which you will do constantly in the game), you must press the opposite direction and the jump button at the same time. This will give you the intial gain in height from the wall jump, plus another jump in midair to get to where you have to go. The problem is that the game can't tell whether you're jumping off a wall in the opposite direction, or falling off of it. If you press the opposite direction of a wall, you will fall off of it instantly. So, if you do not press the opposite direction of the wall and the jump button at the exact same milisecond, the game will interpret it as you wanting to fall off the wall. This inevitably leads to your death when you're trying to double jump off of a wall to some platform, and you press the jump button but you're now out of jumps, as the game interpreted your jumping off the wall as you deciding to fall off the wall. There needs to be some sort of delay for falling off the wall... or how about this? How about simply allowing the player to assign a different button for falling off the wall. I should be able to hold in the opposite direction to get ready for my jump without the game deciding that it means I want to fall off of the wall to my death. There are too many deaths caused by this, which again is decided by random chance rather than skill.

Lastly, wall attaching. The game seemingly decides at random whether you want to attach yourself to a wall or not. Sometimes I'll be right next to a wall wanting to attach to it, and it won't attach. Other times, I'll jump in the direction of a wall, not touch it, and the game will still decide I touched it and wanted to attach to it. Other times, I'll fall off a wall trying to fall straight down and the game will re-attach me to the wall, even though I never pressed a button in that direction. Other times, you'll fall straight down perfectly fine. Again, this inevitably leads to your death through random chance rather than skill.

A good game ruined by terrible controls, not much more to say about it.
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10 of 12 people (83%) found this review helpful
8.5 hrs on record
Posted: March 11
A very challenging platformer with good controls. Not a casual game.
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18 of 30 people (60%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
1.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 9
Nope. Bought this game on a whim a while ago because it looked like a difficult platformer, and I'm crazy, so I love that ♥♥♥♥! Anyway, I spent a little bit of time with it and I hate it. Can't even bring myself to finish it, which is the first time I've ever done that with a Steam game.

The first problem was that I couldn't even get the game to start. After some fiddling, I found out I had to lower my computer's resolution to 1024x768 just to get the game to work. Trying to change the in-game resolution to 1920x1080 did nothing, as the game suddenly stopped recognizing input from my Xbox controller after I switched it and it asked me to press A before it reverted back to 1024x768. Goodie.

But technical problems aside, I'll tell you why I really hate the game. It's not the art, the music, or the level design. It's the controls and core gameplay mechanics. If you're going to make a difficult 2D platformer, the first thing you have to do is nail the controls. In this kind of game, if you don't have good controls, you have nothing. I'm going to use Super Meat Boy as an example, because in my opinion that's the most comparable and best indie 2D platformer not called Limbo.

Super Meat Boy is an example of a 2D platformer done right. Tough as nails, but the difficulty comes from the level design, not the controls. The basic control mechanics are very simple and work well. Meat Boy moves, hold a button and he runs, he jumps, he slides down a wall if he's pressed against it, and he can jump off a wall. Simple. Meat Boy can have extreme lateral jumping movement, but once you get the feel for it, you're in control.

My entire time playing They Bleed Pixels, I felt like I wasn't in control. You can double jump in this game, starting either from the ground or from a wall. But there were so many times when I would jump off a wall and press A to jump again, only to have my character not jump and fall to her death. This caused me great confusion and I figured out that it was because I pushed the thumbstick away from the wall a split second before I pressed the jump button, causing my character to come off the wall without me noticing before I jumped. Because you can only jump once when you're already in the air, I pressed the jump button, thinking I was jumping off the wall and that I had another one at my disposal, but in actuality, I was using my only in-air jump. Meat Boy only has one jump, which you can only do from a surface. But wall jumping in Meat Boy never causes this problem, because the designer implemented a half a second of delay in pushing the thumbstick away from the wall before Meat Boy actually comes off the wall. It's such a simple tweak, but it makes all the difference in the world, especially when half your game is jumping off walls.

The other big problem in They Bleed Pixels is that about half of the ground surfaces in the game are "icy", meaning you slide across them. The sheer number of these surfaces in the game is annoying enough; if you want to have a special section or two that has this, no problem, but it's literally throughout every level. To make matters worse, they don't even act like an icy surface in every other platformer ever made. In a normal platformer, you slide across an icy surface at a speed that matches your momentum. Eventually you'll start to slow down. If you try to move in the other direction while sliding, it will take an extra second or two to get your footing. If you maneuver the thumbstick properly, you can slow to a dead stop on the ice. Sound familiar? They Bleed Pixels chooses to handle this mechanic in a completely ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ way: You can slow down on the ice, but you can never completely stop, meaning if you're on an icy surface, you're always moving, so you have little time to decide where to go to next; if you jump straight up and fall straight down onto an icy surface with no sideways momentum, you will immediately slide at a quick speed in whichever direction you're facing upon landing. Again, these are very simple control issues that needed to be fixed before this game was released.

The checkpoint system is also ridiculous. You have a checkpoint meter that fills up when you kill enemies or collect orbs, and when it's full, you can lay down a checkpoint wherever you want. And what button do you press to lay your checkpoint? None! That's right, this game automatically does it for you after you stand still for a few seconds. But it won't lay the checkpoint down if there are any enemies or environmental hazards around you. Purple energy grows out of you in a circle to check your surroundings, and if the energy touches anything, it won't lay it down. The problem is there are always enemies and environmental hazards around you, considering the enemies chase you throughout the entire level. So while you're busy fighting enemies and trying to survive, this annoying purple glow keeps pulsing out of you and telling you that you can't use your checkpoint. This do-it-yourself checkpoint system devolves into only being able to lay down the checkpoint in special areas that purposely have no hazards or enemies. So why not have your checkpoint be a flag in one of these areas like every other game?

Anyway, difficulty in a game should come from navigating clever level designs and enemy encounters, not wrestling with the poor gameplay mechanics and systems.

tl;dr This game is almost as bad as Gone Home.
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