They Bleed Pixels is a fiendishly difficult action platformer inspired by H.P. Lovecraft and classic horror.
User reviews: Very Positive (1,216 reviews)
Release Date: Aug 29, 2012

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

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Recommended By Curators

"Showed at PAX Prime 2013 - Fiendishly difficult Lovecraftian horror platformer."
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January 4

They Bleed Pixels Speedrun at Awesome Games Done Quick 2015




Watch the current speedrun champion Squidclaw do a full run through They Bleed Pixels’ story mode with developer commentary streamed live Monday night (12:15am EST) during the Awesome Games Done Quick 2015 speedrunning marathon for charity.

Squidclaw holds the current record for a full story run at just over 30 minutes and five deaths and his playthroughs are a wonder to behold. Miguel Sternberg level designer and artist behind They Bleed Pixels will be doing live commentary of the run and we’re providing a prize pack including a t-shirt, a rare Little Black Envelope Edition of They Bleed Pixels and other physical goodies.

You can catch the run at 11:50pm EST January 5th (UPDATE: 12:15am Jan 6th) at http://gamesdonequick.com and donate directly here.

Exact time is subject to last minute change so check the schedule.

As an extra bonus you can pick up They Bleed Pixels at 80% off on Steam from Jan 4th - 6th!

AGDQ 2015 is running from January 4th -10th and is raising money for The Prevent Cancer Foundation this year. So go watch some games done quick and donate to charity! ːtbphappyː

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Reviews

"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

Steam Big Picture

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.

Story:
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 guest levels from indie game developers based on their own creations: They Bleed Ponycorns, They Bleed Stardust.

  • 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, online leaderboards for speed and high score as well as over 100 skill-based achievements. There's lots to aim for after you've completed the game.

  • 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

    Minimum:
    • OS:Windows XP or later
    • Processor:CPU 1.73GHz Intel Duo Core
    • Memory:1.5 GB RAM
    • Graphics:NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT (XNA 4.0 Hi-Def compatible card, Pixel Shader 3.0, Vertex Shader 3.0) (Integrated Video Cards not recommended)
    • DirectX®:9.0c
    • Hard Drive:350 MB HD space
    • Sound:DirectX-compatible sound card
    • Additional:Controller Support: Microsoft Xbox 360 Controller or other XInput compatible controller.
    Recommended:
    • Processor:CPU 2.6Hz Intel Quad Core
    • Memory:2 GB RAM
    • Graphics:NVIDIA® GeForce 8800 or ATI Radeon® X1900 (XNA 4.0 Hi-Def compatible card, Pixel Shader 3.0, Vertex Shader 3.0) (Integrated Video Cards not recommended)
Helpful customer reviews
20 of 29 people (69%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
37.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 1, 2014
Pros: clever level design, fancy fight moves, helpful checkpoint system, beautiful pixel art/animation, John-Carpenterish synthy disco music.

Cons: Finicky fight control and jump mechanic take some time getting used to; expect lots of misfired moves and missed double jumps until you nail it. Levels get tough real fast (being rectified by a rewrite as we speak.)

I usually don't care much for precision platformers, but TBP was a welcome exception. The main reason was, cruel as the game may be, it plays remarkably fair. The enemies and deadly traps communicate clearly to you with visual and aural cues, with anticipation time long enough for you to react. So when I died, I knew it was due to my poor judgement or execution, that I could do better next time. It reminded me of the first 2D Prince of Persia, in a good way.

Also, the dynamic checkpoint system comes in real handy - you can set one down anywhere (with reasonable limitation and cost,) which effectively split a level into shorter, manageable chunks that you can practice on. It's kept between game sessions as well, so you can always pick up just where you left off anytime. I certainly wouldn't have lasted without it.

And when all else fails, you can always unleash your trusty claws and vent your frustration on the nameless things that wander about in your way. Which also grants you more checkpoints then health refills, so it all adds up to a surprisingly encouraging play experience, despite all the bloodbath and body counts. Make no mistake; you *will* die often - and so will the enemies. It's all fair and square, and there's certain grim beauty to it.

I heartily recommend TBP to anyone with an intrepid mind who takes pleasure in the mesmerising recursion of experimentation, realization, and execution. Practice does make perfect!
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7 of 8 people (88%) found this review helpful
2.0 hrs on record
Posted: February 25
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPKynP1netI&feature=youtu.be

They Bleed Pixels perfectly combines precision platforming with intense fast paced hack and slash combat. This gorgeously gore-filled 2D platformer will push you to your breaking point with its incredibly challenging level design and merciless enemies.

The game places you in control of a young school girl who stumbles across a mystical book that places a curse upon her that causes her to morph into a mutant purple demon with “Edward Scissor-hand”-esque blades for hands when she falls asleep. She then enters a beautifully animated horror filled nightmare that is filled with monsters and creatures of the night. She is then put in the unfortunate dilemma of fighting her way out of these nightmares before she’s sucked into them permanently.

The artwork is very well done and beautifully blends pixel art with paper and ink textures, the game looks especially stunning when you brutally kill an enemy by pushing them into a saw blade and have their bloody pixels sparkle and decorate your screen. The dark atmospheric environments help set the gothic tone of the game. The game also features a dark groovy electronic music soundtrack that pairs perfectly with the artwork and helps sets the games tone.

The games combat system is incredibly simplistic, yet at the same time very deep. While there aren’t any long lengthy combos to chain together or memorize, there are plenty of ways to kill enemies. All attacks are executed by clicking one mouse button, but the timing, direction, and ways you interact with the environment provide an ample amount of ways to brutally vanquish the enemies. One of the most interesting aspects of the game is the way that the checkpoint system works; Instead of having set predetermined checkpoints laid out in the levels, you have to earn your checkpoints by filling the meter at the top of the screen by collecting orbs and killing enemies. The more brutally you kill an enemy, the more points you get towards your checkpoint meter, so creativity is certainly rewarded. This checkpoint system helps take away from some of the difficulty related frustration associated with precision platformers of having to replay the same sections of levels over and over, but the game still offers a great level of difficulty.

They Bleed Pixels is undoubtedly one of the finer platforming experiences you will find on PC. Offering a gorgeous art style, incredibly challenging level design, fast paced combat system, innovative checkpoint system, and dark and adorable story and characters. While you will die repeatedly and be forced to play levels over and over, you will feel incredibly satisfied with yourself when you manage to overcome the games challenging difficulty.


http://noobsthatplaygames.com/
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27 of 46 people (59%) found this review helpful
6.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 31, 2014
An excellent addition to the "hard but fair" platformer genre. The save system is a meter that fills up based on performance and which lets you put save points wherever you like. It's genius. The art direction and character designs are great and it's got a female protagonist. What more could you want?
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19 of 36 people (53%) found this review helpful
9.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 24, 2014
+Art (design of backgrounds, monsters, character)
+Music (gets creepier when dead)
+Concept (Idea is good)
+Extra Maps (prolongs game lifespan)
-Level Design (platforms and arrangement aren't anything special)
-Controls (almost emulates broken controller, and how functions are mapped to "the button" is silly)
-Replayability (does nothing to make you want to play again... not even the scores)
-Execution of Concept (fell flat; disappointing)

Overall: It's okay, just make sure that you don't get done in by reviews that shower it with praise without pointing out its drawbacks.

Recommend?: Qualified yes (get it when on sale, or get it if you exclusively play platformers)
Don't Recommend?: to people who do not have much free time on their hands...
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6 of 12 people (50%) found this review helpful
16.2 hrs on record
Posted: September 30, 2014
Straightforward controls, straightforward physics, straightforward enemies.

The complexity of the game comes from the level design, and it's brilliant. Instead of making any one mechanic too complicated, they string together a series of simple and intuitive mechanics together to make something complex.

The difficulty on the first run is pretty stanard in the precision platformer genre. You die a lot as you get aquainted with the game, and the parts that seem hard are all because you're generally still improving. After you've done a section it gets significantly easier less because you've memorized the level and more because you've just gotten better at the game, although knowing a level layout doesn't hurt.

The game also handles replayability extremely well. You have two ways to play the game "better". Speed running and score running. Both require you to essentially give up on placing checkpoints, which help you survive in your initial runs. But how you approach a level in is vastly different depending on what you're going for.

Speed and score runs require memorization, but that's because figuring out what to do is half of it.

Speed runs are all about avoiding combat and getting through the levels quickly. Occasionally that means taking damage to rocket yourself across the screen, and actively avoiding the free point orbs.

Score runs, on the other hand, are all about forcing the AI to do what you want, then using the map to perform the most point intensive combos. The combos aren't obscure either, which is refreshing. Each attack has a clear job and is easy to perform, and the map is what decides the best combo.

My only gripe is that there's no map editor.
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260 of 299 people (87%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
7.8 hrs on record
Posted: February 7, 2014
Super Meat Boy, I Wanna Be The Guy and H.P. Lovecraft walk into a bar.
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267 of 337 people (79%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
1.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 27, 2013
Retro menstrual cycle simulator.
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77 of 82 people (94%) found this review helpful
49.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 31, 2013
Really fun game with sharp and simple controls, a great soundtrack and over a hundred achievements.

Easy to learn, hard to master. You will die a lot, but that isn't a hindrance since you can place the checkpoint practically anywhere and then relocate it. If you are going for 100% completion, you will have to learn tricks like how to keep combos alive to maximize your score and how to overcome extreme frustration when you are trying to get through a stage without dying for the 100th time, only to end up dying with the goal in sight.

Gamepad strongly recommended.
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122 of 151 people (81%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 29, 2014
like meatboy, but easier because they give you enemies to take your misdirected agression out on.
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68 of 85 people (80%) found this review helpful
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 11, 2014
To be clear, I enjoy this game. BUT. I would not recomend to most gamers.
I've played a lot of hard games, and enjoyed them, This game included.

However many of those games offered the difficulty as an option, for ranks, collectable and the like. There were usually various strats to meeting these conditions. Hidden routes, different usable mechanics, etc.

I've gotten about halfway though This game as of this review, and the levels are set up in such a way that there is little freedom as to how you play the game, The game offers you a ton of moves, but demands that you use them to traverse in such a specific way, to the point that I feel I'm no longer in control as a player. As if I'm trying to win at simon says, and the colors are encypted. This gets frustrating fast, demanding lots of dedication, just to make any progression.

Again, I'm not saying the game is bad, But I just simply cannot recomend it to the average gamer.
Its gets that frustrating.
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51 of 59 people (86%) found this review helpful
6.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 25, 2014
They Bleed Pixels is somewhat reminiscient of Super Meat Boy (challenging platformer with tight controls, lots of blood, lots of saws) plus a fighting element.

Good:
* 2spooky4me aesthetic
* Solid gameplay
* Save point system makes it relatively forgiving for a hardcore platformer.

Bad:
* I'm garbage at platformers
* No option to change resolution
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34 of 42 people (81%) found this review helpful
4.4 hrs on record
Posted: June 23, 2014
Dark, Cthulu-inspired, ridiculously hard, side-scrolling platformer, and I love it. It can be brutal trying to get through some of the levels, but it is such a satisfying game.
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34 of 42 people (81%) found this review helpful
31.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 28, 2013
I do recommend this game. But ther are few things you should be aware of before buying.
It's insanely difficult for average player. Me, for instance. If you are not careful you will die a lot. Soundtrack is great and it is just right for this game but I can hardly hear it because I die to often. By now I have 2 levels to complete. It took overal 15 hours and not all of those hours were pleasant. Also I highly recommend a gamepad for this game.
This game will put your hand-eye coordination to the test and not only that. Please note that only 4.5% of people who bought it completed it.
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22 of 26 people (85%) found this review helpful
17.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 30, 2013
TBP is precision platformer with "one button" (also makes use of the directional keys) brawling and combo mechanics, also notable is a checkpoint system that allows the player to choose when and where to make a save point.

The look of the game is a retro pixel feast, I personally can't say no to anything pixelated and think it looks fantastic, more than enough definition to always be able to see what is going on around you, what is a baddie and what is a goodie.

Controls are very sharp and very simple to pick up, you only have to worry about directions, attack and jump. Attacks change based on if you are holding a movement key in a direction and if you are holding or tap. All in all there's a dash, a kick, a swipe, a launcher, an air juggler, a mid-air to ground dash, and a mid-air-combo swipe. Together these combine with the combo system and the environmental hazards, that chop up you and foes with equal fervor, to make huge pools of bleeding pixels and gibs that drip and bounce all over the beautiful place.

Spending your time double jumping or wall hanging over and around a million spikes or razor discs is a joy... once you finally make it. But there's no blaming the game for your 180 deaths and 60 minutes to get through a 5 minute level (yes, I saw your screenshot, well done you). Once you've mastered the systems of movement and figured out how to chain together huge combos, the real fluidity of the game unlocks and you are free to maneuver yourself to the top of the leader-boards.

Collecting orbs or killing baddies you fill you checkpoint meter, once full you can stand still and as long as there aren't any obstructions (bad guys, razor discs) you can create a check point to return to when you die.

There are no other check points so without these you will be zapped right back to the start of the level at death. Your character does have three hearts, getting hit by a baddie or touching an obstacle will cost you one, lose em and die, drop a check point and they refill and you can move on.

It's an interesting system but you can quickly see the only real difference between this and a standard checkpoint system is that the game is telling you where you can't check point instead of where you can, also as you become good at the combo system you can make almost constant check points, but your good enough at that point you wont need to or even want to as your score is doubled when you are holding a checkpoint but don't use it. The level recap screen also gives a bonus for not using any checkpoints at all!

Some fun extras are included for every 3 out of the 100 plus achievements you unlock you can unlock a piece of artwork, some concept, some photoshop manipulation, some original art post process, all very very well done and a treat for the eyes. If you pick up the collectors edition you also get the sound track to the game on your hard drive, which is also quite good. 10 hours already I'm totally not sick of it, it's even caught in my head a bit. Especially how it slows down a little as you die again and again.

The game may be a bit short on levels but at 9.99 and with so many actual achievement achievements and competitive leader-boards it generates a lot more value. Also included are two levels that have been re-skinned by other developers/game makers with more promised on the way as coming soon.

Again, They Bleed Pixels may not be for you... Do you like cursing? Do you break things or hurt family members feelings when you get angry in a game? Even if those things are true, the elation at completing a level and meeting a goal you set for yourself (like not dying or... only dying 10 times, or beating a speed run time) is what games like this are for, and this one does it quite well.

There will be pixels!
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55 of 85 people (65%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
3.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 6, 2014
My first impression of They Bleed Pixels was a good one. I enjoyed the style, as well as the cute story that unfolded. The combat is interesting and it certainly feels satisfying to kick your enemies up in the air, in to a sawblade. Its really fun to dash to an enemy and proceed to stab stab stab like no tommorw. The music is nice and it makes me feel like I'm playing a platformer on a DOS system, which felt nostagic. It also has an interesting mechanic that allows you to create your own checkpoints. As I said my first impressions were positive, however, this game is ruined by overly twitchy controls and, in my opinion, sloppy level design.

Its really disappointing too, because I really wanted to like this game. I love the art style, and the combat is fun, but I just couldn't get past these huge faults. The game is difficult as you might guess, which is fine. I do enjoy being presented with a challenge. I enjoyed Super Meat Boy for the same reasons. The early levels of this game aren't to bad, but the further you get in the game the more it requires you to pull off precise and complex maneuvers. You'll have an extremely hard time with this, because a mere nudge of the joystick sends the main character flying across the screen. The controls are just so twitchy. Whats worse is some levels have slippery floors, so now you have to deal with slippery floors, and the overly sensitive controls. To be fair I'm using a Logitech controller, and maybe it plays different based on that, but I've never had this problem in other games.

The level design is sketchy in some places, but a majority of the levels I encountered have a long drop with a pit of spikes at the bottom. This can be frustrating because if you make a mistake, you have to watch the entire fall until you hit the spikes, which doesn't sound like much, but trust me after several deaths watching that fall will test your patience. You can't skip it either you have to wait till you die before you can start over. You are given three points of health, but 80% of the time you'll die instantly (Especially to sawblades, they knock you all over the place, draining all three points in seconds). Having that extra health usually just results in dragging out your death, and I find myself just mashing the revive button once I fall in to a pit of spikes I can't escape.

I sincerely wish I could tell you I enjoyed this game, but Those finer points just destroyed the experience for me. I wouldn't reccommend picking up this game unless its on sale and you really really like the style. Otherwise its not worth your money.
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18 of 21 people (86%) found this review helpful
22.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 5, 2013
They Bleed Pixels is one of my favorite platformers. TBP is really heavy on complex double jumping and wall sliding to avoid ever-present deathtraps. It incorporates a decent combo-system for fighting enemies, very reminiscent of a fighting game, which makes it really fun to get working with an arcade stick. don't let the innocence of the main character fool you, its got tons of "gore", blood pixels gets splattered everywhere, it's pretty cool. I would say, solid 8 out of 10.
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19 of 23 people (83%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
18.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 27, 2013
Do you like pain? Do you like masochism? Have you ever thought your life is so easy that you wanted something to show you how it is to die over and over again while still looking rather charming and giving you the motivation to continue? Well this is the game for you!

Tons of challenging levels, extremely precise movements, which is good cause you'll need them, awesome combos and a lovely art style :) A very good game if you don't mind a challenge :)

Addictive as hell too :)
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15 of 16 people (94%) found this review helpful
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 13, 2013
Did you think Super Meat Boy was too easy? Do you hate yourself? Do you enjoy the thought of kicking nightmare creatures into buzzsaws? If you answered yes to any of these questions, They Bleed Pixels might just be the game for you! It's a super tight 2D Platformer with satisfyingly infuriating level design.
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44 of 68 people (65%) found this review helpful
11.8 hrs on record
Posted: July 7, 2014
I wanted this game for a long time because I liked its style and presentation. When it went on sale I eargly grabbed it and...was just so disappointed. I was looking forward to a challenging plat-former with an interesting visual style. Well I certainly got something "Challenging" but for all the wrong reasons. The game is artificialy difficult. The whole thing is basically like those Super Mario hacks where the game is almost impossibly hard because the person put a lot of effort into making sure you get screwed over at every turn. I couldn't tell you how many times I died because something popped out at the last second from hiding, and would demand the reflexes of a coked up 8 year old to dodge on the first try. Which bassicaly turns large portions of the game into less of a plat-former and more of a memorization puzzle with the added difficulty of having to jump around.

The game employs a unique check point system, when you have absorbed enough blood you are allowed to drop down a check point which heals you and allows you to continue from that sport if you die. The only limiting factors are that you can't be moving, and can't be near a saw blade or an enemy. And because of those two factors a good portion of the time these check points were useless because the developers would place a random saw blade, or cover EVERYTHING in slippery goo to make sure you can't actually stop moving and drop a check point. Forcing you to do large portions of a level without being able to employ a system the developers put in. In some cases I wondered why the check point system existed because 80% of the level was created so I couldn't drop a check point at all. It's pretty frustrating to have that purple glow around you indicating you could place down a check point and take a breather, only to notice that there is NO where to drop it down.

Jumping is a big problem. Under normal circumstance the jump and double jump work fine but when you attempt to double jump off a wall, if you do it wrong, the double jump fails. As far as I can tell its a timing issue, you need to cling to the wall for the right period of time to be able to jump off it an then perform a second jump. It's only a fraction of a second difference between getting your double jump and not. Normally this isn’t a big deal but it you're getting into a groove, or you NEED to go fast to get past a part this becomes a huge problem. It turns some parts of the game into an annoying game of timing the wall jumps juuuuuuuust right so you're still moving quickly, but cling to the wall long enough to perform the second jump you need.

Combat can be fun at times; kicking an enemy into a saw blade is immensely satisfying. However this part of the game also is greatly flawed. the developers like to throw lots of flying enemies at you while you're performing difficult jumps. Which make sense in a game with combat, only they don’t give you any way to dispatch these enemies, forcing you to try and complete already difficult platforming while also dodign enemy attacks. Usually I had to get part way through a tricky jump situation, then double back so I could dispatch the flying enemy who followed me. It made difficult jumps tedious and frustrating. As for normal combat, everything gets the kick. Really, there isn't much more complexity to the game than that. Kick an enemy into a trap or kick them into the air and air juggle them. That's as complex as the game gets. Even when fighting multiple enemies just kick them all into a corner, kick them all into the air, and air juggle them all. At first combat was fun but after a while the lack of variety became really boring. Most of the time if I didn’t need a check point I avoided combat because despite how easy it can be sometimes to dispatch enemies, other times its really hard because of the broken controls.

The game has no invisibility frames so its not only possible you can get killed in a few seconds by one enemy who got in a bunch of hits or a trap you bumped into, its a guarantee its going to happen. And the knock back from taking damage is ridiculous. Its not so bad for enemies, but for traps it makes no sense and is extremely frustrating. If you land on spikes you jump up and way from them by about 3 pixels, meaning you will die on those spikes because the odds of being able to jump away are slim. Its pretty pathetic dying on a single set of spikes because being damaged by them doesn throw you far enough away from them to actually do anything about it. Saw blades are the total opposite, one of those babies touches you you go FLYING! and its pretty much a guarantee that if the blade doesn’t kill you, where ever it sends you will.

The game is challenging, yes, but because of bad design. The entire game is just a test of how perfect you are able to play the game, because yes, you HAVE to be perfect in what you do for many parts of the game. No room for error, or creativity. You have to do it exactly as the developer intended. It makes for a frustrating and boring experience. I’m glad I got it on sale and didn't waste more money on it.
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32 of 47 people (68%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 2, 2013
Crap controls ruined the fun of what looked like a really fun game. It's a "precision" platformer where your character slides around an awful lot after moving. Also, one button combat means you'll randomly charge into spike walls when trying to kick enemies around.

Overall, an exercise in frustration. I'd recommend steering clear of this one.
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