Life of Pixel - 13 Game Machines in 1 Epic Adventure Game! Journey across the expertly-recreated worlds of more than a dozen vintage gaming systems, from Commodore 64 to Gameboy to Snes! A tour-de-force of 8-bit and 16-bit gaming...
User reviews:
Very Positive (223 reviews) - 84% of the 223 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Oct 22, 2014

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May 7


Xymjak has finally taken the title from JM Viking, a title JM Viking has held for about 7 months.

Well done Xymjak for this immense even more almost impossible achievement.

The lead may be less then a minute, but at these times it is still an amazing accomplishment. And there is even a video, check out Xymjak's post in General Discussions.

Congratulations again Xymjak

p.s. again I am late with this announcement, but this now happens so rarely.

0 comments Read more

February 15

minor patch 1.20

fix so that 'Beam Me Up' and 'Professor Pixel Pal' are still sent if you're not connected to steam at the time you earn them.

0 comments Read more


“Life of Pixel oozes retro nostalgia at every turn.”
9 out of 10 – CultNoise Magazine

“I don’t mean to gush, but I cannot say enough good things about this great throwback title that nails neo-retro.”
5 out of 5 – Gaming History 101

About This Game

Life of Pixel - 13 Game Machines in 1 Epic Adventure Game!

Journey across the expertly-recreated worlds of more than a dozen vintage gaming systems, from Commodore 64 to Gameboy to Snes! Life of Pixel takes you on a historical tour-de-force across the rich landscape of 8-bit and 16-bit gaming.

Chock-full of tricks & traps, double jump challenges, gravity inversion, special power-ups, puzzles you must vanquish the enemy pixels and bosses who try to thwart you throughout your quest. Life of Pixel will show you the coolness of video gaming and the history of where it all began and how it evolved.


Inspired by the 8 & 16-bit Eras
Take a journey with the wizened Professor Pixel and revisit the golden age of gaming. Featuring a massive variety of beautiful pixel art from classic 8 & 16-bit game systems, such as Amiga, SNES, Mega Drive, Commodore 64, Apple II, Game Boy, NES, Atari 2600, ZX Spectrum & Master System!

Revisit Classic Games
Look out for nudges to console classics like Mega Man, Castlevania, Zelda, Streets of Rage, Shinobi, Metroid, Wonder Boy, Pitfall, Sonic & more. Revisit computer legends such as Turrican, Uridium, Jet Set Willy, James Pond, Rick Dangerous, Prince of Persia, Impossible Mission, Exile & lots more.

Loads of Secrets!
Dozens of special secrets to uncover and experience. From silly little touches through to great big mega-epic secrets! Look out for jetpacks, bubbles to fly, trampolines, hidden rooms and maps, aeroplanes, skateboards and even a Sinclair C5!

Awesome Power-ups
Special power-ups and equipment with levels featuring puzzles and secrets only accessible using Pixel's new found abilities. Fire pixel from a cannon, reach high areas by bouncing on a trampoline, use the Super Potion to defeat enemies, smash the baddies with the mine cart, deploy the Bomb to destroy walls and uncover hidden secrets!

Chip Music Goodness
We've worked with amazing chip musicians such as Eric Shumaker, Gavin Harrison, Rob Lynch, Ashton Morris and others to create a fantastic chip music soundtrack for the game - and not forgetting the sound effects too! All audio created with either the original hardware or VST based emulation.

Steam Leader Boards
Compete online against other players from all over the world to earn the best level completion times!

Steam Achievements
Earn your dues and show what you are made of, while honing your platforming skills.


Recommended by Shuhei Yoshida ‏@YOSP
(President of Sony's Worldwide Studios)

"Really loving LIFE OF PIXEL (aka semi SUPERMEATBOY for VITA)! Playing the Atari 2600 levels is like stepping back in time!!:)"
David Jaffe @davidscottjaffe
(Video Game Designer/Director)

"Life of Pixel is brilliantly clever"
Punk and Lizard

"Life of Pixel is a likeable precision platformer with a fantastic visual style"

"Need a new game for your PS Vita? I recommend the awesome Life Of Pixel."
RetroGamer Magazine

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP+
    • Processor: SSE2 instruction set support
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: DX9 (shader model 2.0) capabilities; generally everything made since 2004 should work
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Storage: 500 MB available space
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.6+
    • Processor: SSE2 instruction set support
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: DX9 (shader model 2.0) capabilities; generally everything made since 2004 should work
    • Storage: 500 MB available space
    • OS: Ubuntu 14.04
    • Processor: Intel i5 processor or higher
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Storage: 500 MB available space
Customer reviews
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Very Positive (223 reviews)
Recently Posted
( 0.9 hrs on record )
Posted: June 29
It's everything I want - just the right mix of retro to fuel my nostalgia and modern style not to frustrate me too much :D
Let's face it, we all remember fondly our speccy/commodore/amstrad time, and if we are honest our memory is a bit photoshopped :D :D

Nice touch was educational part, and although i know all of these facts, i still went through all the text again :)

Definitely worth the money.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 0.6 hrs on record )
Posted: June 25
Wow what a great game and idea!! Theres so many different consoles and computers you can choose from to play. The game play is like a classic platformer. If you are into retro games, check it out.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
∝ JCautom
( 1.2 hrs on record )
Posted: June 23
The concept of the game is very good, going through different stages in different consoles, feeling the progression of technology while also feeling nostalgia. It is interesting to see a little bit about the history of these consoles.

However this game is very bland, it lacks any strong feature of the games that used to be on these consoles, it feels more like something you would be playing on your smartphone rather than your pc.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 8.4 hrs on record )
Posted: April 30
Very good platformer!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 26.1 hrs on record )
Posted: April 22
Simple, yet difficult. If you're sentimental about gaming in the 80s and 90s, this is for you. Or if not. It's also for you. Just play it. You'll thank me.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
( 2.8 hrs on record )
Posted: March 17
Though it would seem self-evident from its nostalgia based advertisement, proclamations of historical knowledge, and general retro theming, I remain unclear as to what Life of Pixel actually wanted to be.

As a minimalistic platformer aiming to present itself through the lens of 13 dated gaming platforms, the immediate answer would seem that Life of Pixel is trying to encapsulate the evolution of gaming from its inception up through the 16-bit era. Except that here that evolution is personified as solely the product of graphical improvement without any of the underlying design principles of a particular era. Life of Pixel would propose to say that gaming’s heritage is rooted solely in the capabilities of a given platforms hardware, spouting off wiki-like tech sheets as if the only significant element of any given period of gaming is how many pixels a machine can push.

This seems an especially shallow understanding gaming’s history, because it neglects the ways in which those recognizable graphical aesthetics were so entirely linked to and created out of the ways developers were forced to compromise in all areas of design based on the limitations of the machine they were working with. One can’t begin to accurately recreate the technological development of videogames without first understanding how, in the presence of such limited resources, developers had to devise intricate and convoluted workarounds in order to have their games actually run on such low-powered hardware.

At no point does Life of Pixel manage to shake its artificial nature. It attempts to step back in time but one foot is always stuck firmly in the presence, creating a bizarre dissonance between the era Life of Pixel is attempting to replicate and the one it actually exists in. But let’s suppose Life of Pixel only ever aspired to chronicle the visual progression of games, entirely removed from any other variable but the most iconic graphical style of a platform’s lifespan. In this Life of Pixel fares much better, often coming close to approximating a memorable historical look even as everything underneath it feels wholly out-of-place.

But if Life of Pixel is solely a visual showcase then it is again betrayed by its adherence to modernity. Though it may appear to align with the graphical identity of whichever platform it is attempting to recreate itself upon, it doesn’t go far enough to actually represent that platform authentically. The resolution is too high, the frame rate and animations too smooth, and the amount of information on-screen too extensive to feel believable. It is unlikely many would like to play a modern game running at the same resolution as the Apple II or C-64, but with the graphics of those systems being so defined by the same capabilities that Life of Pixel ignores it is hard to accept it as a legitimate visual chronology of gaming history, rather than merely another game attempting to ape the appearance of games long past in order to sell itself on the basis of nostalgia.

But let’s again qualify Life of Pixel’s attempts at historical recreation by considering it as its own game that simply wishes to borrow the aesthetics of gaming heritage in such a way as to be recognizable, rather than genuine. Once removed from its attempts at creating a technological timeline, it seems crucial to consider whether Life of Pixel’s various aesthetics can really be considered retro anymore. Within the context of the game they are of course attempting to align with a particular era of gaming, but once we move beyond that (for reasons already discussed), what separates Life of Pixel aesthetic from any number of modern 8 and 16-bit games? With how extensively modern games (especially within the indie spectrum) have revisited and repurposed graphical styles originally synonymous with 80’s and 90’s game systems, it feels as if we have long since moved beyond the point where every gaming using pixel-art should be categorized as retro. I feel the distinction is necessary because while we continue to view pixel-art as inherently dated its usage will always seem driven by nostalgia, rather than being an intentional aesthetic decision chosen for reasons beyond its historical context.

So returning to Life of Pixel with this in mind, setting aside its middling attempts at historical authenticity, we are left with an entirely inoffensive but unremarkable platformer. Its visuals might be varied, but the art direction is routinely mundane, seemingly driven through a desire to exist within a given style of pixel-art but not do anything interesting with it. There is a solidity to Life of Pixel’s mechanics, but also a pervasive tepidity brought about by its simplicity and tedium. Early levels are dull for their basic, tutorial-like nature, where later levels are tiresome in their difficulty, becoming larger and more prone to cheap deaths while retaining the same meandering level designs of the more manageable early game.

From all fronts it would appear Life of Pixel fails to find its footing. Its historical pursuits lack nuance, its visual replication proves inauthentic, and beneath all its appeals to nostalgia there is little to find but an overwhelmingly ordinary platformer, becoming then indistinguishable from so many other pixel platformers. And I don’t think that’s necessarily fair to Life of Pixel because it is at least trying for something more substantial in trying to pay tribute to gaming’s heritage, but its attempts are so sterile and superficial that they provide little to distract from an otherwise decidedly plain experience.

You can read more of my writing on Kritiqal.
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( 18.0 hrs on record )
Posted: March 4
Pleasantly surprised. Tight controls, charming music and a panoply of systems to (re)visit. It's hard enough that it's challenging, without being absurdly hard (like Super Meat Boy, and the like), at least until around 50% of the game. Had a very nice time revisiting many different systems, including the Spectrum, which I love.

The game's biggest fault seems to be the a very sudden difficulty spike that happens on the later systems (from the SNES onwards). This spike has much more to do with level size than with level design or mechanics. I personally feel that the bite sized levels are much more fun that the latter 3 minute long jumping sessions where most hits mean insta-death. I unfortunately still wasn't able to unlock 1 of the 3 hidden worlds. Currently at 79% completion and have serious doubts I'll get to 100% but I'll try pushing for 90%!

EDIT: Got to 100%!
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( 1.0 hrs on record )
Posted: February 28
Very hard at some points, but really captures the visual style and quirks of each console. Worked great on my Xbox 640 controller! Now we just need Life of Polygon, so we can explore the N64 and Playstation era. :]
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( 18.8 hrs on record )
Posted: February 24
This game is literally wonderful for the first playthrough. Not great but very enjoyable :D
Full Review-
Ok, so I'm going to be honest. I originally torrented this game. But once I started playing this amazing, epic and fun game, I realised I NEEDED to buy this! I played through the whole game with a friend when I first torrented it, but I HAD to replay it! PLUS the game's been updated since then and changed a bit. This game is simple yet fun, and with every new stage there is a new artsyle! I love it! So the game is layed out so that there are something like 14 "consoles" which are basically stages and inside each is 8 levels. There's also plenty of collectibles and unlockable new stages which adds to the replayability. The level design is simple, yet hard and addicting! I personally love to play this whenever I'm having a slow day in class and am bored. Now right now you probably think I ove it because of what I've said but honestly I haven't mentioned what's bad about it, which is that it can get boring and it has some clear flaws. When I first played this game I loved it but now when I look back on it, it isn't that great.
Overall you should still try out this game.

6/10! a nice little hidden gem!

-Good music
-Good graphics
-Fun gameplay
-Difficult and addicting gameplay
-LOTS of stages and levels!!!
-Polished for the most part

-A bit too simple at times

Oh, and if you would like some free game keys, join our group (I'm a mod):
Accidently Reviewed
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Steam Group: AccidentlyReviewed
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( 18.2 hrs on record )
Posted: February 22
The game itself is a neat, well designed classic platformer, with just the right amount of challenge to keep you muttering curses at the screen but still keep trying until you get it right.

The beautifully recreated style for each system is what sets it apart, though. It goes well beyond merely imitating technical specs: it actually manages to get close to the actual look and feel commonly expected of games released on that particular era and platform; enough for many of them to feel instantly recognizable, even familiar. And it's a pleasant surprise to see usually overlooked classics get featured - even the ZX81! You can tell so much love and detail was put into this.

Bonus points if you can get to play it with a classic controller of some kind (I used a Konix Speedking - best joystick ever!)

Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 23
The concept of the game is very good, going through different stages in different consoles, feeling the progression of technology while also feeling nostalgia. It is interesting to see a little bit about the history of these consoles.

However this game is very bland, it lacks any strong feature of the games that used to be on these consoles, it feels more like something you would be playing on your smartphone rather than your pc.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 25
Wow what a great game and idea!! Theres so many different consoles and computers you can choose from to play. The game play is like a classic platformer. If you are into retro games, check it out.
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
40 of 44 people (91%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
4.2 hrs on record
Posted: January 9, 2015

Life of Pixel is a platformer for Steam that has a dual purpose. On one hand, you have a nice little platformer boasting over 100 levels with simple controls, and sometimes challenging gameplay as you control a little green block face thingy (as best as I can describe it) as you dodge enemies, jump over pitfalls, make sure not to get hit by spikes, and collect jewels in a standard fare that you would expect from an old school platformer. It’s simple basically. And on that alone, just a basic (but sometimes challenging) game. Luckily, Life of Pixel has an ace up its sleeve. Its other purpose is to feed you a heaping dosage of gaming history, as each of the worlds is themed after a different classic gaming console or computer. You’ll be playing levels with graphics, sound effects and music like they were pulled from your childhood. Pixel includes a load of systems ranging from the Spectrum ZX to the Super Nintendo to the Commodore 64, and a heck of a lot more that inspire each of the worlds.

The Roundup

7/10Pixel has your typical standard fare gameplay for a retro platformer. It works well on its own, but there does not seem to be much variety. It’s your typical collectathon on one hand, and a basic platformer with the usual hazards on the other. It’s clean in what it does, and the challenge is there, but I wish there was more variety.
9/10This is one of the areas where Pixel shines. I mean my god, did they do a bang up job or what! If you’ve ever played any of the platforms that were used to inspire the worlds, you’ll feel right at home. Though I can’t give it a perfect score, because it’s not 100% perfect. Some obvious liberties had to be taken, as can be seen for example on the NES and Gameboy stages. But it still looks phenomenal all the same. And luckily, no character flickering!
10/10If the graphics alone did not have me hooked, the music indeed helped. Every world has music and sound effects either created with the original systems, or with emulators of the original sound boards. And the music is just superb chiptune magic!
Replay Value
MediumThe levels themselves seem to be on the short side, though they get a little longer as you progress and are introduced into scrolling levels, they are still bite sized. And a level can be 100% completed in a matter of a minute or less on some stages, to just a few minutes on others. Easy stuff here, with no real need to go back, other than to reminisce. Still a good game to show off to your older friends. Or for you young’uns, your parents will get a kick out of you showing them this.
8/10Life of Pixel is a great trip down memory lane, and one of the better games to take this idea and run with it. You usually see games try to mimic one platform or another. But this game does it with over a dozen platforms. And while it may be a simple platformer, it is indeed very fun to play.
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91 of 126 people (72%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: March 26, 2015
This game claims to be about following a single character through a number of console systems. You would think that emulating the game and art styles would be important then. While superficially and at a single glance the art styles change they do not actually conform to limitations present by each system. Instead every console plays exactly the same other than a new coat of paint. If you are attracted to the idea of playing games through the ages this is not for you. If you want a bog standard platformer that doesn't seem to actually understand the appeal of its own themes then go nuts.
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43 of 55 people (78%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
13.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 23, 2014
Do you wanna know more about the 8-bit & 16-bit era? Play Life of Pixel!

This game faithfully recreates the aesthetic of the good old consoles and gaming computers. Each stage is thematic (Atari, NES, Amiga, Master System, Commodore 64, and so on) and starts with curiosities and technical information about these machines.

Nostalgia is very strong here. You really feel you're playing a classic from the past (and there's a lot of homages, like Pitfall, Mario and Mega Man levels). The chiptune soundtrack is made using the original sound-chips for each machine Even some graphical glitches very common on 8-bit systems are recreated.

The game itself is challenging, but it isn't frustrating in any way. Your goal is to collect gems to pass levels, special gems to unlock more levels and fruits/candy to unlock even more levels and some achievements.

Life of Pixel is recommended to every gamer that has passion for this hobby. It's a joy to play!
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25 of 30 people (83%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
14.8 hrs on record
Posted: November 11, 2014
Nice platformer that lets you "play through video gaming history". Nostalgia value for the older gamers :)

Dev is very active in the forums, provides frequent updates, and extremely responsive to suggestions.

Keep in mind that the game isn't for the easily frustrated - there are no checkpoints in the levels, and it is pretty easy to die - 2 hits from enemies, 1 hit from environmental hazards.

I'll edit the review to be more in depth if I ever manage to actually beat the game.
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15 of 16 people (94%) found this review helpful
12.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 22
A nostalgic, colorful, simple platformer, Life of Pixel explores the evolution of consoles from cassettes to the 16 bit era.

Life of Pixel is a fun, well constructed, lighthearted love letter for a lengthy history of gaming, demonstrating the evolution of graphics and mechanics for a basic one dimensional platformer. The game spans 13 consoles, beginning with the ZX81 and Atari 2600, and ending with the NES, SNES, Sega Master System, and Sega Genesis.

You are a square with a face named Pixel who has befriended an elderly, bespectacled, mustachioed, professorial pixel with a face who often shows up to give hints. Your friendship is based on your interest in the evolution of game systems over time and his knowledge of each, conveniently and informatively passed on to the player when selecting a stage from the appropriate system. Each system has 8 stages, and to progress to the next stage a number of collectables have to be collected, and the exit reached. Additionally gems and special food items can be collected on many stages, which unlock additional systems.

The main joy of the game is getting to play a game with 13 different graphical styles, 13 different bit appropriate musical selections, and some numerous design decisions/flaws/necessities of the past, experiencing the evolution of the artform and the graphical changes in Pixel, the environment and the various enemies in the game. The lower end systems serve as a simple gameplay introduction, being easy, more abstract graphically with low quality music, but this is part of the experience, and each new system seems refreshing for its recognizable advancements and differences. In addition there are a slew of referneces to classic games from the past, as well as some winks and nods to the platforming genre and classic game design, delivered with the classically dry English charm.

The controls are fluid and simple, with a clean double jump and a button for basic item gathering and use. There are also a handful of vehicles ranging from bubbles to skateboards that are used for a number of levels. At no point did I experience any frustration with the controls or jumps. The difficulty scaling is gradual, and the game overall is not designed to be challenging, nor is it ever significantly challenging with most stages completed after a few attempts. Though each stage is small, there are over 100 total stages, meaning that this game has a significant amount of content that can easily satisfy for long enough to justify its price. The stage designs themselves are often rather inspired, and finding secrets is of an appropriate difficulty to neither be frustrating nor overly trivial.

All in all, the game is a delightful experience to play, that is elegantly and thoughtfully presented with evolving audio, visuals, and game design coinciding with the actual development of the systems represented.

This review was produced using fair-trade pixels sourced ethically from local producers. Pixels have been in production since the early 60's, and though numbers vary experts predict there are between 2 and 20 quadrillion pixels alive today. These pixels provided in part by the Original Curator Group and the support of viewers like you.
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25 of 34 people (74%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 23, 2014
Initial impressions, revised:

This is another in a long line of feel-good, reverent throwbacks to my gaming childhood: a 2D platformer designed in the aesthetic of several 80s-90s-era, 8 and 16-bit video game consoles, including personal computers of the era.

You play a green pixel, appropriately named Pixel, who's fed up with being one in millions on the screens of the latest and greatest AAA titles. Pixel wants to harken back to a simpler time, when pixels really meant something other than a spec on a monitor/TV size chart and a speck on the screen. As a result, Pixel ventures back into the past when games and pixels were married to each other, an age when compressing graphical fidelity into a system required deftly manipulating the limitations of the console with every game.

Inside each console (there's quite a few) you can find a short but varied series of platforming levels, all of which are designed in such a way as to emulate the look and feel of many retro consoles and computers including the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Atari 2600, NES, etc. Needless to say, the visual design is wonderful, simple and effective at provoking nostalgic flashbacks and is easily one of my favorite features.

In the latest update, certain nostalgic rendering effects have been put in as well, allowing you to emulate a distorted CRT television, the likes of which were often used as personal computer monitors back in the 80s, among other display types with various color palettes.

The game also takes the time and care to ape the SOUND of the emulated consoles, as well. Choosing one of them on the levels screen, each console cheerfully plays a startup chirp/noise uniquely identifiable as coming from the original thing. This console-specific treatment also extends to the levels' musical tracks, all of which are extremely reminiscent of the original soundchips.

Each console's levels and their start screens even go into specific detail on the release date, clock speed and onboard memory of the console among other things, making the game itself more and more like an easy-to-understand encyclopedia on each console's defining characteristics.

The gamepad controls in the initial release of the game were not perfect, but I'm proud to say the latest patch Xbox 360 controller support has been very improved with custom keybinding support among other things. This took out my main complaint about the game and I applaud the developer for improving it so quickly after launch.

I have, unfortunately, not played the game long enough to encounter one of the many purported hidden easter eggs in the game, but I imagine them to be just as authentic as the rest of the game's retro aesthetic and will update this review accordingly when I bump into one.

The difficulty of each of the levels are, I feel, exactly what you'd expect from games from that era: shallow learning curve, exponentially steeper difficulty curve. Expect to make multiple attempts at beating each level in one life and in the shortest time possible, although this is not necessary to complete levels and your mileage may vary in terms of how difficult the game is for you. I imagine it is necessary to unlock hidden consoles and other secrets, however.

Final verdict:

Exactly what I expected in a nostalgia title. Retrogaming buffs will probably find a lot to enjoy from this game, and I feel it's well worth the price.
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18 of 22 people (82%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
1.2 hrs on record
Posted: May 1, 2015
I'm usually not that big on platformers, as I'm pretty bad at playing them, but this one hit on the right nostalgia notes that I kept going until I just had to give up, otherwise I'd break my computer in half.
Plenty of easter eggs, showing off the quirks and limitations of each system while not running it into the ground (8 levels each), pretty good chip tunes and overall a fun platformer, that even lets someone as bad as me progress pretty far, while still having plenty of levels for the better platform gamers to play.
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15 of 19 people (79%) found this review helpful
1.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 28, 2014
Someone put a lot of love into this game and it shows. Its literally a trip through gamings golden (and not so golden) eras. You play as a pixel who wants to see what he's all about, so he traverses through levels going from as early as the atari 2600 & zx spectrum up to the mid nineties with mega drive and snes. What impresses me most is the care he put into making the graphics (and the music) sync up with the systems they represent. Before I knew what soundfonts were I would wonder why SNES games sounded different from Genesis. Or notice that SNES had 256 colors while Genesis had 64. He captures all that, and it is impressive all the way to the beginning. Great job! The detail you put into your work did not go unnoticed. Oh yeah, did I mention it's fun to play? Like a retro super meat boy. All fans of SMB and videogame history should LOVE this game.
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