Switch version tested
Review code provided
Publishers Forever Entertainment are back with another Nintendo Switch release, this time in the form of a retro platformer Pixboy. Developed by Oaky Games this retro romp is something you could even see original Game Boy Professor Oak sitting down with. Pixboy is also set to release on PC and mobile, so get that old Nokia out of the cupboard!
It would seem that the development team have an overarching aim from this title, to take a long trip down memory lane and reminisce about all those great titles you used to play. Their blurb states to return memories from fantastic games, story and amazing graphics which seems a little bit of a stretch here. Yes, absolutely it does the job but the story isn’t needed and the visual is certainly ripped straight out of the first titles that appeared on mobile. Maybe they’d have been better stepping back a little further and going head-on for the Game Boy generation especially to lure the Switch players in.
As for the game, Pixboy is set over 40 levels with BOSS BATTLES throughout. The gameplay is a solid mix of classic platforming with some puzzle elements sprinkled on top. Our protagonist must be guided through each of the stages, collecting items along the way and taking care of the evil ones. Pick-up keys to progress and unlock new areas adding a Metroidvania feel to Pixboy. In order to achieve this, you can run, stomp and squash your way to victory – there’s even a handy parachute mechanic to slow down your descent and a slingshot to dispose of those annoying bad guys at range. Controls are fluid but the majority of unfortunate incidents will ultimately be down to a poorly timed manoeuvre and much a product of the era being recreated here.
Hidden rooms are littered inside the 40 level strong Pixboy, around 150 all in, and tend to be concealed in walls or hard to reach areas. On approach they will reveal an Aladdin’s cave of wonders – well coins and treats with the occasional health container. These become priceless as the game teeters on the edge of being frustratingly challenging to the point of launching the console into orbit. Only a few levels in and that difficulty spike really starts to hurt.
The BOSS BATTLES add another stack of kindling to the firey rage within but stick with it, learn the patterns and eventually, you’ll get lucky or die trying. The mid-level checkpoints won’t help here but will save you time in open play.
Once a level is conquered you are presented with a number of stats which is a helpful addition, especially if you fall into the completionist category. Number of coins, treats and time taken help keep you on track for the three-star rating. There’s nothing like finishing an area only to realise that you have missed a couple of items. The speedrunner community will be in full throttle, even if the suggested times to aim for put you alongside Usain Bolt in a dash for the finish line. Collected coins can be traded for different palette themes spicing things up, I found one that worked for me and stuck with it.
At the end of the day the development team have succeeded in their vision, Pixboy is a loving nod to the time when mobile games sat comfortably on a Nokia 3310. With lots of enemy types, unlockables and hidden rooms to locate and explore the game offers a decent-sized experience for the money. Sadly, there is a massive library of games available on the eShop today that fit this sentiment so Pixboy may be overlooked.
TBG Score: 5/10
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 11/06/2020
No. of Players: 1
Category: Action, Arcade
Developer: Oaky Games
Publisher: Forever Entertainment
Download link: eShop