In my late night, half-asleep state, I forgot to thank Get Indie Games for finding this one!
Okay, so I’m in at last! Everything is grey. Where’s the green trees quilted in sunshine?! Okay, maybe this is a game about rebuilding a world or something. Pixel Trouble – clearly, there’s a clue in that title. I’m an agile and pretty slick looking robot, and a short guy starts giving me a long-winded tutorial about how to use a Pixel Spread, and with this I’m bringing floating grey blocks closer together. Then he introduces the ability to make my own platforms to cross gaps and stairs to reach higher levels. You basically shoot a limited number of small cubes out that you can form a structure with. Soon I’m climbing makeshift structures that I figure may lead somewhere. They don’t, but I’m enjoying traversing the disjointed environment.
Later I’m introduced to punching the ground to open purple crystals and collect cubes from them. Later still, I’m told that I’m in a game called Super Adventure Land 3D, and I’m actually trying to put it back together after that glitch. How very Fez of the game! Suddenly, I’m enjoying myself and have forgotten about that installation process (really I’m just impatient). Then I’m told more about this world by the strange short guy. Apparently, everything will be fine as long as I don’t let the BAD UGLY GLITCHES (B.U.G.S) into my castle. Okay, then – I’ve no idea what he’s on about. Neither do I care too much as I jump through a portal into Super Adventure World 3D, aka the sunny, happy place in the screenshots.
Now the game is a joyous 3D platformer colored green, and my Pixel Spread contrasts somewhat as the grey cubes form stairs to get around the typically multi-tiered level structure. The bad glitches, it turns out, are nothing more than evil looking entities that can be struck down with a few well-placed blows. I was hoping for more, something interesting and different, but instead, the game delivered standard enemies that faded as you glitched them out of existence. It’s worth doing, though, because then you get to speak to the friendly inhabitants to this forest, and they have lines like, “Here you can learn many many things like: Butterflies are fun.” N’awww, aren’t they just adorable!?
Anyway, so far, so very standard millennium-era 3D platformer. Apart from the whole glitch hub world and the Pixel Spread, of course.
Soon enough, the game starts opening right up and gives me quite the open space to roam around in. My goal then becomes obvious. Within this game land, there are a number of Corrupted Zones that need attending to. Going inside them causes the music to digitalize, and random bits of code start appearing as the screen becomes fuzzy and scanlines run down it. Being inside these zones also starts to deduct from your pixel count that your Pixel Spread uses, and when battling enemies, running out of pixels means you’ll die. Nothing dramatic comes of this, though, as you just respawn instantly just outside of the zone. You defeat these areas and return them to how they should be by defeating all of the B.U.G.S and then whacking the soft core of the corrupted zone. Once you’ve done this, you earn a Silver Cube, and that increases the amount of pixels you can carry, and so you can reach areas further away and higher up with your Pixel Spread. It’s all rinse and repeat from there.
And even though it’s gameplay we’ve done many times before several years ago, there’s clearly a lot of work that has gone into Pixel Trouble to realize this beautiful world and offer charming gameplay that will make a number of players revel in its simplistic and recognizable design. It’s indicative of the era we’re in with games, that this a 90s-00s style 3D platformer containing a glitch world, reflexive plot – no longer can games just be how they were as we’re so much more aware of them and how they’re made. And games have become much more complex than this in many cases. Applause-worthy is the game’s catering to open world exploration and freedom in navigation to supplement this.
Before long, I had cleared up all of the Corrupted Zones and returned back to the glitch world whence I came. But first I had to defeat some rather easy boss that didn’t even attack you itself. The winged B.U.G.S did, though, and utilizing their missiles, you can then defeat the boss at the center, therefore clearing up the glitches in that game. Doing this gave me a Golden Cube, which permanently boosted my pixel count (the silver ones applied only to the particular level they were in). After that, it was back to the hub, where I gained the ability to throw missiles, which was handy for smashing through certain walls to open up new areas, as well as killing off the winged creatures. The next level is set in a desert, and is more challenging, as you’d hope. There are also giant mushrooms, which anyone who has played a cutesy 3D platformer before will tell you are for bouncing to great heights on. The game continues on in this fashion for a while after, with you cleansing games by removing the B.U.G.S.
Pixel Trouble is surprisingly delightful in its familiarity, but polished and arguably more fun than anything it emulates. It’s also interesting for its reflexive nature, acknowledging that it is mimicking games of the past and playing with their form to provide a fairly unique level of understanding between itself and the player. Considering it’s free and is this fantastic, it’s definitely worth downloading, and it will supply a good few hours entertainment.