‘Adventures of Pip’ Review

Platforms PlayStation 4/Xbox One/PC/Wii U

Developer Tic Toc Games Publisher Tic Toc Games

Genre Platformer Platform Played Xbox One

Adventures of Pip follows a hero comprised of a singular pixel, fighting his way through a peril-laden landscape in the name of rescuing Princess Adeline from the evil Queen DeRezzia.  The antagonist’s name alone should provide an idea of the title’s lighthearted nature, and it becomes evident almost immediately. While kidnapping this princess, DeRezzia turns an entire kingdom of 32-bit sprites into single pixels, not unlike the titular hero Pip, and threatens to destroy every kingdom in existence once she harnesses the power of the “Bit Stream.” When Pip arrives to aid in rescuing Adeline, the king and queen dismiss him based on his appearance, informing him that he should locate one of the 32-bit knights to rescue their daughter as Pip will clearly not be brave or strong enough. Throughout the game, this commentary on Pip’s diminutive appearance continues, albeit in a humourous fashion.

When one thinks of platformers, the concept of becoming bigger or smaller is certainly not an alien one, although the way in which Adventures of Pip handles this mechanic is unique. Starting off as a single pixel, destroying specific blue enemies will evolve Pip into his next variation. In addition to his initial form, 8-bit and 32-bit are available and offer skills only accessible by their forms. While in these higher resolution forms, Pip can revert back to a lower form at any time by holding down a single button, resulting in a burst of energy erupting from his body and harming nearby enemies. However, in order to regain the form you just left, you must locate and defeat one of those specific blue creatures. In his lowest form, Pip is able to glide through the air, slip into tight areas, and reach new heights while using gusts of wind. The 8-bit form is by far the most agile form Pip possesses, allowing for speedy platforming when the situation arises in addition to wall-jumping. Lastly, the 32-bit variation is the strongest, pushing or pulling large blocks, wielding a sword to destroy certain barriers, and inflicting damage from a distance, although these advantages come with the drawback of incredibly slow movement speeds. Mastering these three forms and learning precisely when the use each one certainly has a steep learning curve, but once understood, you can find yourself reaching almost every inch of a level. there are also checkpoints found in each level, allowing players to respawn places other than the very beginning, although the distance between these checkpoints seems a bit too significant in the later levels, particularly if you are not accustomed to platforming games.

As you progress through the game, several shops appear in the kingdom’s main village, offering consumable items and permanent power-ups. These items range from healing potions to villager locators, to extra hearts while the power-ups may reduce damage, shoot a fireball from his sword while at full health (a charming nod to A Link to the Past), or draw nearby pixels (the game’s currency) towards Pip to aid in gathering them. Using these items or power-ups are completely optional and not required to finish the game, so depending on how much of a challenge you are looking for, you can purchase them or ignore them entirely. While the difficulty increases relatively naturally over the course of the game, veteran platform gamers may wish to neglect optional abilities to better test their abilities. There are challenging and difficult portions, particularly in the last 10 levels, but if attempting to discover hidden treasure chests or villagers is not something you find appealing, increasing the challenge in this informal manner may increase your enjoyment as simply completing the levels will not take too many attempts. This trade-off in order to appeal to the widest market possible is understandable, and fortunately Tic Toc Games made the power-ups optional in addition to including countless hidden nooks in each level, daring completionists to earn a “Perfect” rating on every individual level.

One thing which stands out while playing Adventures of Pip is the constant dialogue centering around resolution and pixel count. As previously mentioned, this is the focal point of most jokes found in the game, although after a while it begins to inevitably feel like a reflection of our own society. Whether this was the intended result, or if it was simply meant as a traditional video game hero role with Pip being displayed as the underdog, constantly being told he is not good enough, I found it difficult not to wonder if it was meant as a commentary of our society, and this is coming from someone who strongly believes people try far too hard to find hidden meaning in things. Due to the constant reminder that Pip is but a single pixel in a world of 32-bit sprites and royalty and comments such as Princess Adeline telling Pip she could never love him, it came off as intentional although the lighthearted nature of the title causes confusion regarding any possible underlying meaning. Regardless, this sentiment only comes to light during the moments of dialogue so do not fear that the game itself is weighed down by heavy editorials on society.

At the end of each world, there is a boss for Pip to defeat, all of which vary wildly in attack style, appearance, and environment. Most follow the video game rule stating that bosses will die after being hit three times, although these large foes will also modify their attacks upon being hit, forcing you to adapt to a new offensive. The longest battle is easily the final showdown, completely ignoring that pre-established rule, requiring you to cause damage in the traditional “jump on her head” method as well as finding an alternative method of causing harm when you realize jumping is no longer effective. This sudden shift in strategy during the final boss fight is sure to catch many off guard, and requires some quick thinking to move past, but leads to an incredibly satisfying feeling once you discover how to defeat the boss.

Adventures of Pip is a charming platformer which introduces some interesting twists on the genre. Strategically forcing you to shift shapes and not allowing you to immediately gain your stature back forces players to think about their actions prior to performing them. The boss battles are thoroughly enjoyable, the art style is crisp and vibrant, and there are clear inspirations from classic video games found throughout the title. The entire game does not take too long to complete, clocking in at roughly four or five hours, but choosing to obtain those “Perfect” ranks on each level will extend the length of gameplay by another hour or two and provide a more significant challenge. Adventures of Pip may not be a game you absolutely must pick up, but it is undeniably an enjoyable title, will provide some laughs, and fill any void in your collection left by a lack of quality platforming titles.

The Good

  • Precision platforming
  • Great variety of environments and boss fights
  • Unique skills associated to each of Pip’s forms

The Bad

  • Feels relatively short, particularly if not going for 100% completion
  • Humour is centered almost solely around resolution jokes

The Score: 8.5