This indie, 2-D platformer is all about being straight-forward. It’s a game called They Bleed Pixels. There is going to be a lot of blood and a lot of pixels. There are absolutely no reservations that a player can have about it.
It even manages to be appropriately challenging, in the sense that a Lovecraftian-horror, side-scrolling, puzzle extravaganza is always going to be bloody difficult.
They Bleed Pixels takes you on the journey of an unnamed young girl who arrives at the Lafcadio Academy for Troubled Young Ladies, and almost immediately uncovers a dark tome in the library that transforms her into a purple-clawed monster bent on destroying the creatures in her dreams in the most brutal ways possible. The more agonizing the deaths, the more points you receive.
The game is centered around these dark and twisted worlds, where the creatures show no mercy, and neither do you. The combat is a test on how well the player can use just one button to kick, punch, and throw enemies into spinning spikes all while keeping their goal and the body count in mind. While this is a fun concept, the execution is either imperfect or perfect, depending on how you look at it. You see, the game isn’t as simple as jumping onto a platform and whacking a guy in the face. It looks way more like timing your double-jump over the long row of spikes, and onto magnetic walls, all while not landing on that one monster that kills you EVERY SINGLE GOD DAMN TIME.
Pixels will not hold your hand. Well, it might but it’s going to tear it off before you’re even done with the first level.
The game is hard, and if you aren’t skilled or fast enough, it’s going to cost you endless time. Spooky Squid has taken a page from the Book of Lovecraftian Horrors, and is absolutely ruthless towards anybody who isn’t a hardcore gamer. If you have never picked up a platformer before, don’t expect to casually beat up monsters. If you don’t have a great gaming computer, don’t even try to open up the game. Your computer can only handle it with the help of some dark arts, or rather an up-to-date graphics card.
Why must it be this way? This is a game all about nostalgia. It transports the player back to a simpler time where old schoolhouses had ancient, dark books, and platformers were not fashionably rendered in three dimensions. These were times when players had to earn those save points, and games were not always pretty, but they were fun and repetitive, allowing you to perfect each level. Hours were wasted on just finishing a level. Pixels is tailored to those older platforming experts who complain about games being dumbed down for a younger generation.
Therefore, the game is all about being ancient. It all comes nicely together in this respect; like schoolgirls and monsters.