Pocket Corner: Pix ‘n’ Love Rush Review (iOS) – Essential Retro Platforming Action With Gameplay And Style To Spare
Sometimes, just sometimes you want to be taken back to a simpler time. To a time where games didn’t have an abundance of cut-scenes, or jock, po-faced military twats harping on about their alphas and their deltas. A time even, where stories didn’t exist because quite frankly the pretence that they typically provided weren’t needed to give us a compelling reason to play.
No, games back then bought their way into our affections and cemented our gaming addictions by virtue of their gameplay and nothing else. It’s to this simplest and often forgotten of mantras that Bulkypix’s retro styled platformer Pix ‘n’ Love Rush, fully subscribes itself to and does so dripping in 8-bit worship and homage.
Its premise as you might infer is pleasingly simple; you play a twee, cat-like creature lovingly constructed out of bleeding 8-bit pixels who can tackle one of four very different platforming game modes, each with a unique visual theme and gameplay slant.
The first – Classic Rush tasks the player with fulfilling the original videogaming OCD; to get the highest score possible. This is handily achieved by collecting golden icons and shooting nasty, flappy pixel-bats and can be played in five minutes or infinite time variations. Most interestingly, Classic Rush throws a number of different game types at you which randomly change the gameplay experience at any given time. To start with you could find yourself on a static set of platforms for example, collecting the golden ‘plus’ icons dotted around to increase your score and then the entire scene could shift; changing colours and forcing you to jump ever upward to avoid a nasty, vertical scrolling death all the while you shoot evil pixel bats and collect those lovely icons.
It’s simple but maddeningly addictive stuff and really is wholly indicative of the accessible gameplay bliss seen elsewhere in the game.
Next up is Cursed Rush; a traditional side-scrolling jump-or-die gametype, the game aims to challenge with five different difficulty levels ranging amusingly from ‘Hard’ (very easy, really) all the way up and through to ‘Hardcore’ (medium) and ‘Hardcorest’ (very hard). The harder the difficulty, the smaller the platforms become for you to jump on. Naturally, the objective to fulfil here is old-skool; get the highest completion percentage you can (a percentage ticker constantly increments itself as the level scrolls) by not falling to your death.
The third mode, Rainbow Rush, has your pixel-cat/thing on a forced dash across one of four levelled corridors. Here, your control is reduced to just a singular input; tapping the screen makes the player ascend to the level above them, or if they are already at the very top, it puts the player on the bottom level corridor. Additionally, if a corridor has a gap for you to fall through; you will descend down on the corridor immediately below you or on the top corridor at the top of the screen if you fall off the bottom of the screen. Failure comes in the form of being crushed against the left side of the screen by blocks in the corridors which are usually placed in nefariously twattish places, forcing you to switch levels at a moment’s notice only to be caught behind another load of blocks you didn’t anticipate.
Finally, the fourth mode titled On-Off Rush, forces the player to dash in either direction along the X-Axis collecting little suns and crescent moons against the clock. Depending on the time of day which is switched each time you reach the end of the map, collecting a sun or a moon may increase your score and sustain your multiplier, which in turn extends the time left on the clock, or kill your multiplier completely and prevent you from accruing any extra time.
It would all be for naught if the controls weren’t up to snuff; luckily, the controls are crisp and responsive enough to the point that you can’t really use them as an excuse to hide how shit you are at the game. Quite frankly, it’s the robustness and responsiveness of the controls that makes Pix ‘n’ Rush such an effortless pleasure to play and it’s in the four, very different game modes, that the control system shines and the player is meaningfully challenged time and time again.
Visually and aurally, the game is as stalwart a homage to the 8-bit days of yore as any game has been since that time with pitch-perfect 8-bit tunes and sound effects eliciting a much earlier era of gaming. As well as having butter smooth animations, the pixels are large; bleeding colours and definition like never before as the fancy high-tech displays of today embellish the charmingly retro visual style of yesteryear with retinal orgasmic aplomb. One such example of this retro chic in full swing is in Cursed Rush, where pangs of nostalgia are elicited by the fact that all the action is framed by an old school ‘fishbowl’ monochrome CRT screen, with a game of pong being played in the background.
Pix ‘n’ Love Rush is as much a love letter to the timeless, nostalgic aesthetics of the 8-bit era as it is to the gameplay designs that made them so endearingly addictive. Boasting visuals that are as charmingly captivating as the gameplay that underpins them, developer Bulkypix hasn’t just managed to create an overzleaously cool homage to platformers of the 8-bit era, they’ve also crafted the best touch screen platformer available full, fucking, stop.
Costing the same as a bag of crisps, two if you are an Android owner (unless of course you like Grab Bags), you really shouldn’t turn your nose up at the sheer amount of gameplay and enjoyment that is on offer here; unless of course you‘re some sort of scum sucking pervert.
‘Highly recommended’ doesn’t really cover it.