REVIEW: Slay Those Pixels

Though the two games are not connected in any tangible way, nor is any relation or inspiration implied, it kinda broke my heart when They Bleed Pixels jumped the XBLIG ship to Steam. I was really looking forward to it. I’m not a violent man by nature, at all, though I do demand a certain amount of pixel blood be spilled from time to time. I suppose the only reason I’m opening with this is because these two games have similar titles. And I’m heartbroken. Or, I should say I wasSlay Those Pixels ($1.00) is an able stand-in for the violence I crave.

That’s not to say that Slay Those Pixels does anything unique or awe-inspiring. It could most aptly be described as an adventure / RPG, though neither genre is probed for much depth. The ‘adventure’ aspect is essentially moving from left to right, one screen at a time, while the ‘RPG’ angle consists of three different skills you can learn (one of which will come at the end of the game, which doesn’t do anybody any good). You can level up the traditional route, however, earning increased health, damage, and defense as you take down a smattering of different enemy types across three ‘themed’ levels.

You can choose from two classes at the start, a warrior and a wizard. They too, are frustratingly stereotypical; the warrior focuses on melee attacks with his twin swords, while the wizard deals damage from afar, shooting fireballs. Other than a downward thrust move for stunning enemies below you, one-button handles the entirely of the combat. And that’s it. Move left to right, spam attacks, rinse and repeat.

The lone element of exploration comes in finding a key to unlock rooms (which is always located exactly one room over from any locked passage). While almost every door is optional, it is worth your while to open them, as it leads to additional loot. The smaller treasure chests will net you health potions or special, one-time use items, while the bigger chests offer permanent stat boosts.

Slay Those Pixels - Screen

Obligatory Ice World. Not shown? Snowmen. Yes, ’tis dark times indeed, when snowmen roam the Earth.

Tougher boss fights are offset by an incredibly easy Overworld; with the constant health regeneration and nigh-plentiful potions dropped by the two or three (!) enemies per screen, there’s really no way you can die in the rooms between boss battles, unless you’re ludicrously careless. Some ‘mini-boss’ types are sprinkled in to break up the monotony, otherwise, it’s smooth sailing. At worst, you’ll need to revisit a handful of the bigger monster rooms to pad your stats.

And yet, despite the bland trappings, I enjoyed the game. The relatively short playtime (an hour and a half), a complete lack of story, and repetitive combat means it boils down to little more than a basic, grind-it-out action / RPG hybrid, but some flying pixel bits and a stellar chiptunes soundtrack makes Slay Those Pixels a decent distraction.

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14 thoughts on “REVIEW: Slay Those Pixels”

  1. Man, what’s with all the pixel hate? “They Bleed Pixels”, “Slay Those Pixels”, what’s next? “Stab Pixels In The Junk”? “Fuck Those Pixels Up”? “Give The Pixels A Deep Philosophical Conversation And Make Them Question Their Very Existence”?

  2. Perhaps wrong place to ask this: What has happened to XBLIG? Only two games have been released in a week … quality is always better than quantity, but I miss quantity nonetheless. Does this mean our worst fears that XBLIG would totally fade away are coming true THIS QUICKLY?

    1. Could be… (gulp) …the beginning of the end, or just a slow stretch in releases. The new consoles are stealing some people away (I’m guilty myself), too, so maybe developers don’t want to try and compete with the big new shiny guns just yet.

  3. Are there yetis in the ice world?
    We need to be trained to combat them.
    They are ready for war. Prepare
    I may be silenced
    Game looks interesting. Not much movement on xblig.
    But this catches my interest, so I will try it.
    Heres hoping I enjoy.

    1. I hesitate to call them that, but yes, there is a Yeti-like pixel. 🙂

      You’re right, though. Not much in the new releases department this past week. Views have dropped off around here as well, due, no doubt, to the PS4 and the impending Xbox One.

      There’s still some interesting games on the horizon, though I’d expect releases to slow a bit now, at least for the next month or so.

  4. I was also crestfallen about They Bleed Pixels not arriving on XBLIG. I did, however, pick it up on Steam when it came out. It’s a ridiculously tough game, so punishing that I can’t really say I had much fun with it. I never managed to progress far enough to see the Ponycorn bonus levels either, so overall I was pretty disappointed.
    Still, Slay Those Pixels sounds like it’s worth a look, so I’ll be doing so soon.

    1. Crestfallen… good word!

      They Bleed Pixels had the look of something that was easy to pick up, hard to master, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised to hear it’s punishing. Thank you for that confirmation, though, as that now eases my heartache just a little bit. My hope is that I’ll get to play some of the bigger indies I’ve missed out on, now that PS4 (and Xbox One) seem to be courting those types.

      Slay Those Pixels may be nothing like TBP, or have the depth, but it is certainly easy.

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