Tag Archives: Ratchet Game Studios


With me breathing a partial sigh of relief, the third Indie Games Uprising comes to a close with Ratchet Game Studio‘s Pixel (80 MSP), a first-person platformer that goes light on the puzzles and is all about agility, traversal, and getting the fastest time.

Sporting a clean (some would say bland) style that fits the clinical approach, Pixel tries to add some pop to the time-trial genre by introducing different attachments to your gun, such as slowing down the retraction rate of platforms (stasis), or extending an entire row in one whack (singularity). Coupled with the colored blocks that have different effects on you or the environment (orange extends or raises bridges, green works as a launching pad, etc.), it makes for a little more excitement than a dull, ‘point A to point B’ journey.

The game is careful to avoid contradicting its ‘speed-first’ policy too, keeping the gun-switching within the levels to a minimum. You can make it through most of the stages with the default ammo. Though even if you had the dexterity to swap guns in flight, you’d be fighting much worse than tricky platforming; Pixel is a textbook example of a platformer done in by its own controls. They are as loose and finicky as I’ve felt, and without a doubt, the game needed more time to work out the kinks.

Also distressing is Pixel‘s FOV (field of view). The gun takes up too much of the screen, which is mentionable but not terrible. You could get away with that in a strictly puzzle game. A first-person shooter or platformer? Not so much. Still, I could work around it. What I found jarring, and I’m sure many others will say the same thing, was the alternating depth / zoom of any given stage. Looking straight ahead at an open part of the level was fine. Get too close to a wall, or point down / up at a section of blocks, and it’s like you’ve instantly ‘zoomed in’, throwing off your positioning and giving yourself a headache.

Combine this with the touchy controls (too fast when moving, too slow when turning), and you’ll find yourself slipping off platforms and edges where normally you wouldn’t. The bad news continues. Glitches that force you to restart a level (stage 7, well-documented in other sites’ reviews), inexplicably falling from or passing right through certain pillars, as well as constantly overshooting or undershooting most of the jumps. Eight times out of 10, finishing a level was luck in my experience. Those aren’t the odds you want or expect from a reflex-tester.

The best thing you can say about Pixel is that it’s over quickly. I was able to breeze through it, loose controls and all, in about an hour, limping to the finish line with zero desire to ever visit it again. The effort is admirable and the visuals are to its credit, but they only mask a disappointing puzzle / platformer.


Review on Clearance Bin Review

Review on Indie Gamer Chick

Review on The Indie Mine

Prelude to the Uprising: Pixel

Pixel is to be the first published game from Canadian developers Ratchet Game Studios. Pretty good to get yourself noticed and included in the Uprising with your debut, and given the game’s unique look and blend, it’s no surprise. I suppose my immediate reaction to it is Portal (the gun) crossed with the time trials from Mirror’s Edge (level traversal). The Dev doesn’t shy away from that first comparison either.

In this first-person puzzle/shooter you need to manipulate the environment to get from ‘A’ to ‘B’. Through 25 different levels, use different particles, taking different paths and be quick with a controller to perfect your skills to move on to the next level! Speed and ingenuity are key to mastering this game!

In saying that it combines its ideas with an established and beloved brand in order to make something its own, Pixel is holding itself up to a higher standard than flattery and me-tooism. While the similar look and mention of puzzles might have some saying ‘clone’ without hard evidence, the emphasis on speed and action versus a methodical approach, and the cel-shaded levels and multiple paths shown off in the trailer, put a lot of those qualms to rest. The final proof will be in playing it.


Pixel will be released on September 20th.

Interview at The Indie Mine

Preview on Clearance Bin Review