On first glance, They Bleed Pixels comes off like a cross between classic Castlevania and Super Meat Boy. In reality, the game isn't quite as punishing as either of those two titles, thanks in part its innovative checkpoint system. By grabbing pick-ups and pulling off lengthy combos, you charge a meter that allows you to place a checkpoint wherever you want. If you want to try to get through a level as quickly and easily as possible, you can just jump over enemies and skip the harder platforming bits, but you wont have the checkpoint safety net to save you if you fail. If you take your time and kick all the ass you can, you'll put yourself in more danger, but will less likely to have to replay larger sections of the game's levels.
It's a simple idea, but it leads to some deceptively detailed gameplay experiences, as allows the player to tailor fit the game to their play-style. The same goes for the game's combat system. Though there is only one attack button, there are multiple ways to initiate and continue a combo, from launchers to wall bounces, to dash attacks to environmental kills. It reminded me a lot of Viewtiful Joe. There is no finer compliment I could pay to upcoming beat 'em up platformer.
They Kill Pixels was originally planned as an Xbox Live Arcade Indie title, but has now been picked up by a publisher, and may be coming to larger platforms. We'll keep you posted.
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