Pix is a mix of the two most saccharine basic emoticons, :3 and ^_^, a face for the forgotten mascot age. Just too cute, and not in a way that ever betrays the fiendish score-chaser underneath. Sincere cuteness. A real testament to the species post-Flicky.
Now it’s all about the cat collecting eggs through panel after panel of the Grid of Infinity and depositing a growing tail of ducklings into safe little holes lest they remain, stuck, as infinite guests.
Pix the Cat (PC [reviewed], PS Vita, PS4 )
Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Released: January 29, 2015
The main attraction is the arcade mode and its Main Grid. Pix is always moving, you pick the direction. You start on level one, collect eggs, gain a trail of duckling, deposit them into targeted holes without crashing into them or a wall. Once the plane is egg-free, you tunnel deeper and repeat until time runs out.
The rest is arcade perfectionism. If you pick up all the ducklings before depositing them into the holes, you get a combo bonus. More points. Stringing together planes of Perfects is the key to topping leaderboards. Impeding that is the occasional puzzle-like design of some levels, that organically encourage you to snake in on yourself unless you exercise on the fly route correction.
You also pick up speed as you play — you even get a speed bonus by grinding on walls if you make your turns well in advance — which is the pure reflex-testing part. Going faster ensures you go deeper and have more opportunity to score but it’s harder to keep from running into a spike, or your own tail, breaking your combo and the remaining eggs on the board.
That’s about it. The Main board changes slightly every time you play — the board will be flipped upside down, egg placement slightly offset — just so the game can’t be machine-memorized, but it’s all about incremental improvement. And it’s a heck of a lot of frantic, neon fun. You can also choose your announcer voice (Doctor Doom is great, but Lady Bot sounds like an older Beemo), turn various ghosts on or off (friends’ best, your best, global best).
My only real complaint is that this is the sort of game that begs for an arcade joystick. Playing with the Xbox 360 analog feels much looser than I’d like, while I couldn’t be quick enough with three fingers on the keypad. Let’s not talk about the 360 d-pad. Maybe those of you who picked it up free on PS4 or Vita have better luck in that regard.
Pix comes with three other modes as well. Nostalgia, with its 1920s animation aesthetic, is all about speed, with you picking up a board (or a few) worth of eggs within the time limit, no drop off needed. Laboratory slows things down and emphasizes the puzzle portion. You move in whatever direction you choose until you run into something that stops you, like a lot of games with icy floor puzzles, all the while collecting eggs to deposit only once you’ve nabbed them all. You’re graded based on how many moves you make on the board.
There’s also an amusing two- to four-player competitive multiplayer mode that pits robot Pixs against once another. You collect eggs to use as single-shot ammo to stun your opponents and make a point by dashing into them. The Arena rounds out a varied package that, some looseness to the controls aside, manages to be fun in a few different ways.