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Adventures of Pip hands on: Pixelated platforming coming to Xbox consoles and Windows this May

Early this year, indie developer TicToc Games announced that their 2D platformer Adventures of Pip will be coming to Xbox One via the ID@Xbox program. Adventures of Pip stars a tiny pixel which can transform into a full-sized hero and back again in order to deal with enemies and solve puzzles. It boasts a clever mishmash of art styles and concepts borrowed from the 8-, 16-, and 32-bit eras of gaming.

We got a fair impression of Adventures of Pip from the announcement and trailers, but you never truly know what a game is like until you've played it. Considering this one is not due for release on Xbox One and 360, Windows and Mac, PlayStation 4, and Wii U until May, we might well have had to wait another few months to play it. Luckily, TicToc Games has granted us some hands-on time with their latest demo.

Read on for my impressions and a full video playthrough of the Adventures of Pip demo!

Pixels in peril

Pip's small but lovely world lives by a caste system, not unlike some countries in our own. 32-bit people are the most beautiful, and thus the top of the heap. 16-bit citizens live less luxurious but still comfortable lives. And 8-bit pixelated people have the fewest pixels, making them the lowest of the low – the serfs. Basically, the more pixels you have, the better off you are.

One day, the evil Skeleton Queen kidnaps a princess who can magically create pixels from nothing. With all of the princess's knights defeated, no one is left to rescue her… None except for Pip, a lowly red pixel who makes up for his small size with plenty of bravery.

Adventures of Pip demo

The powers of Pip

Pip lives in a pixelated town surrounded by 8-bit people. When the forces of the Skeleton Queen attack, he sets out to stop them. Pip is actually a bit bigger than a real pixel – a little red block that can run and jump, basically. That's enough for him to hop on bad guys to kill them, collecting the yellow pixels they leave behind.

Quite early in the demo Pip meets the ghost of Elwyn, a brave knight who defended the kingdom until his own hubris led to his downfall. Elwyn bestows Pip with a unique gift: the power of the Bit Stream. Suddenly our little red hero transforms from a boxy pixel to a 16-bit boy called Agile Pip!

Pip's Agile form is not only fast, he can also punch enemies and cling onto ledges and jump off of walls. Switching to him greatly increases your mobility. But being larger than a pixel, he also weighs more. When Pip needs to bounce off of spring-like mushrooms to heights above or to ride a monster who won't move if the load is too heavy, he has to devolve back to Pixel Pip. The pixel form can also squeeze through smaller spaces than Agile Pip.

Adventures of Pip demo

Plus-sized Pip

Later in the demo, Pip encounters Sir Elwyn once more. This time he gives another form: Strong Pip. As a 32-bit character, Strong Pip is bigger and tougher than his previous forms. He can attack with a sword, greatly increasing his offensive capabilities. His strength also lets him push heavy blocks around, which can help him access new pathways and solve puzzles. Strong Pip can't move as fast or jump as well as his lower-pixel counterparts though.

The demo takes advantage of each form's strengths and weaknesses, requiring players to switch back and forth between forms to traverse each area. In one exciting sequence, I had to outrun a falling ceiling as Agile Pip, hopping between walls like mad, then shrink down to Pixel Pip to squeeze through a tight spot, and finally grow to Strong Pip in order to break down a wall with his sword. The puzzles are much simpler and more intuitive than you'd get from many puzzle platformers – in the demo, at least.

Adventures of Pip demo

Another gameplay aspect I experienced is rescuing pixel people. Spread throughout each area of the demo are lots of 8-bit citizens that players can rescue. But you have to find them first, and they're often hidden behind fake walls or out of the way somewhere. In the full game, I'm told that rescued citizens will help expand a hubworld where Pip can unlock new content.

Gamers who grew up in the nineties should get a kick out of Pip's loving combination of different eras' platforming concepts and art styles. Hopefully the full game can maintain the fun and creativity of the demo!

Adventures of Pip demo

Adventures of Pip comes to on Xbox One and 360, Windows and Mac, PlayStation 4, and Wii U this May.

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

17 Comments
  • Yeah I m the first one to comment........but I have nothing to comment sorry. ;)
  • No need to comment then.
  • The Xbox One has some great indie game this year. Bring on Cuphead.
  • And yet they call the fappstation indiestation
  • Lol that's because indies are about all PS4 really has outside of the multiplats.
  • Can't wait for this game!
  • Xbox 360 denied of this wonderfull game?
  • It's coming to 360
  • Another 'save the princess' plot? Wow. How original. Might as well replace princess with hamburger and nothing much would change. In fact, being hungry and eating the burger would be a more interesting motivation for pip and the player to overcome.
  • This is not a game that you play for story. Instead, it's about the appeals to nostalgia, art style, and fresh platforming concepts.
  • I disagree. The story is part of the game whether you choose to acknowledge that or not. It is not therefore above critique. If you think the story isn't important, what's the point of having it? In my opinion, the damsel in distress trope is so overused in gaming and, as a game concept, is a lazy excuse and motivation for the player. /2
  • It's a trope, and it's not creative, but again, every part of the game doesn't have to be original. A game can have a light little story or a large and involving one. It depends on the developer's individual goals for that game. Seeing as how this is a title that specifically intends to appeal to fans of classic platformers (albeit without true retro graphics or whatever), the classic concept of saving a princess is fine. The originality here is in the caste system concept for the world, and the gameplay they derive from that.
  • Whether the narrative is essential or not does not negate the fact that it is still an integral part of the game's overall framework. If I as a player take issue with this particular aspect, it will negatively impact my overall enjoyment of the game. I realise that is entirely subjective, but not above criticism. I think my biggest issue right now is the current resurgence of the trope amongst new indie games that utilise the trope to cash in on our collective nostalgia, which is why I don't buy the argument that an appeal to nostalgia automatically absolves games of originally or depth. It's one thing to have the trope and another to subvert it completely, whether that be through story or game mechanics is entirely up to the developer. I'm not saying that the trope is bad; only when it is used as a lazy shorthand to communicate faux motivation to the player. I wouldn't have such an issue with it if, say, the princess being kidnapped had an interesting relationship with the protagonist, or if the damselled character was an integral part of the plot. True, not every part (or parts of) a game need be original, but why not innovate? Classicism and originality do not have to be mutually exclusive terms, especially given the limited creative freedom indie developers have to make their games. It's why I really like Ori and the Blind forest so much. It's story isn't ground-breaking by any stretch and neither are it's mechanics, but it's visual storytelling and design aesthetic combine in a unique and artistic way. I mean, the narrative in the game is ostensibly a version of the DID trope, except instead of saving a princess you save a forest. It's okay, Paul. You and I obviously disagree which is fine! I just wanted to share my thoughts about this and I'm glad you and I did. :)
  • This looks like a fun platformer. I especially like the blend of 8 & 16 bit graphics
  • This game looks looks neat and it sounds like it might have an interesting story. Not only that, but puzzle/platformer IS the best genre, so that adds bonus points. :)
  • Might be something I pick up. Does seem like it may be fun.
  • I like the concept of the game.  Hope the execution works out.