axelpixelpix1

Systems – Xbox Live Arcade

Publisher – 2K Play

Developer – Silver Wish Games

Genre – Adventure

Axel & Pixel is a point-and-click adventure game where you play as Axel a painter, and Pixel his dog. After a nap you two wake up to find yourselves in a strange world, now you must embark upon an incredible journey to get back home. It’s a charming and fun quest, propelled by the games great humor and fantastic characters, if shallow with many rotten spots.

What immediately jumps out as you boot up the game is how amazing the game looks, is employs a weird and barely used art style of using real world textures and environments with very Nickelodeon-looking cartoon characters exploring it. It’s a very surreal look and sometimes downright unsettling and creepy with a very Dark Crystal-esque vibe that’s almost dark in nature as some pretty intense things happen that offsets the cartoon happy-go-lucky attitude it has sometimes.

The game is divided up by seasons, starting off in Spring and ending at Winter where you’ll face off against a final enemy. In total the game has 24 levels which is a decent-sized experience, made more memorable by its charming cast of characters. It has a very child-like quality to its humor, but it works well and I found myself smiling and laughing throughout the adventure.

axelandpixel2

Unfortunately the game is marred but its simplistic gameplay, unlike most popular adventure games Axel & Pixel mostly does everything for you. From auto-equipping items you need to use, to having a built-in clue system in the game. I never had to use a single clue as puzzles in the game can primary be solved by moving your cursor around the environment until it lights up telling you that you can manipulate it. In a way the game is almost more of a photo-hunting game instead of an adventure game.

The game tries to mix up the experience, but ultimately fails. First off the game will sometimes throw odd and very forgiving quick-time events into the mix, which really don’t add anything to the experience and are poorly implemented. Also between transitions into new season there’s driving levels that are downright frustrating and resemble bad flash games.

The two worst are the sailing mini-game and the hot air balloon mini-game, the problem is they take damage when you run into the environment, and with the games weird art style is can be hard to tell what’ll hurt you and what’s just a background object. While the last mini-game, a driving section, seems like a bad rip-off of Trials HD and is almost completely mindless and boring.

driving

Axel & Pixel is a very charming, funny, and interesting experience with an amazing art style and a great cast of characters. It’s a good-sized adventure, but the simplistic gameplay will probably turn-off many adventure game fans and the weak QTE’s and terrible driving sections will drive many other people off. If you can slog through the poor gameplay, you’ll find a charming little game hiding inside waiting to jump out and grab your heart.


Advertisements