In a land of pixels, more is always better.  Those of the 32-bit sprite variety are the “haves” and those 8-bit and 1-bit folks are your “have nots.” When the Skeleton Queen abducts the princess who has the ability to alter the “bitstream” and turns many of the haughty 32-bit folks into 1-bit pixel people, it’s up the mighty (1-bit) Pip to become the hero of legend in Adventures of Pip by Tic Toc Games.

As Pip, you have the ability to evolve from 1-bit to 8-bit to 32-bit and devolve back again.  The 1-bit Pip can jump float to cross long distances as well as fit into small places.  The 8-bit is the Agile Pip, able to run fast and wall jump.  He’s my go-to Pip to solve problems.  Lastly, the 32-bit Pip is your strong man; he uses a sword to destroy enemies and has the ability to move large objects. This series of evolution is the heart of the game; it is also the most satisfying part.

The entire game is around this puzzle-solving mechanic.  I call it puzzle-solving, but in reality, it’s visual recognition and comprehension.  You walk Pip into a new chamber and you look at the obstacles/enemies in front of you and begin to plan.

“Okay, I’m a 1-bit pixel now.  I need to wall jump so I’ll jump on the evolution (blue, easily-identifiable crystal) creature and become 8-bit.  Then I’ll wall-jump up to that platform. There’s a wall that needs to be broken by 32-bit Pip’s sword, but how will I get up that high?  Oh, ok, I’ll devolve to 1-bit, jump on the first evolution creature, evolve, bounce off the next evolution creature, evolve, slash the wall, land on the platform and collect the villager.”

What makes it so psychologically satisfying is 1. how smart you feel when you figure out what to do and 2. when you actually accomplish the move set.  Even though I know this is how the developers wanted me to discover this solution, the visual recognition and physical completion are so intrinsically satisfying that every room is a moment of success that continued to sustain me throughout the entire game.

The platform mechanics themselves are tight.  Every time you die, it is not distressing or a source of frustration.  Every sequence makes you feel you could have completed it if not for a mistake or missed key on your part.  The load times are extremely short returning you to the game in mere moments to get you back into the fray, not dwelling on your mistakes.  The game introduces all the concepts naturally so you never feel overwhelmed or overmatched.  Though, the game is not shy about ramping up the challenge in the later stages.

Overall, Adventures of Pip is a loveable 2D platformer that hits all the right buttons.  It has tight mechanics, great art style and a cute story.  The intrinsic rewards make every step of the adventure feel worthwhile.  If you are a fan of 2D side-scrolling platformers or that retro-style game, you will not be remiss in picking this up.

Adventures of Pip is available now on Steam and on Wii U.

Adventures of Pip gameplay