It’s no surprise that Pixel People is a popular game. We gave it high praise in our review, and went on to detail how it can easily hijack all of your free time. Turns out we’re not the only ones with a serious Pixel People addiction. Chillingo has released an infographic detailing some of the stats the game has racked up in the two weeks since its release. Check it out below.
"Pixel People takes an apocalyptic future and makes it hopeful, cheerful and bright—if it's where freemium games are headed, we have a lot to look forward to." — Touch Arcade, 5/5
If we could harness the energy of all the screen taps of all the players of Pixel People, we’d have enough power to light up the planet for the rest of our lives. This is a game that can turn normal people into screen-tapping addicts, always waiting for their next fix. It’s a beautiful, rich, tremendously appealing game that even skeptics of the freemium model ought to try.
At the start of the game, you learn that some disaster has exploded planet Earth and wiped out all of humanity with it. Your job in Pixel People is to clone a new society from scratch and give them a city to live in. The game seamlessly melds together two different genres: the element-combining puzzle (like Doodle God) and the city building sim (like FarmVille or many other freemium games out there). The result is something special.
To populate your city, you have to splice together clones. Clones are identified by their professions, and by combining two compatible clones, you create a new clone with a new job. For instance, if you splice together a sheriff and a landscaper, you wind up with a park ranger. If you combine an architect with an artist, you get an interior designer. It can be a lot of fun to see which jobs you can create by combining vastly different occupations.
Each time you create a new job, the building that goes along with the job is also unlocked. So once you make a cheerleader, you can build a stadium. New buildings can be placed wherever you want, so as you progress, you shape the look and feel of your town. In addition to buildings, you can make things like parks, roadways, and extraterrestrial trees like Jupiter junipers and Plutonian pines.
All of your buildings then generate coins for you. When the game gets going, your town looks like a fireworks display of spinning coins and numbers, with your available money growing every second.
But like all good things, your income slows to a crawl if you don’t give the game your attention. Soon lightning bolt icons appear on your buildings, and they stop producing currency until you tap them again. The trees you plant also generate currency, and you have to tap it to collect. Hearts appear on your clones’ homes, and when you touch them, they gradually fill up a meter that gives you a random gift when it’s full.
It all amounts to a whole lot of mindless tapping that can eat up hours of your time if you have nothing else to do, or if you’re putting off doing something actually productive. You’ll want to keep earning coins, because it costs lots of money to expand your land– something you need to do to keep creating new jobs. At its worst, the game can seem like a beast that feeds on your attention.
That said, there’s a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction to be found here. Unlike some freemium games, there’s a little bit of strategy behind earning coins. If your city has a bank, then you’re rewarded for having buildings that are fully staffed with clones of certain professions. Finding a balance between earning and spending the two kinds of currencies lets you keep expanding your city without spending a dime of real money.
Even when you hit the freemium wall that slows down your progress– which happened to us after a few days of frequent playing– you can still find things to do. You can tap away at the icons as you watch TV, or move all the buildings around until you have the best layout you can imagine.
And yes, the game mostly amounts to a whole lot of tapping on the screen. But splicing together new jobs and creating a beautiful city is a whole lot of fun. Even if you’re not normally interested in freemium games, we think you should give Pixel People a shot.
Pixel People is a fun game. It’s pretty, it’s addictive, and it’s full of clever hidden jokes. But if you come at the game without a plan, you’ll waste a lot of time. Since most people don’t have free time in spades, I’ve compiled a list of tips and guidelines that will help you splice together genes efficiently.
The game is all about unlocking professions, and to do that you need space, coins, and utopium. Here’s how to best use your time to get as much of those three things as possible.
How to Maximize your Coins
Build a bank
To maximize your coin intake, you’ll want to build a bank early on. Banks make all of your fully-occupied buildings generate double the number of coins. Which brings us to…
Fill those buildings
Once you have a bank, filled buildings work twice as hard for you. So fill ’em up.
Max out your Spirit
You build Spirit by purchasing decorations. Spirit gives you discounts on land expansions, which become ever more expensive as you progress. So always max out your Spirit to minimize the cost of land expansions.
Build a farm
A farm turns the hearts you’ve collected into coins by temporarily doubling your coin production. Once you collect a dozen or so hearts, go to the farm and tap the Activate button to temporarily double your buildings’ coin production. You should do this as often as you can to maximize your coin intake.
Pay $1.99 to double production times
If you have a couple bucks to spare and you’re in it for the long haul, build an Enterprise building. In this building you can pay $1.99 to permanently double all of your buildings’ production times. This makes a big difference in how often you have to tap on your buildings and how much money you rack up when you set the game down. I think this is one in-app purchase that’s worth doing.
How to Maximize your Utopium
Trees take up one space apiece, and aside from looking nice, they randomly generate either coins or utopium every few minutes. You can earn up to 25 utopium a day from trees, so plant some trees and keep an eye on them.
Use the “free utopium” button (carefully)
The “free utopium” button is visible when you tap the plus sign in the upper left corner of the screen. This brings you to ad offers that give you free utopium in exchange for things like filling out surveys, watching ads, or buying stuff. You can get loads of free utopium this way, but many of the ads are shady, hard to navigate, or require personal information.
I wouldn’t recommend giving any company on here your phone number or address–and certainly not your credit card number. Instead, you might want to create a spam email address to use. That lets you sign up for whatever the ad requires and confirm your identity, but keeps your personal inbox free of the junk they send.
Even if you don’t enter any personal information, you can still earn free utopium points by watching ads or installing free apps. The offers change regularly, so even if you don’t see anything you want to do today, try again tomorrow.
How to Maximize your Space
Fill those buildings
Not only does filling your buildings double your coin intake once you have a bank, but it’s also the best use of your precious space. The less often you expand your space, the more time you have to save up coins to spend on those pricey expansions.
Build only Shiny Towers
Once you unlock the Shiny Tower residence, don’t build anything else to house your people. They cost quite a bit, but they’re the most economical building to use, since they house six people and only take up one space.
Use an online profession guide
If you don’t mind engaging in some minor, shall we say, flexing of the rules, it’s often helpful to refer to a gene guide. Several are available online, including this one.
Build these buildings
Casino – Grants you one free thing every day, like animals or buildings that don’t count against your available space.
Utopia HQ – Gives you “missions” that you can complete to unlock important genes you won’t find anywhere else.
Utopium Mine – Gives you one or two utopium per day.
Animal Shelter – Gives you a free animal every day.
Keep a list of genes to splice
In Pixel People as in life, a little planning goes a long way. When you stumble on a profession you want to splice together, write it down to consult later, when you have an available clone.
And last but not least, mute it
You’ll undoubtedly figure this one out on your own, but this game is extremely annoying with the sound on. Everything you tap makes a noise, and most of the noises are awful. Mute it to stay sane.
Do you love Pixel People as much as we do? If so, you’ll be pleased to know that an update to the game is coming “very soon.” It will include 55 new professions, 13 new buildings, 12 more animals, and shorter wait times. Check out the details and new screenshots below.
Here’s the full scoop on what’s new, straight from Chillingo:
-55 new jobs to splice + 9 special genes to unlock. That 64 ALL NEW Pixel People to find!
-13 exciting new buildings to add to your town
-12 more new adorable animals to adopt
-Over 40 new missions to complete, using your animals and resources, with spectacular rewards!
-A new ‘lucky packet’ to open, containing many more land-saving surprises
-Hotel Utopia finally opens its doors to public
CHANGES AND UPDATES
-Gene Pool gets a new look!
-Get quick surprises from the Animal Shelter
-New special features added to existing buildings
-Time discounts from Spirit now increase at the same rate as expansion discounts
-Splicing Time also benefits from Spirit discount
-New Spirit calculation system, now Spirit scales with level
-One more upgrade level available at the Research Facility
-Animal cards now show quantity, tier, and categories
BALANCE AND FIXES
-Build times reduced
-Coin exchange rates improved, now they scale with level
-Coin rewards improved, now they scale with level
-SFX and Music state saved on exit of the game
-Other minor bug fixes