At a glance, Impossible Pixel calls forth fond memories of the indomitable N+, a deliciously challenging platformer that often felt like an impossible endeavor on its own. This monochromatic adventure strives to follow in the same footsteps, but ultimately ends up failing due to frustrating level layouts and touchy controls.
At the very least, Impossible Pixel is gorgeous. The dystopian environments are comprised of blacks, grays, whites, and of course, plenty of crimson blood to ensure you never forget the times you’ll spend failing and restarting again and again. As you sprint to the finish avoiding traps, enormous saws, and other sneaky obstacles that want to prevent you from completing your main objective, another hangs in the balance. Collecting the coin that can be found floating about the expanse of the level is another matter to be concerned with.
Someone should really secure that saw blade.
Adapting trap avoidance and the fancy flip-tricks and acrobatics to both surviving the level and collecting extraneous bonus points is downright painful, though. You’re going to need to fall down a million times and get back up a million and one in order to prevail, because Impossible Pixel can be, well, nigh-impossible sometimes– and not in the way that really encourages you to get back up on that horse and try again.
The on-screen joypad is analog– it doesn’t work nearly as smoothly as it needs to in a game that demands pinpoint accuracy. This is a common complaint across the genre, but the controls stutter, freezing at some points, and simply don’t allow you to pull off the minute machinations required of you to emerge victorious all of the time. A less finicky D-pad or alternate method of navigation may have worked better here, especially given the amount of correcting and planning required to collect coins and best each painful arena.
Despite iffy input and occasional hang-ups Impossible Pixel still seems as though it’s on your side. It has the decency to pick you up when you fall and dust the dirt from your shoulders, urging you to take one more stab at it before collapsing, restarting you when you perish and automatically throwing you back in the game to try just one more time. And another, until you’re fed up with the lack of tactile controls to climb out of the ashes. It’s a shame the game and puzzles themselves aren’t as polished as the aesthetic and slick soundtrack, as otherwise there’d be another excellent trial platformer on our hands.
Unfortunately, due to the control issues, nagging difficulty, and frustrating setup, Impossible Pixel simply isn’t enough fun to keep you at it since it punishes rather than warmly inviting you to start over fresh. With a few more updates and changes to the overall interface and player physics, Impossible Pixel could flourish. For now, it’s best to opt for a more fleshed-out natural platformer with more challenges, smoother controls, and fewer variables to get in the way of your own greatness. In this genre, that’s all you can really count on to keep you feeling like a winner.