When Apple announced the arrival of in-game purchases to help usher in true episodic gaming for the iPhone, there was a mixed reaction. Developers loved it because it could serve as a means to break the $9.99 ceiling, while gamers were understandably jaded from rip-off DLC scenarios on traditional consoles. While the jury is still out on how in-game purchases will affect the App Store long-term, it’s great to see indie games like Pik’s Revenge take an episodic approach while focusing on great content and value. With a new episode added recently, there’s now enough game here to warrant a full review.
At its heart, this is an adventure game starring a reluctant hero thrown into a complicated situation. Throughout your journey in space, you’ll unravel a story that begins from curious explosions ravaging Dustbucket-5, your home off in a distant galaxy. No, the story isn’t anywhere close to being Gene Roddenberry material, but it’s not forgettable junk either.
Much of your time in Pik’s Revenge will be spent completing jobs and quests that propel the story, just like an RPG. Set in a 2D side-scrolling perspective, there are a variety of shops and destinations lined up and down the cities you visit. Shops and destinations have business hours, so it’s not just a mindless affair of completing missions without constraints.
As a helpful touch, shops that have active side missions and other uses have a blue neon border around their doors. On the flip side, red borders surround areas you have no business visiting. After completing missions, you can link your accomplishments to friends courtesy of Facebook Connect. The job variety is good, but there is a higher frequency of fetch quests than we would have liked.
Using two fat arrows on both sides of the screen, moving Pik around his environment is simple. Collecting health, gold, and ore is as simple as tapping their icons on the ground. Your pool of active missions is succinctly tucked in the Quest Log, initiated by a tap of its associated icon. The UI can seem overwhelming and clinical during gameplay, but it gets easier once you mess around with it a little.
A diverse populace.
Until recently, Pik’s Revenge was an all-too-brief experience (called Pik’s Adventure) that left gamers unfulfilled. With the new expansion bringing in a whole new planet to conquer called Rust Rivet, the value question gets erased. We didn’t notice a better storytelling experience or new gameplay mechanics in the new planet, but the added content is a welcome addition.
We’re torn on the art direction in Pik’s Revenge. Much time has obviously been put into the 2D artwork and cutscenes, but the end result doesn’t strike us as being aesthetically appealing. Of course, critiquing art is always a subjective exercise, but it’s just our opinion.
Make no mistake though, Pik’s Revenge is a very good product. Gamers looking for an adventure title with a cohesive story and RPG elements will find much to like here. While that next planet could require an in-app purchase, fans of Pik’s Revenge shouldn’t have any problem supporting this indie title that’s already full of intergalactic drama.