Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic

Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic developed by The Bitfather!

Are you a fan of retro graphics? Rogue-likes? RPGs? Procedurally generated items and dialogue? If you were chanting “YES!” like a Daniel Bryan fan, then this is the game for you. Still not sold? How about the most badass promo video of all time?

Okay, now that you have obviously just purchased Pixel Heroes due to the sheer badassery of that video, let’s move on to the review. Pixel Heroes is a sidescrolling rogue-like RPG with hilariously random character backgrounds. It’s a trip just reading the backgrounds of each character you can choose from in the tavern at the start of each game.
Pixel Heroes Background

Do something meaningless and inconsequential this morning? (STAT+)!

The entire game is played in a sidescrolling format. Once you select your party, you start scrolling through a town with shops and distressed citizens. These townfolk in need send you on silly quests, such as finding a kitten, in the most evil horrific shitholes they could think of. Even the overland travel uses the sidescrolling format. Your characters will just walk from point A to point B on the map, and encounter random crazy shit as they go. The world of Pixel Heroes is reminiscent of a slightly darker Adventure Time; it’s fun and wacky, but death is just around every corner. Literally.

Pixel Heroes Death

Death ain’t so bad. Fucker owes me $3.50 though.

Speaking of death, this game is hard. So hard, that there is no normal or easy mode. You start the game on hard, and after some completion you can start to play higher difficulties. The difficulty comes strictly from the RPG aspect of the game. There’s no worrying about saying the wrong thing to the wrong guy, no wondering if you’re gonna step in a big smelly turd trap, there is simply combat and not dying in it. I imagine this would keep things nice and simple for the mobile port of the game.

Combat is simple but fun; your party lines up and your enemies line up. The further away an enemy is, the more reach a weapon or spell needs to attack them. Keeping squishy members of the party furthest away helps keep them from being targeted too. Your choice of actions in combat are limited; you can attack with an equipped weapon or spell, or use a skill that goes on cooldown. Each turn consists of one party member or enemy acting, so if you decide to heal with your priest, that is all you will be doing until the turn comes back to you.

Pixel Heroes Combat

So few options. So much not-dying to do.

The art in this game is awesome, just great, old school pixelated awesome. It really reminds me of something that I could of played on the SNES, but with a more modern take on the art style. What I like more than anything is the bosses. I’d try to describe it, but as with most of my ventures in life, I’d fail miserably. So here, while I reflect on my life and sob violently, look at this pretty picture:

Pixel Heroes Boss

So that’s what happens when you get a human centipede drunk. Huh.

Okay. All better now. I only have two chief complains about Pixel Heroes; that is the lack of obvious definitions for stats and the tediousness that sets in when you realize the game is just a series of fights. The mechanics of the game aren’t so complex that they really need much explanation, but some clarification for stats, effects and damage calculations would have been nice. They may be hidden behind that gigantic fucking help button, but help buttons are for big blubbering vaginas. I figured it out by dying repeatedly like a man.

After the initial novelty of the game wears off, it quickly becomes apparent that the game is just a series of battles, and everything else on the screen and the actions in between battle serve no purpose than to keep you from getting tired of constant battles. It’s not necessarily a bad thing; I’m a sucker for simplicity. However, that veil is quickly pierced and I’m wondering how much replay value I’ll be getting out of Pixel Heroes.

Pixel Heroes Exclamation Marks

Well, now we know where those floating exclamation marks come from.

Overall, Pixel Heroes is a fun little RPG that delivers some good humor, challenging gameplay, and great retro graphics at a low price point. Though the game boils down to inventory management and minor roleplaying in between a series of battles, its simplicity lends to something you can pick up and put down with ease.

Good Ole Score: 7 out of 10.

Good Ole Score: 7 out of 10.

Pros:

  • Great retro graphics
  • Hilarious random character backgrounds
  • Humorous world full of funny characters
  • Fun, simple combat
  • Challenging gameplay

Meh:

  • Sound and music were decent, nothing remarkable

Cons:

  • No obvious definition of stats, effects and mechanics
  • Repetitive gameplay might quickly grow monotonous