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Axel & Pixel Review
Review Score:

Imagine a quirky 2D world filled with mind bending puzzles, a smothering of action mini games and an art style that would find itself proudly in place at the Tate Modern. This is what Silver Games (Published by 2K Play) has brought us in their point and click adventure Axel & Pixel. Let’s delve into the surreal world and ‘key’ in a review score.

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Story – 9

The storyline to Axel & Pixel is pretty simple. An ice goblin overshadows the town they live in and Axel & Pixel’s house gets destroyed, a nasty rat grabs the key to your home and throughout four weather seasons and puzzle solving your quest is to chase after the rat and defeat the ice goblin to return home. We won’t ruin the ending here, but lets just say it wasn’t the most original ending of all time, however simple enough to keep you interested and keep the game play at its premium focus.

Gameplay – 9

The premise of the game is primarily a point & click adventure title, clicking on objects to create solutions for Axel & Pixel to progress to the next level and chase after that damn rat! To give you an example of the attention to detail here, one level requires you to create a make shift paraglide to clear a cavern, drop down a ladder and put together a make shift raft for Pixel (the dog) to clear the river. Sound interesting? How about the level where by you have to make a slingshot using chewing gum to break dam to then clear an animal from its path to progress underground. I will give no further spoilers away here, but what I’m trying to say is that the puzzle elements aren’t dull, they are very imaginative and although the yellow magic cursor will point you in the right direction, it doesn’t give you everything you need to complete each level with ease. If you are really stuck, you do get 3 help tips per level, though we did use these sparingly throughout the game.

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Axel & Pixel isn’t all about point and click puzzle elements, there are some strategy action based puzzles and also mini-games that can be unlocked and played in an arcade mode. The best of these is a truck based trial game, very similar to those addictive Miniclip games that require you to complete a course without falling down caverns. These scores are twinned with a leader board so you can constantly be competitive and upload your scores. Don’t be fooled here the mini-games really as a distraction from the fantastic 4-5 hours of immersive play. Axel & Pixel themselves are very endearing, they have a Mr Bean likeability about them and although Axel appears to be a French painter, he doesn’t have anything Chirac about him. With the game requiring very few buttons to play, this title will be fantastic for the casual market whilst also giving enough punch for those veteran gamers.

Graphics & Audio – 10

Hand drawn characters, foes and animals combined with a photo realistic landscape and objects make Axel & Pixel one of the most unique visual experiences to date. It really is an experience in itself and helps create a dynamic fantasy world and a point & click with real character. The graphical presentation doesn’t tire as the game set’s place over 4 seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter aswell as some levels taking place underground. People herald Sam & Max as being a classic of the genre, Axel & Pixel are arguably the modern, the new age. For 800 Microsoft points, this game is an absolute bargain. Attention to detail also comes in the sounds, whether it be gushing water, flying hornets or the sounds of chiming icicles, it’s all beautifully charming and the minimal scrap English the characters use add to their endearment, it’s an absolute pleasure experiencing this visual feast!.

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Fun Factor – 10

Although the game is only around 5 hours in play time, the fun here cannot be questioned. With every level complete your left with a brimming smile of accomplishment and without the frustration too. Everything in Axel & Pixel bar the QTE’s can be done at your own pace and it makes for a relaxing experience that you can delve into and appreciate. The mini games are great fun too, mixing puzzle and action successfully. The graphics are just great and the hidden pickups and collectables give this game the real chance of a second play through. It’s unquestionably one of the most essential 800 points purchases since Q Entertainments XBLA re-incarnation of Rez .

Online – N/A

Not enough here to score it, but you do have online leader boards for the mini games along with the overall finishing game scores.

Overall Score 9.5/10

Essential purchase, no doubt about it. Silver & 2K have pulled off an unsung hero that deserves the attention of the gaming community. Axel & Pixel has atmosphere, charm, game play and stunning graphics and for 800 Microsoft points it’s one of the best experiences on Microsoft’s download service.

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
Axel & Pixel Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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