Axel & Pixel - 360 - Review
Although it began innocuously enough as a platform for high-def ports of classic arcade titles and casual games, Microsoft’s Xbox LIVE Arcade platform has really come into its own, presenting some truly high-quality titles and fostering indie development like no other download platform out there. Titles like Braid, Shadow Complex, and ‘Splosion Man are games that otherwise wouldn’t have a means of standard disc-based distribution, but given the benefits of Xbox LIVE Arcade, they are able to flourish and find their ways to the hands of willing gamers looking for great games.
Axel & Pixel is another example of a title that otherwise wouldn’t be able to have widespread distribution without Xbox LIVE Arcade. Recently released for 800 Microsoft Points, Axel & Pixel is a charming title with a lot of personality, being a perfect fit for the platform. While the game is far from perfect, being far too short and easily finished, it exudes charm, style and feels unique.
The game finds our titular heroes, a painter and his dog, as they get their house destroyed by the evil Ice Giant and his rat minion. Therefore, they embark on a mission to traverse through the four seasons, leading all the way to winter in order to take on the Ice Giant in his own world.
Axel & Pixel is an adventure/puzzle hybrid, with the majority of the game unfolding in the point-and-click style of other games like Secret of Monkey Island. You’ll solve logic-type puzzles, combing the environment for clues and trying to get from one of the game’s 24 screens to the next. This is never very difficult, as your cursor will light up whenever to find a place of interest, and it’s never a terribly taxing endeavor.
Aside from the standard point-and-click adventuring, there are three vehicle-based minigames littered throughout. These are hit and miss, being fun at times and kind of lousy at others. However, should you enjoy the vehicle segments, you’ll be able to go back and replay them through the menu.
Axel & Pixel’s main downfall is its brevity. The whole game can be finished in about three hours, and there’s very little incentive to go through the whole experience again after completing it once. While the game does have leaderboard support, the whole affair is way too short and too easy to warrant a second play through.
Graphically, the game looks great, thanks to a unique art style. The character models have a strange juxtaposed quality on the high-rendered background, and even move a bit strangely, but this only serves to add to the game’s charm and sense of style. The sound effects and music do a great job of capturing the mood and theme of the game, adding a nice ambiance to the gameplay.
Axel & Pixel is a great example of an original title with a great sense of personality. While the asking price of 800 Microsoft Points might be a bit much for such a short-lived adventure, it’s definitely a great time while it lasts.
Review Scoring Details for Axel & Pixel
The game is a short-lived experience, clocking in at around three hours from start to finish. However, the game’s unique style and point-and-click gameplay make it a joy to play for that brief time.
The graphics aren’t terribly complex, but the art design is done very well and looks great.
The music and sound lends an appropriate level of ambiance to the gameplay.
An original and intriguing, Axel & Pixel has tons of style and personality.
Axel & Pixel is short and easy, and doesn’t really heap on the replay value. However, if you are looking for a fun night with a unique and charming title, then look no further.