E3 2012: Pid hands-on

While at E3, I came across the opportunity to check out an upcoming game called Pid. The downloadable title, developed by Might and Delight, is a 2D puzzle platformer with some interesting mechanics, a nice level of challenge, and fiendishly clever gameplay. Pid is also quite old school, offering gameplay tropes and difficulty reminiscent of the good ol' NES days.

In Pid, players will navigate around dangers and obstacles by using small energy balls that release gravitational energy upon touching a surface. For example, after tossing an energy ball in front of my character, a beam of light radiated upward from the ground. I guided my character toward it, and he began floating as soon as he stood atop it. Energy balls can also be thrown into walls, and doing this will cause the character to float away from the wall.

I found myself perishing quite a few times during my demo session with Pid, but that didn't deter my motivation in the slightest. In fact, it pushed me to continue trying, much like the classic NES games I played as a kid. Pid is meant to be tough — the game is supposed to challenge the player, and the player is supposed to be tenacious and tough it out. That's exactly what I did every time I accidentally fell into some spikes after gravitational force pushed me away from a wall and I mistimed a jump, or when a wily enemy targeted me and flew right into me.

Pid features some tricky gameplay, but it's all very satisfying. Once you get it, the objective becomes clear, but the levels will continue to challenge you. When I started playing Pid, it was simple platforming fare. But as I progressed through a couple of areas, I noticed that the challenge became more daunting. I had to place the force-yielding energy balls in strategic spots throughout the different platforms, outmaneuver baddies, jump over lethal spikes, and even utilize multiple energy balls. It didn't take long for Pid to truly test me, and that's great, because puzzle platformers take a bit too long to really get going these days. I'm glad to see that wasn't the case with this game.

Visually, Might and Delight has created a smooth, calm aesthetic that feels very "spacy." Given the fact that Pid takes place on a strange remote planet, the visual design makes total sense. But the game isn't just spacy for the sake of being spacy; it's actually a very lovely-looking game that boasts color usage that's easy on the eyes. Foregrounds pop nicely with bold design while backgrounds offer smooth and subtle detail. I really can't wait to see what lies ahead in later levels.

I only spent a few minutes playing Pid, but I'm already eager to see and experience more of it. The game was polished and enjoyable, and if you're a fan of puzzlers, platformers, or retro games — or you just want a good challenge — I would highly suggest watching out for this one. Pid is due out this summer on Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and PC.

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