Publisher: Spooky Squid Games
Developer: Spooky Squid Games
Release Date: 8/29/2012
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If you loved Super Meat Boy you should check this game out. Will love it as much? Probably not. TBP is all about a little girl who picks up some mysterious cursed book that turns her into a demon in her dreams. The game has a Lovecraftian are style, but the same 8-bit graphics as Super Meat Boy. The game features twitch reflex platforming and combat.
The platforming is simple enough with abilities to double jump and clings to walls, but the game requires mastering the controls to maneuver through nigh impossible paths that require pixel-perfect timing. The combat is actually what brings this game down so much. The developers tried to make it too complicated. Hitting the attack button doesn’t really do much damage to enemies which is stupid. You also don’t get a multiplier if you use a standard attack. They want you to be “creative” and use the dash attack, knock them into obstacles, and use the high kick. I know, these kinds of moves don’t belong in this kind of game. The combat system is just convoluted and requires too much thinking for a game that relies on instinct and muscle memory responses. After a platforming section, I start wailing on an enemy and realize I have to think about this combat system. It hurts my brain and really messes with the momentum of the otherwise solid platforming and controls.
There is a neat checkpoint system that allows you to put it wherever you want. If you get enough purple orbs you can fill up your checkpoint meter and stay still for a while. This will place a checkpoint at that spot allowing you to save them for complicated platforming sections. This alleviates the frustrating combat that leads to some cheap deaths. If you do well enough on a level you can unlock special stages that are from the iOS version and user-created.
With all of this combined They Bleed Pixels is great if it weren’t for that combat system. You just can’t stop and think about fighting when you are on a good platforming run. The custom checkpoint system helps remove some of that frustration, but in the end, I just want to hit an enemy a few times and be done. Even having to do the complicated moves just to flip switches is pretty annoying. If you can look past this you will enjoy this game, but most people will just stick with Super Meat Boy.