Also On: PSN
Developer: Might and Delight
I have never been a fan of the "work of art" type game. Games like Braid and P.B. Winterbottom all seemed to focus so much on beautifully detailed backgrounds or sprites, that the gameplay just got stale very quickly. Now I know that many people like these type of games very much, but I just never found them appealing. This was my feeling until I played pid by Might and Delight. This game changed my mind when it comes to games like this.
In pid, you play as young Kurt, who after falling asleep on a bus, finds himself stranded on a strange planet. Armed with only his backpack, he must find his way to a fabled city where he might catch a bus to take him home. But the journey will not be easy, since this planet is overrun with strange creatures and machines that all seem to want to hurt you. Along his travels, Kurt finds some strange orbs that create anti-gravity light beams that can help him overcome the many obstacles that stand in his way.
The beams themselves are vital to completing this long 12 hour journey. They can be used to float over spikes, and used to move or destroy enemies that stand in your way. They can also be used to find hidden areas where Kurt can discover secret objects or other items that can be helpful, like bombs and protective vests that can prevent death. Now that death will be an issue, since pid has no preset lives count. If you fail in getting past a puzzle, you can retry again and again until you make it to the next one. Not having to worry about lives is a plus since some of the puzzles are not as easy as they look. It can get somewhat frustrating with your 100th death, but it seems to make you want get through it more. If some of the puzzles seem too hard, you can always try to tackle them with a friend in co-op mode. Since co-op doesn't make the puzzles any harder or different, you can pass them quickly and even see a solution for the next time you try it solo.
Sometimes, you will encounter a boss fight that can be really tough. The bosses don't give away their weak points, or even give you any hints on how to beat them. The game leaves this up to you. Trial and error is your only option with these encounters, but once you figure out how to do it, it will almost seem easy. These fights reminded me of the classic game "Out Of this World" in a way, where there was the perfect way to deal with an enemy, you just need to keep working until you found it.
Needless to say, the graphics in pid are amazing. Even though it's a 2D platformer, you still have a feeling of being in this world along side Kurt and all the strange looking characters he interacts with. Sometimes, I failed a puzzle due to just getting lost in the background and not paying attention to what was happening. The music is moody and sometimes a little creepy, but fits exceptionally well with the atmosphere of the game. The combination of the wonderful visuals and creepy soundtrack really gets you hooked from start to finish.
Pid is not only fun and challenging, but nice to look at as well. It's one of those games that needs to be experienced first hand as screenshots and video will not do it justice. If you are still on the fence, I recommend trying out the demo as always to see if it's a good fit for you. I can assure you that you will be hooked from the start and downloading the full version in no time. At first, I did not care for "art" games like pid, but now I want to see more. I simply could not put it down.