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Game Info:

Pixelot
Developed By: Kyle Berger
Published By: Kyle Berger
Released: March 31, 2021
Available On: Microsoft Windows, Android, iOS, Linux
Genre: Turn-based RPG
ESRB Rating: none specified
Number of Players: Singleplayer
Price: $9.99

I'd like to thank Kyle Berger for the review keys to this title, on both Steam and itch.io.

Back in the late eighties and early nineties, Richard Garriot made Ultima. It had simple pixel graphics, a not overly complex plot, and a rather straightforward style of RPG gameplay, but it had its unique setting and concepts despite the simplicity that made it a classic. Pixelot is a modern-day throwback that tries to recapture the magic from that time and does so rather well.

Pixelot's plot is fairly simple. A long time ago, three brothers had a succession crisis, and one decided to kill the others and go full Dark Lord. Heroes rose up to stop him and used elemental crystals to seal away the dark powers he used. The seal has started to spring a leak since that time, thus new heroes have been chosen to save the land again.

From this basic plot, we get a top-down, 8-bit style turn-based RPG. The game allows you to pick your character class and name yourself at the start, then allows you to play. It's a fairly simple RPG, and even provides a tutorial woven into the game to get you settled in if you've never played a turn-based role-playing game.

Pixelot
Highlights:

Strong Points: Charming retro-style RPG
Weak Points: No fullscreen option; poorly documented controls
Moral Warnings: RPG styled violence; mild references to the undead

It's worth noting this game has a few specific features. All health recovers after each battle and equipment can be upgraded via enemy drops. Given this is very easy to "farm", this allows even early equipment to remain useful for a long time. Other party members will be encountered and added to the team as the game progresses, and each one has their own unique skills to complement your team. Overall, this game tends toward the easy, given its family-friendly script and intent. It does compensate for not being very hard by being pretty witty, and the script is full of a lot of tongue-in-cheek jokes.

Graphically, it resembles 8-bit NES/GBC style pixel art, giving the game a colorful retro RPG look. The sounds and music are also somewhat retro, though a few tracks like the boss music are pretty high quality regardless.

Control-wise, this game was designed to be controlled via keyboard and mouse, and while it's not hard to learn, the controls are not very descriptive as to how they work, and it may take a bit to adjust to their touch screen-like function.

Stability is entirely related to how well your computer can run Java, which the game was coded in. I had an inexplicable issue where until my computer got an update Java functionality seemed to fail and the game would not load at all. I'm not sure how to replicate the problem, and if it loads up, it will run fine, though it has no true full-screen mode, which may annoy people. The Linux version on itch.io has some issues running from what I'm given to understand by the developer, and I recommend running the Windows version in Windows only. I tried running it in Steam Proton in Linux and the performance was horrid.

Pixelot
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 80%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 88%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Morally, Pixelot is rather tame.

Violence is of the "give orders and watch it happen' RPG variety. When anyone dies in combat, a gravestone with a bubble icon of a ghost appears to signify it until the battle ends. There is absolutely no foul language or crude humor, and there is no hint of sexual content.

There is some magic use, but nigh all of it is generic fantasy tropes that have no real-world counterpart. There are a few undead enemies, generally of the "spooky skeleton" type, but that is all. Morally and ethically this follows the classic heroic journey tropes to save the land and thus is not inappropriate for anyone.

For its price, it's long enough to justify buying it, and technically, it has few technical issues I could discern aside from a slightly unfriendly interface. Some very minor undead references aside, this is morally pretty appropriate for practically any age. It's not the deepest game I've ever played, but it's just charming enough in its own way that if you want a fun if slightly easy throwback to classic RPG games, Pixelot is a good idea to pick and play.


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