Cute as a button
Pixeline and the Jungle Treasure is an odd throw back to the platforming days of old. Maybe it’s fitting in a time when Mario can make a comeback with a bunch of old SNES games that the iPhone gets a game which borrows heavily from many of those platforming staples.
Pixeline herself is an intrepid explorer, a Dora-esque little girl who happens to be looking for pieces of a treasure map over 26 levels set in different lands. Cue jumping, waiting for moving platforms and, yes, the compulsory stomping on enemies heads.
Yet, Pixeline can’t be completely dismissed. The ability to change into different creatures in every world, all of which have differing abilities and let you reach new areas is, while not completely original, a good one. The levels are designed so that much of the time can be spent going straight on, but rewards come from venturing back over the level (or even back across previous levels) to gather more chests or coins. The only issue is that these don’t really seem to have any effect or reward in the game, save for the odd extra life, a shame as there should be room for power-ups or a decent scoreboard system.
Graphically, the game has a nice pastel colour palette and is pretty easy on the eye. The style should appeal to the younger player, even if the difficulty on later levels might not. Rising square hills and wavy lined mountains have a very Super Mario World feel to them, quite possibly intentional given the genre, but they lack something of the polished feel of Nintendo’s efforts and after a few levels all blend in to one.
Difficulty is an odd beast. The game seems to be aimed at children but there are often times when frustration creeps in due to missing a platform for the tenth time. It’s partly because the controls aren’t quite up to the job. While a slider is an interesting way of presenting a left-to-right control system, in place of a D-Pad, it still doesn’t have the precision needed to make a jump correctly or stop in time at the end of a platform. Jump and change buttons lend an uncluttered air to the rest of the controls but the movement slider lets the side down.
The other frustration over difficulty is the lack of reward for collecting things and making further progress. It doesn’t feel as if the story moves on from just finding another piece of map enough to want to continue.
That said, Pixeline is still a fairly enjoyable platform game if you can cope with the controls and other issues. The level design is interesting enough to make you think about how to get to the end of each level and the sketched comic book graphics which tell the story are very cute. It’s just not enough to save the game from being just another generic platform game.
- Sound: 6
- Graphics: 7
- Gameplay: 5
- Longevity: 5
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