Saturday, June 29, 2013 09:17:13

Review: 14px Is an Addictive Platformer That Shows No Mercy

14px

I found 14px on Ustav Gupta's channel, Holo UI. That's interesting, because 14px has nothing to do with Holo really -- but it's still an awesome game. Ustav says:

14px is a challenging, addictive, fast paced platformer.


I'd have to agree: 14px is an interesting game because it sets out to be incredibly hard, much like the platformers of old. That doesn't mean it's any less fun than its fellow platformers that have checkpoints all over the place so that you never have to backtrack. You will die, die, and die again. And every time that happens, you'll find yourself starting the same level again, gradually becoming better and better, honing your 14px skills until you're a mean, lean, platforming machine.

Thankfully, the levels are usually quite short, so you don't have to play for minutes at a time before dying: You'll usually find yourself back at the beginning of the level after just a few seconds. There are many ways to get there: You can get impaled on spikes, flying sharp things that come at you from the sky, or just fall to your death, because the platforms float in midair. There's a level where you have to press a button that flips the entire level on its side, leaving you hurtling blindly through the air, trying to land without falling on a spike.

14px

Killed by spikes!

Controls

Touchscreen controls can often be annoying, especially when it comes to platformers and racing games. When you have to provide very quick, accurate feedback, the last thing you want is your fingers sliding on slippery glass that offers no tactile feedback. 14px, however, does an excellent job in this department. The game offers two control schemes: in the first, your left finger controls the left and right buttons, and the right finger makes your character jump. In the second control scheme, your left finger makes the character run left, the right finger makes the character run right, and swiping up makes your character jump.

14px

One of the most satisfying moments in the game: Finally passing a level.

Although this latter control scheme sounds more intuitive, I found myself enjoying the default scheme (scheme 1) more. What's cool about it is that I did not have to keep my fingers glued to a tiny button on the screen: The controls are actually transparent, and span vast sections of the screen, so you can be way off target and the game still understands what you're trying to do. This means you can pay attention to what's happening with your character, rather than where your fingers are going on the glass. 14px is a demanding game, but it uses controls that make it easier to live up to its gameplay expectations.

Graphics and Sound

14px

Killed by flying spikey thing!

As you might gather from the name, 14px uses a "small" aesthetic. Everything is quite zoomed out, so that you can see fair bit of the level at every given point. Your character is a tiny black splotch that splashes black blood all over the screen whenever it gets impaled by the myriad spikes and sharp things that are out to get it on each level.

While graphics are simple, they are they do have their own distinctive style. Combined with the game's hectic nature and smooth, fluid responsiveness, this gives a sense of lightweight, effortless gameplay, where no distracting details take your attention away from what really matters: Getting through the level in one piece.

14px

The simple, minimal visuals make for fluid gameplay.

The soundtrack is a hectic chiptune that complements the retro style nicely. Nothing special, but it works.

Final Thoughts

The sense of accomplishment you get from completing a difficult level is very real.

If you don't like dying, dying, and dying again, don't play 14px. On the other hand, if you do enjoy the occasional platformer even when it doesn't have cute mushrooms, you need to check out 14px. The sense of accomplishment you get from completing a difficult level and getting all of the jumps and turns right is very real. Now go have some fun!