Monday, October 26, 2009

Axel & Pixel

Developer: Silver Wish Games
Publisher: 2K Play
Release Date: Oct. 14, 2009
System: Xbox 360
ESRB Rating: E
Official Web site

In a nutshell: If the guy behind those Monty Python animations made a game...

0:00 In describing this game, Crispy Gamer Managing Editor Elise Vogel said "it looks like they're trying to go for a Braid aesthetic, but I'm not sure about the puzzles." Ambivalent praise at best, but we'll see how it goes...

0:01 A quick logo and I'm treated to an incredibly odd title screen, where a huge tree monster snarls behind a black picture frame that has a swirling vortex. A crudely drawn painter, complete with red beret, is holding on for dear life to avoid being sucked in. Oh, and there's a dog. I press A and the pair is sucked into ... the menu screen. Let's "Play Story."

0:02 Gentle string music over a snowy field with a humble house. A hawk swoops down and picks up a rabbit in its talons. Inside, the painter puts down his paint and sits in a comfy fur-lined shair. His brown dog hops onto his lap. A rat scurries in and cranks a phonograph on the floor, pleasing the artist. A title card reads: "Spring, Chapter 1, a ray of hope." Loving the surreal, paper cut-out animation style.

0:03 Outside now, the snow has started to thaw. Then: chaos. An icicle falls on the dog! A huge bee crashes into another and flies off, startling a red wolf, who throws a rock that drops another huge icicle on the house. A third icicle falls across a gap that I have to cross. The artist makes cute surprised noises as all this happens. I can't process this much surreal imagery so early in the morning!

0:04 A menu box tells me the situation. "Axel & Pixel awake in the dream world. The Evil Rat holds the key back home -- help Axel and Pixel catch him before winter returns and freezes this dream over forever!" Oh, so the red thing isn't a wolf? Hmmm... I wonder which one's Axel and which Pixel.



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