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Pixelus Review

Developer: Astraware Publisher: Astraware
Release Date: July 6, 2005 Also On: None

Pixelus is another puzzle game by Astraware. Notice a trend there? Well I do. Let us get to the routine procedure, trying to find out if this is one you should check out.

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Your task in Pixelus is to complete mosaics in temples of ten Roman gods. This is done by sliding square stones along a grid. You can only slide stones in and out from the rim, moving stones in other ways is not possible. For a stone to come to a halt at a certain position in the grid there has to be another stone in the way to stop it. The great thing about this is that it is a new concept that I have not seen in any other puzzle game so far. First it is a little confusing but the tutorial quickly teaches you how the game works.

In the beginning there are a fixed number of stones on the grid that cannot be moved. The places on the grid where stones should be put are colored and you have an exactly fitting number of stones lying on a bench outside the playfield. You can place tiles in other places temporarily but you will always have to get them out of there later and put them at their intended position. There are some specialties like places where pieces get stuck forever.

The game never gets too complicated though which is a good thing certainly but it is also a bad thing. There are not too many different moves and once you have learned them all even the later levels are easy to complete. That means that the 201 levels in the game will only keep you occupied for a few hours. It will take a little longer if you want to complete each level in the shortest possible number of moves but the game is still pretty short. Including a level editor might have been a good idea.

The presentation of the game is of usual good Pop Cap/Astraware quality. There are short animations for each god, a little dialog and fitting background music. It is all pretty basic but it does the job well. When you have completed a level, it is replaced by a piece of pixel art that shows what you just built. This is sometimes obvious, sometimes surprising. I found it just rewarding enough to keep me playing but they could certainly have thought of something better.

The controls in Pixelus are pretty simple. You tap where you want your stone to go. If the intended move is not possible the game will tell you why with a popup. A problem is that the grid is a little too small. It repeatedly happens that you tap the wrong piece. Fortunately there is an undo button so you will never mess up a level because of this.

All in all, Pixelus is a pretty average puzzle game. It is not one you have to play but if you have got nothing better to do, you should give it a shot. Why not try the demo and see for yourself whether you like it or not? The demo can be found on this page: http://www.astraware.com/all/default/pixelus/?link=home_1_1

Graphics: 7.5
Sound: 7.5
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 8.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 6.5
Final: 7.4
Written by Ortwin Review Guide