Axel & Pixel Xbox 360 Review

May 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

Just about every frame of animation in Axel & Pixel is charismatic and humorous making the game an utter joy, even before you solve a puzzle. The dream world setting is another thing that reels you in before you’ve even interacted with it.

Painter Axel and his loyal dog Pixel have been trapped within this dream world by, of all things, a big rat. It all takes place over 24 beautifully hand drawn scenes, consisting of some lovely peaceful countryside and dark, damp sewers and such. The accompanying music is of a suitably dreamy quality and really does its part, complimenting the overall experience.

Earlier scenes largely have you interacting with your environment to find the right object or combination of objects to progress to the next scene. It’s amusing just interacting with the world, to see what funny animations involving Axel and Pixel ensues. It’s also a world that’s worthy of exploration, with plenty of optional things to discover.

The true puzzles turn up later on and have you doing such things as connecting pipes and unravelling wires, none of which are unlikely to tax the mind of puzzle enthusiasts, but that hardly matters when the journey is such a charming one.

If you do somehow find yourself stuck, there’s a clue system implemented that, in regard to the environmental based puzzles, are more handholding than clues, though I suppose it’s more convenient than having to visit GameFAQS.

Away from the core puzzle solving are vehicle based mini games, these are enjoyable and not the afterthought that such segments tend to be in other adventure games. These sections don’t have the level of quality to work as complete games, but as brief respites from the puzzling, they’re more than adequate. The bumpy car section is especially an entertaining ride, with some fantastic physics.

The length of Axel & Pixel really depends on your aptitude for puzzle solving and if you’re willing to uncover all the secrets that the game has to offer. For the experienced, Axel & Pixel is going to be a slender game that may leave that 800 price point feeling a little excessive.

Axel & Pixel seemingly sets out to make you laugh rather than challenge you. But it’s the journey through a world that is both beautiful and nightmarish, where almost every little movement of the two central characters is amusing, that proves to be the real strength of this surreal and charming game.