Pid Review (PSN)
Art based, cinematic experiences in gaming have been around for a few years now with games like Flower, Flow and Limbo. They have brought us more than just platforming or puzzle solving as their designers created worlds that were just as aesthetically pleasing as they were fun and challenging to play. Developer Might and Delight adds another title to this genre with their artistic platformer called Pid.
The story follows a young and intelligent boy named Kurt who awakens to find himself stranded on a strange planet and must find a way to the big city in order to catch a bus ride home. His journey will have him traveling through a strange world full of creatures and machines that are hell bent stopping him. Armed only with a backpack and an anti-gravity like light beam, he must transverse this crazy planet to reach his destination and hopefully catch a ride home.
Let me begin by saying that Pid is a very good looking game. The creators did a wonderful job of making the game enjoyable to look at, even in death. From the opening sequence and all the way through the credits (if you can get that far), Might and Delight paid enough attention to detail to make this game pure eye candy. Add in an ear pleasing soundtrack and you will find yourself immersed in a truly cinematic experience.
In gaming, music should be used to enhance levels by giving them a unique overall feel and Pid does this well. The soundtrack is just as pleasing on the ears as the graphics are on the eyes. With zen like soothing music to bass bumping, ear thumping, boss beating tunes that enhance each level and sets the tone perfectly. This is a soundtrack that most will probably want to download and own for themselves as the developers took a great mix of smooth jazz sounds and enhanced the game in ways that resonate with the art styles that are a remembrance of Picasso.
For all of the great work on sight and sound, it is the gameplay that leaves much to be desired. To say Pid is unforgivably difficult at times would be an understatement. Our hero is originally only given a back pack and the ability to create light beams. These light beams create a reverse gravity flow within their beams, and are used to carry you across gaps, or to reach higher places than just jumping can take you. This is a very useful tool that works flawlessly once you figure out how to use it effectively. As you progress through the game, you are also given other tools to aid you on your journey like bombs and a life vest that makes you less vulnerable to damage. As a 2D platformer, the game works and plays great, it’s just hard and unforgiving.
Lucky for us there are no limits on lives. While the game does keep track of your deaths, as well as the time it takes you to complete a level, it doesn’t punish you for dying and that’s a good thing because you will be dying. Often. Originally you can’t take any hits or touch any enemy without dying as one touch equals death. Once you acquire your first life vest you’ll be able to absorb some damage, so that’s a plus. The game uses a checkpoint system and you reach checkpoints often, thankfully.
The game gets progressively harder the farther you travel and boss fights are no exception – the difficulty in boss fights are compounded by the fact that there’s no in-game information available on how to beat them. You can only use trial and error and this will result in more death. Once you figure out the method to defeat the boss, it’s generally not too hard to take them out, but failing will send you back to the beginning of the battle, and some of these encounters aren’t for the faint of heart.
The only multiplayer feature for Pid is a local co-op mode. If you have a friend that wants to join you, have them pick up a second controller and sit down on the couch next to you. The difficulty doesn’t change, so this does make the game a little easier at times. Working together is the key and should be your main focus when playing co-op; tasks that seem insurmountable alone, become much easier at times when someone else is there to help. It’s not all smiles with a friend though, as some difficulty spikes will be there regardless.
Developer Might and Delight have listened to reviewers and gamers and have already released a patch for Mac and PC gamers that reworks levels and adds an easy mode. They have said that a patch for the console version is in the works, but no release date has been announced. I’m sure there are gamers out there that will go on to beat every level and every boss with little difficulty and will claim that this game isn’t all that hard. Most, though have already found this game to be maddeningly difficult at times, and that takes away from the overall experience and it is the overall experience of a game of this genre that must be taken into consideration. Why the developer didn’t think to add a Zen mode, where the difficulty is friendlier and more relaxing, is mind boggling.
Pid takes the cinematic 2D platforming genre to the next level with incredible graphics, a great soundtrack, and good level design. The fact that they didn’t at least add a friendlier difficulty level does take away from the overall experience though.