Knowing that Axel & Pixel is an XBLA title I wasn’t expecting a huge epic story, but what I did get was rather nice. Also being a game with no dialogue what so ever (Axel speaks gibberish), the story is up for interpretation, but it’s not hard hard to figure out. Axel who is a painter and his dog Pixel are relaxing together on a calm mid-winter’s day, when all of a sudden a rat comes out and plays strange music on a gramophone. Axel and Pixel fall asleep into a surreal dream world and that’s where your adventure begins. The rat who played the strange music appears to hold the key to your escape so you follow him through out the story chasing him through the four season’s of nature. While the story makes little to no sense that’s the beauty of it, it’s abstract.
Axel and Pixel’s gameplay consists of point and click puzzle solving, quick time events and simple vehicle controls. To help you with the puzzle solving each level offers 3 hints, but players beware if you want to get the “Little Helper” achievement you have to complete the game under 20 hints. Quick time events are simple and give you a good amount of time to hit the correct face button. Quick time events are triggered by fighting and climbing scenarios. Vehicle levels are great fun and are probably my favorite part of the game. These events happen 3 times (Hot air balloon, truck and sail boat), but thankfully these events can be played over in the mini game section with added levels to cruise around in. All of the above said elements work well and are flawless, the developers really hit it out of the park.
The graphics consist of real photos, cartoons and paintings. This creates for absolutely stunning levels. As you can see below there isn’t much else to say they can only be described as stunning.
The sound in this game is wonderful, very reminiscent of Braid. Each season has its own melody and I can’t think of a score more perfect for the situations you encounter. Again the developers get another home run.
Other then leaderboards there isn’t any other online function, but seeing how you match up against your friends is always a welcome feature. The fact that there’s no online features except the said above doesn’t hinder the game in anyway. Two or more players are not meant to enjoy this experience at the same time, its definitely a rich solo experience.
In conclusion Axel and Pixel is a great XBLA title and will definitely be loved by the artsy puzzle game players.With beautiful visuals, a great soundtrack, quirky story and fun gameplay Axel and Pixel earns a 5 out of 5.
Quick time events: are a method of gameplay used in video games. It allows for limited control of the game character during cut scenes or cinematic sequences in the game, and generally involves the player following onscreen prompts to press buttons or perform other actions.