Pix’n Love Rush is currently being featured in the Google Play store, and it’s hard to ignore that delightfully retro pixellated devil in the app icon. The dead-simple platforming game has been available on Android for a long time now, bundling together a wide variety of mini-games in a distinct, slightly-warped pixellated package.
Graphics and audio
Pix’n Love Rush is interesting in that it doesn’t directly adopt the old-school style, though it does take plenty of inspiration from older games. Many of the screens are monochromatic, but a wide variety of glow and full-screen effects add a decidedly modern feel to the gameplay. Many of these effects are clearly made to be psychedellic enough to be distracting from what should be a straightforward challenge - a nice trick, if you have the patience for it. Animations are smooth with a few stylistic exceptions. The only real niggle is the play area wasn’t completely optimized for larger Android screens when it was ported from iOS, as there are bars on the left and right to fill things in.
The soundtrack is extremely faithful to the 8-bit era, and so catchy that I’m disappointed that the music isn’t available as a stand-alone download.
Gameplay and controls
Pix’n Love Rush is broken up into four mini-games, all of which are variations on the standard platforming formula. Classic Rush has players navigate through a series of levels for as long as possible while collecting coins and evading enemies. The adorable little creature can also shoot block-things from his mouth to eliminate bad guys overhead for extra points, but watch out - if you miss, that block can come down and take a bite out of your health. I found the virtual buttons in this mode a little too small. There’s a five-minute mode available and an infinite running one to see how many points you can gobble up before kicking the bucket.
Cursed Rush has a map continually scrolling forward, and players have to jump across platforms to keep up. The goal is to keep up to the very end without falling, but that’s a lot harder than it sounds. There are five difficulty levels for those that think otherwise. Rainbow Rush is similar, but it’s a one-touch endless runner where players have to hop upwards through lanes in order to avoid obstacles as they come hurtling towards you. Finally, On-Off Rush has switches for day and night, during which times you earn points for picking up the appropriate power-ups, but are penalized for picking up the wrong ones. A puzzle mode for On-Off Rush has some particularly devilish takes on this mechanic, while arcade simply has players go as long as possible with a few time bonuses along the way.
So, yeah, there are a lot of different gameplay options available. For the most part, you’re dealing with simple one-touch controls, which is ideal, though there isn’t much control over how much airtime you get; you’ll be leaping just as far regardless of a long tap or a full press, which isn’t intuitive to long-time platform players.
- Excellent retro vibe with just enough of a twist to stay fresh
- Fast, challenging platform action
- Controls could use slight improvement
- Play area doesn't fill entire screen
If you haven’t had a chance to try out Pix’n Love Rush yet, it’s definitely worth a shot at $1.99. The twist on the usual retro gaming look is altogether refreshing, while keeping the white-knuckled challenge of old-school games intact.