Pixel Puzzles 2: Birds is a new puzzler from Decaying Logic, creators of the popular Culling of the Cows, as well as the Pixel Puzzles series, including themes of zombies, Japan and the new Anime version (http://decayinglogic.com/about/ – for an amusing spin on an ‘about us’ section) and is published by KISS Ltd (Publishers of Project Nimbus, Guilty Gear X2 #Reload and iO). To assess what I’d imagine will be very similar, yet evolving titles I have opted for Birds… Why? Because, well… I’m odd like that. It has recently been updated with some fixes and adds resolution options and windowed mode support as requested by fans.
Birds plays as you’d expect from the genre, the purpose being to complete the puzzle by placing and rotating the pieces to form the picture. To add a dynamic to the puzzling there are crabs abound, crawling around the screen as a distraction and nuisance and may be grabbed and netted for bonuses, to correct piece rotation of the ones at the wrong angle to fit (A new feature and added challenge to the series), or to gain a ‘hint’ to assist you. You can save them up or spend as you go, the net will fill quickly… Though at times they can become quite annoying and cause you to mess up quite considerably.
Another spin to an otherwise relaxing past-time is the content of the images within, the steam page boasts ‘Pixel Puzzles 2: Birds – The fowl themed jigsaw puzzler’, hence my interest (As I love a good pun) and as such the images I saw as I completed my puzzles were anything from the morbid, the ironic to the damn right cute and interestingly for Steam, though it is a niche market there are no bad reviews, only positive (7 at the time of writing)- Many stating decent improvements over previous titles and a good amount of challenge. Sounds good so far.
From Steam the game loads to a retro looking pixel television set, each channel denoting another game of the series (Also the dev’s other titles) with screenshots, a description of the title and a link to Steam. I don’t usually applaud cross-selling but fair play, this is well implemented. I select ‘Birds’ and press space to play.
In the game itself the menu is… As expected bird-orientated which, if this is an issue for you then I believe you are reading the wrong review! There are some fantastically relaxing birds chirping and singing in the background though this is constantly interrupted by a crab clicking his claw together, relaxation with an edge… Which as it seems turned out to be flavor of the day and reflected well on the game itself. I select the first puzzle, a Seagull snatching a fish from the surface of the sea into his beak. The pieces float around the puzzle like a lazy river but going in different directions. I assume this simulates the random elements of shaking the box with a real puzzle, yet I also find it relaxing. Luckily here the chirping and singing and running water sounds continue, yet the clicking has stopped. Glorious.
The options menu within the game screen is tastefully done with buoys bobbing around the left hand side of the screen, with icons denoting the purpose of clicking them with a handy one for playing tips. I did have one issue where if a puzzle piece is below a menu icon you select the piece instead. though all-in-all I’m impressed by the lengths that the dev has gone to- to make it feel like a solid, classy game. I’ve seen how basic and no-frills this market is so its good to see that Decaying Logic are making quite the name for themselves to puzzle fans with high quality sounds, pictures and a decent interface and once a puzzle is completed you feel sufficiently self-rewarded with a satisfying completion animation.
I give this game, for what it is… An 87/100. It is solid and feels professional though the issue with selecting options was annoying, as is the menu crab (I wouldn’t leave this game on the menu screen and make a coffee, for example. It’d quickly cause a nervous twitch to develop.) It isn’t ‘groundbreaking’ and to be honest, in the puzzle industry I cant see how we can top the Puzz-3D! I had as a kid, let alone how we can evolve the genre on PC further. Its a perfect little relaxing time killer if you like puzzles and if birds aren’t your thing the new Pixel-Puzzles 2: Anime, may be just your thing.
[ 87 / 100 ]
Pixel Puzzles 2 Birds on Steam