Tile-Sliding Has Never Been so Much Fun Than with Pixelus: This PalmOS-based Puzzle Game Can Entertain for Hours

Pixelus, from PopCap games, is a puzzle game for the PalmOS platform. Pixelus is deceptive, with its cute graphics (inspired by Greek mythology) and premise of tile-sliding adventure. Based on that description, one would think the game involves sliding blocks around until they form a picture. However, Pixelus (thankfully) provides a deeper experience, one that is surprisingly addictive after the first few boards. Add to this that there are over 200 puzzles of varying difficulty, and you’ll be occupied for a while.

The game is divided into several levels, presented here in the form of temples. There is an overarching story, if somewhat simple, about wanting to gain an audience with the god Zeus, and thus you must work your way through various temples of Greek gods such as Poseidon, Aphrodite, and Eros.

The game does the player a huge favor by including a starter temple, which acts as a tutorial to introducing various game elements. The starter temple gives you a foundation to work from, but as you play further into the game you will need to develop deeper strategies in order to finish a temple. The game is kind enough to not force you to complete a temple before moving to the next one. You must complete a certain amount of puzzles, and doing so unlocks a temple.

Pixelus‘s gameplay is unique. You slide tiles across a board, but can only do so if there is already an existing tile in place for it to land against. You are given a set amount of tiles to slide into place, and once complete you realize that the overall board reveals a mosaic. The developer kindly includes an undo option, as well as the ability to see the solution to the current board. Also, the game rates you by board and you can earn gold, silver, and bronze medals based on how many moves it takes for you to reach a solution. This adds replay value as you can go back and try to solve a board in less moves and obtain a “World Record”.

The graphics in Pixelus are very nice but may be too cutesy from some. The animation is decent and includes some nice touches like the main character juggling tiles while he waits for player input. The Greek mythological theme is inspired, and fans of this mythology will find subtleties in the character designs and environments that stay true to these old stories. The music is very well done but can get repetitive. There is an option to turn off the music if it becomes bothersome.

There are only two issues I could find with the game. The first is that, while very unique, the gameplay is not for everyone, and will turn casual gamers away. The other is the price. I purchased Pixelus for $9.95 while the game was on sale, and found it to be a worth the price. However, the game usually sells for $19.95, and at that price it is hard to recommend the game. For handheld gaming and the type of game presented, that price is simply too high. A price range of $9.95 to $12.95 would be easier to swallow. A demo is available at the Astraware site, and it allows you a reasonable amount of game time before asking for registration.

In conclusion, Pixelus is a fun, addictive, and unique puzzle game. If you give it a chance, you will become hooked. However, the price may be too much to ask of consumers.

Rating: B

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