Pixel Ripped 1989
As someone who has been playing games ever since elementary school, I always wanted to bring my GameBoy to school. I was a good kid, a teacher’s pet almost, and so I never dared to do such a thing. But I always desired to bring my portable gaming with me to the one place where it would have the greatest impact: the classroom. Pixel Ripped 1989 let me do just that. And although nostalgia was hacking away at my pleasure center through each minute of ARVORE’s 80’s offering, nostalgia can’t remind me of that which I’ve never done. And I’ve never, ever played a game quite like Pixel Ripped 1989.
Quick Notes Genre: Platformer/Shooter Controller: Dual Shock Length: 4 hours Price: $24.99 PlayPSVR Score: 8.5
If I had to describe Pixel Ripped with an example, I’d say the closest thing would be a scene from a crazy movie I caught late one night on TV called “The Forbidden Zone.”
The movie is wild. It’s all over the place. It skates on the edge of utter chaos, dipping into order just long enough for you to get your bearings before it plunges back into its own special insanity. That’s the feeling I got from Pixel Ripped.
Which is a bit odd considering half of the gameplay is from the most tried-and-true genre since the NES: 2D scrolling platformer. In half of the game, you play as Dot, a “Not-Samus-Aran” character who is being teleported from dimension to dimension, from game to game, to save her kingdom from the dragon-riding Cyblin. There’s lots of familiar characters here, as the charming pixel designs provide reminiscent homages to nearly every popular NES classic. Each level follows a run-jump-shoot pattern that dashes a bit of frustration in with its challenge, just like they did in the old days.
But do not be confused. There’s another half of the game here, and it’s happening at the exact same time. As Nicola, a school girl obsessed with her (Game) Gear Kid (Boy), you must hide your handheld behind your desk and launch spitballs in the classroom to create distractions for your teacher. This creates a brilliant dynamic where you have to put down the handheld game (controlled via DualShock) and look away from the screen to play another game with the headset. The simultaneity of the games mixed with the surprise results of the spitballing provides a constant source of excitement to complement the tropes of 2D platformers.
And just when you think you’ve gotten the hang of it and have grown accustomed to the game, Pixel Ripped will blend the two games even more, bringing the game out of the handheld and in your face as the sci-fi 80s music blasts in your ears.
It’s hard to go into much more detail with Pixel Ripped, because so much of its magic comes from how unexpected each next event is. I lost count of the times while playing it that I thought to myself “Oh, man, this is just like (INSERT GAME HERE).”
Would Pixel Ripped have the same effect on someone who didn’t grow up with these classics? Will the celebration of the tween years of gaming land with the same impact on someone who didn’t go through it? I’m not sure, but I don’t think it matters.
To put it simply, Pixel Ripped 1989 is a wild, wild ride. To call it an experience sells short the quality gameplay on offer. To call it a game sells short the surreal experience the game provides. And while it isn’t longest game, it certainly is the most unique. There’s a lot of value in that.
PlayPSVR Score: 8.5