The DePixelator, available for iPhone and iPad through the Apple iTunes App Store, is an interesting take on puzzle games. With an interesting theme and different approach, this is one game that feels more like playing through a project than it does taking on a challenging game. That is not necessarily a bad thing, as instead of the journey being the most important part, as it is with most games, here it is a series of slowly unfurled destinations that keeps the interest up.
The game sees an evil supercomputer decide to pixellate 20 of the world’s most famous works of art, and it is up to you to clean them up and restore them to their previous state. Each painting is cleverly pixelleted and then divided into square sections for you to uncover. You must trace around the outside of each square to return it to its former glory. There are microbots, small enemies that get in your way, although there are a variety of powerups available to give you the upper hand.
Each stage is fun to play, and although beating the enemies and uncovering the squares never really feels challenging enough, it is still enjoyable and there are enough enemy variations to stave off repetitiveness. The real joy is in uncovering the works of art as you play, with some delicious and understated graphical effects used by the developer.
Here, straight from the developer, are some of the app’s best features:
…and unlock over 20 Art Masterpieces in 6 Museums including work by Da Vinci, Bansky, Van Gogh, Zoos Joos and More!! Each pixel is “painted” by outlining with your brush.
…9 different enemy types populate each level. Enemies are destroyed by tapping “painted” pixels. Matching colors correctly makes for a challenging replay option.
…is addicting, challenging and a unique take on the classic arcade puzzler. Intuitive controls and features like adjustable game speed and zoom depth make for an awesome game.
…equip up to 4 of 10 power ups and 1 of 3 brushes for each level. Items are purchased using game currency from the in-game store
The differing power ups and brush types are a welcome addition, and there are enough paintings and museums (essentially stages and worlds), to maintain your interest from beginning to end. The best aspect is in uncovering these stages as you go. The only difficulty in the game, and really the only aspect that adds replay value, is in attempting to match the colours of the painted areas you uncover. Doing this is really fun and challenging, and I would have preferred it if matching a certain percentage was the only way to proceed in the levels as that would have added an extra touch of gameplay depth to proceedings.
The DePixelator is a very good game, but really is the sort of game that you will play through once, enjoy and then never really go back to. That isn’t a complete negative, as for your $1.99 you are getting what I consider to be a valuable gameplay experience, with decent gameplay and a genuine sense of progression. It is a big ask, but I feel this game is crying out for a level editor and the ability to upload your levels and download those created by others. Not an easy thing for a small developer to do, but this game would suit user-created content perfectly, and I hope the developer considers it in the future.
Overall, this comes highly recommended as a game that will keep you completely addicted, right up to the last level. You may not return to it too often after that, but it will live long in the memory.