In a joint development from Bulkypix, Pastagames, and video game historians Pix'n Love, Pix'n Love Rush is a retro-inspired high score platformer suffering from ADD. The many influences that went into Pix'n Love Rush are hard to ignore. With nods to classics such as Space Invaders, Bubble Bobble, WarioWare and more, Pix'n Love Rush is a retro gamer's dream come true crammed into an engaging pick-up and play package. Much like the graphical stylings, the concept is blissfully simple. Collect coins while negotiating the different platform environments, destroy enemies and avoid hazards. It doesn't sound like much on paper, but coupled with the randomly generated sequence of levels and a nifty score multiplier system that actually changes the visual style of the game, Pix'n Love Rush will have you helplessly coming back time and time again.

If the game looks vaguely familiar, that's because it's an offshoot of the Arkedo series on the Indie Games Channel of Xbox Live, in particular the third game in the series 03 Pixel! (also co-developed by Pastagames). The purposely chunky pixel graphics look like something that would have blown you away running on a TI-83 calculator over a decade ago, but still manages to ooze all sorts of charm. The gameplay foundation is rooted in platforming, but not in the traditional sense. Each level is presented in a small chunk, and lasts just a short amount of time (some longer than others). For instance, you may start out on something akin to a Mario Bros. game, progressing from left to right. Then the next level may be a series of platforms moving upwards, and some even auto-scroll so you have to keep up. These bite-sized levels appear in a random order and are nicely varied, and much like WarioWare you must always be ready for what may appear next.

Left and right arrows control movement, and separate buttons control jumping and firing. You can only shoot straight up in the air Space Invaders-style and must be cautious with your bullets as the ones that miss the mark will fall back down to the ground, possibly hitting you if you aren't careful. Collecting coins with a plus symbol will net you 250 points, and touching boxes with a minus symbol with deduct 500 points. There are enemies to take out with your weapon, sometimes moving and sometimes stationary, but there are also angels which must be protected from both the bad guys and your own errant bullets. Grabbing coins without getting hurt while avoiding minus boxes will work towards building up a multiplier to x2, x5, and x10. A handy indicator in the upper right corner shows you how close you are to each one, and similarly a heart icon in the upper right displays your remaining life. Beyond worrying about what level type is thrown at you next, you must constantly be getting the good stuff while avoiding the bad stuff, and it's a wonderful challenge of your dexterity.

One of the neatest aspects of the game is how the background style changes with each multiplier gained. These different backgrounds are just as saturated in retro as the pixel graphics themselves, featuring accurate representations of the original Game Boy, the Game & Watch series of LCD games, and even a theme styled after the failed Nintendo Virtual Boy (headaches and eyestrain thankfully not included). It's hard to explain the burst of excitement you feel from moving from one theme to the next, but it's definitely a huge part of the appeal of Pix'n Love Rush. The Game Boy art is especially authentic, and made me feel as if I'd entered a time warp back to 1989 when I first fired up the legendary system. There's currently 7 different background themes spread across the games 5 minute timed mode and Infinite mode, with more planned in future updates. It's a nice variety of the bite-sized levels, and while you'll recognize certain sequences as you spend more time playing the game the random nature in which they're presented ensures the game feels different just about every time you play.

There are a couple very minor issues I had while playing, the most notable being the placement of the jump and fire buttons – they're just too far apart for my liking. There's nothing worse than knocking your multiplier down a level because you jumped into an enemy when you meant to shoot him. Otherwise the controls function just as well as virtual controls can on a touch screen. The other issue is the quirky way in which high scores are recorded. OpenFeint is integrated for achievements and leaderboards, but currently your score will only be uploaded if you break the one million mark. This isn't too terribly difficult to do once you've played the game some, but still seems a little bit too inspired by the hardcore nature of old-school arcade games. These two issues are on their way to being rectified, however, as both Bulkypix and Pastagames are actively addressing feedback in the game's forum thread. Even with these minor complaints, Pix'n Love Rush comes together beautifully to create a game that's perfectly suited for long or short play sessions, and beckons to be played over and over as you work towards high score glory.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • azz

    This game is wonderful and you should buy it.

    • azz

      Although yes the jump and shoot buttons are too far apart.

  • azz

    This game is wonderful and you should buy it.

    • azz

      Although yes the jump and shoot buttons are too far apart.

  • chrisangel13

    watched the video, looks awesome :D

  • chrisangel13

    watched the video, looks awesome :D

  • Blades

    Very fun. Very Retro. Fast to play, easy to learn and hard to master.

    ;

  • Blades

    Very fun. Very Retro. Fast to play, easy to learn and hard to master.

    ;

  • Noam Abta

    The graphics look cool, ill try it out

  • Noam Abta

    The graphics look cool, ill try it out

  • http://www.tbenjaminlarsen.com T. Benjamin Larsen

    Love the art direction of this game. Regarding the review: I actually found the buttons to be too CLOSE, as I way too often fired instead of jumped.

  • http://www.tbenjaminlarsen.com T. Benjamin Larsen

    Love the art direction of this game. Regarding the review: I actually found the buttons to be too CLOSE, as I way too often fired instead of jumped.

  • Mega Man

    This is a fun little retro style game, with some warm nods to several old school games and systems. Plus it actually runs at a playable frame rate on an old iPhone 3G (30 frames per second mostly).

    One slight problem I had is even after a reboot of my iPhone it was still pretty hit or miss when trying to load the game. It would more often than not quit back out to springboard.

    • http://twitter.com/BulkSlash BulkSlash

      I've not been able to get it to load once, as soon as the music starts on the company logos screen it crashes. The authors of the app could do the decent thing and point that out on their App Store page so people aren't duped into buying something that barely works.

      Hopefully when I get my iPhone 4 next week it will be the end of putting up with shoddy games that barely run on the 3G. I don't mind devs making games that only work on 3GS, it's the natural price of progress. I just hate it when they allow it to run on the 3G and the frame rates are terrible and the controls really laggy.

      • John

        just restart ur device..

      • Jared Nelson

        Not running on a 3G iPhone is a known bug. The dev has fixed this and submitted an update which should be out any second now. I didn't mention it in the review since it won't be an issue soon enough, but I agree that maybe they could have put a little PSA in the app description about it. Shouldn't be a problem soon though.

  • Mega Man

    This is a fun little retro style game, with some warm nods to several old school games and systems. Plus it actually runs at a playable frame rate on an old iPhone 3G (30 frames per second mostly).

    One slight problem I had is even after a reboot of my iPhone it was still pretty hit or miss when trying to load the game. It would more often than not quit back out to springboard.

    • http://twitter.com/BulkSlash BulkSlash

      I've not been able to get it to load once, as soon as the music starts on the company logos screen it crashes. The authors of the app could do the decent thing and point that out on their App Store page so people aren't duped into buying something that barely works.

      Hopefully when I get my iPhone 4 next week it will be the end of putting up with shoddy games that barely run on the 3G. I don't mind devs making games that only work on 3GS, it's the natural price of progress. I just hate it when they allow it to run on the 3G and the frame rates are terrible and the controls really laggy.

      • John

        just restart ur device..

      • Jared Nelson

        Not running on a 3G iPhone is a known bug. The dev has fixed this and submitted an update which should be out any second now. I didn't mention it in the review since it won't be an issue soon enough, but I agree that maybe they could have put a little PSA in the app description about it. Shouldn't be a problem soon though.

  • http://www.betomachado.com Beto

    Beautiful graphics.

  • http://www.betomachado.com Beto

    Beautiful graphics.

  • sammysin

    One of the best games to come out in Months. I completely believe it has the most stunning visuals around.

  • sammysin

    One of the best games to come out in Months. I completely believe it has the most stunning visuals around.

  • MaxSpark21

    You end up hitting the wrong button because they are placed too FAR from each other? How does that work?!

    • Jared Nelson

      Upon closer inspection, the problem is that the jump button extends past the button graphic, all the way over to the fire button. And the fire button extends all the way into the middle of the screen! It's pretty odd, but my natural instinct of where I think my thumb should press the fire button more often than not caused me to jump.

      If that made any sense ;)

  • MaxSpark21

    You end up hitting the wrong button because they are placed too FAR from each other? How does that work?!

    • Jared Nelson

      Upon closer inspection, the problem is that the jump button extends past the button graphic, all the way over to the fire button. And the fire button extends all the way into the middle of the screen! It's pretty odd, but my natural instinct of where I think my thumb should press the fire button more often than not caused me to jump.

      If that made any sense ;)

  • http://internetsducinema.wordpress.com Egoyan

    I usually HATE games where the goal is to simply get the highest score possible, but for some reason (probably that screenshot with Game Boy graphics), I went ahead and bought this.

    I fell in love with it. It's the only "high score" game ever, puzzle games excluded, to have me completely hooked. A very well spent 99c. Now, on to beat that 1 million mark...

  • http://internetsducinema.wordpress.com Egoyan

    I usually HATE games where the goal is to simply get the highest score possible, but for some reason (probably that screenshot with Game Boy graphics), I went ahead and bought this.

    I fell in love with it. It's the only "high score" game ever, puzzle games excluded, to have me completely hooked. A very well spent 99c. Now, on to beat that 1 million mark...

  • http://www.metroccolis.com Silent Rocco

    Button placement is perfect.
    Game is perfect! I'm hooked.

  • http://www.metroccolis.com Silent Rocco

    Button placement is perfect.
    Game is perfect! I'm hooked.

  • John

    i tried the game right after i saw this...if the game crashes on u, just turn ur device off and turn it on again...although the graphics looks cool, i didnt think the game was that awesome..i wish it was like the good ol mario games and not like a wiiware...its definetely worth a try but isnt that addictive..

  • John

    i tried the game right after i saw this...if the game crashes on u, just turn ur device off and turn it on again...although the graphics looks cool, i didnt think the game was that awesome..i wish it was like the good ol mario games and not like a wiiware...its definetely worth a try but isnt that addictive..

  • Jeff

    How do you unlock Endless mode? Do you have to hit 1,000,000 before you can play this mode???

    • Jared Nelson

      You just have to survive until the end of 5 minute mode to unlock endless mode.

      • Kakey

        Oh thanks I was wondering the same thing.

  • Jeff

    How do you unlock Endless mode? Do you have to hit 1,000,000 before you can play this mode???

    • Jared Nelson

      You just have to survive until the end of 5 minute mode to unlock endless mode.

      • Kakey

        Oh thanks I was wondering the same thing.

  • manaman

    I found that this is a breeze to control on an iPad. At pixel-doubled resolution, I just set my iPad on a table and use two fingers on my right hand for jump and shoot while my left thumb controls direction. I call this my "arcade" position and I've used it for some other games as well.

  • manaman

    I found that this is a breeze to control on an iPad. At pixel-doubled resolution, I just set my iPad on a table and use two fingers on my right hand for jump and shoot while my left thumb controls direction. I call this my "arcade" position and I've used it for some other games as well.

  • HawkEye

    Quite a cool little game, but it definitely has some issues performance-wise (not counting the crash bug) on a 3G. On some of the backgrounds, it will run super smooth, and then suddenly when your combo chain jumps up and the background shifts, it will start to lag. Maybe this is some kind of particle effect being added to certain backgrounds? I can't really be too upset about it as the phone is two years old at this point, which is practically a lifetime in the technology industry. Either way, it'll be no issue on my iPhone 4 come Thursday.

  • HawkEye

    Quite a cool little game, but it definitely has some issues performance-wise (not counting the crash bug) on a 3G. On some of the backgrounds, it will run super smooth, and then suddenly when your combo chain jumps up and the background shifts, it will start to lag. Maybe this is some kind of particle effect being added to certain backgrounds? I can't really be too upset about it as the phone is two years old at this point, which is practically a lifetime in the technology industry. Either way, it'll be no issue on my iPhone 4 come Thursday.

  • Crunc

    This is a great game. It plays perfectly on the 3GS, but with older hardware maybe not? I don't know. Great graphics and gameplay. It reminds me a little of the Warioware series in it's rapid changes in play format. Very addicting game!

  • Crunc

    This is a great game. It plays perfectly on the 3GS, but with older hardware maybe not? I don't know. Great graphics and gameplay. It reminds me a little of the Warioware series in it's rapid changes in play format. Very addicting game!

  • War Machine 390

    idk if it is just me not playing this game for a bit but ever since i updated my ipod touch 2g to the iOS 4.0, it seems the game has been running extremely fast than before...idk.

  • War Machine 390

    idk if it is just me not playing this game for a bit but ever since i updated my ipod touch 2g to the iOS 4.0, it seems the game has been running extremely fast than before...idk.

  • BeauIXI

    It's excellent, but has anyone noticed weird, laggy controls on the 3GS? I have one, and every time I press an arrow button and either the jump or shoot buttons at the same time, it takes an entire second before I jump at all, which can be extremely frustrating... Anyone else? :(

    • Momoto

      Yea definitely laggy on my 3GS too.

  • BeauIXI

    It's excellent, but has anyone noticed weird, laggy controls on the 3GS? I have one, and every time I press an arrow button and either the jump or shoot buttons at the same time, it takes an entire second before I jump at all, which can be extremely frustrating... Anyone else? :(

    • Momoto

      Yea definitely laggy on my 3GS too.

  • http://soiled.com Gload

    This is what a good .99c game looks like. Way more fun than Doodle Jump or Pocket God.

  • http://soiled.com Gload

    This is what a good .99c game looks like. Way more fun than Doodle Jump or Pocket God.

  • Kakey

    I have the game and I was just wondering how to unlock the infinite mode? Please help! Thanks! PS this game is great and worth getting.

    • Kakey

      Nevermind! I found out! Thanks anywhos!

  • Kakey

    I have the game and I was just wondering how to unlock the infinite mode? Please help! Thanks! PS this game is great and worth getting.

    • Kakey

      Nevermind! I found out! Thanks anywhos!

  • yoyo

    I would like to know where to download the music. Does anyone know? So far it looks like it doesn't even exist...

Pix'n Love Rush Reviewed by Jared Nelson on . Rating: 4.5