For a while now, I've been worn out on free-to-play sims. Tiny Tower [Free] and Dragonvale [Free] devoured my waking hours (and my phone's battery), but then I grew listless. What's the point, I thought, in clicking stuff to earn coins that just let you click more stuff? Pixel People [Free] has reminded me of something fundamental: it's not the point that matters, it's the fun along the way. LambdaMu Games has distilled everything I love about the freemium sim formula into one incredibly potent brew.

It doesn't require an ounce of skill, but building a new society from the genetic matter of earth is a great way to pass the time. It's the joy of discovery, you see. You start with a couple of jobs for your clones—mechanic and mayor. You stick them together and a third option comes out: engineer. Your new engineer has a name (something punny), cute pixel art and a quip about his imposed career. Then you wonder, hmm, what would happen if I matched up my engineer with my mayor? That's when I knew they had me.

If that were all there were to Pixel People, we'd have ourselves a low-end Doodle God [$2.99]. It's not even a challenge, really, since the game shows you which jobs have viable combinations available. Poke through the list until you find something new and pow, a minute or two later and you'll be rewarded with an exciting new job revelation and a host of new combos.

No, it's the city building that turns this into something that will eat your life. Many of the new jobs require new workplaces. So you get your engineer, and in turn he gives you the plans for a Utopium Mine, which spits out coins every few seconds. Staff it fully and it spits out more coins. Once a day it even gives you a free utopium or two—an alternate path to collecting the game's premium currency.

That's Pixel People's secret: you create new clones because you want to build up a colony in the ashes of human society, but also because some of their buildings have exciting easter eggs. Most of the game's features are tucked into buildings you need to discover and build, in fact: the credits, the achievements list (and both of those things hide extra surprises), even an IAP option or two. The ability to upgrade your buildings is hidden in there somewhere. To build roads and waterways. To create multiples of buildings. It's all out there somewhere, just waiting for you to find it.

Normally when you play a game like this, progressing means unlocking new cosmetic options that may also improve your economy. Progressing in Pixel People means that, yes, but it also means a host of other surprises.

There are 150 jobs to find. By the time you hit 50 or so, you might be worrying that you'll be done in a few days Then things slow down. Way down. By 100, each land expansion costs an almost ludicrous amount of money. Of course you're earning something just a bit south of ludicrousness by that point, but the timers are longer, the houses are costlier, and land is so very, very precious that you may want to reconsider that cosmetic playground you put up in the early, heady days of wide open spaces.

Even at its chuggiest, Pixel People never feels all that aggressive about IAP. This could be because there's always something to do when you launch the game. Buildings need to be poked to keep producing coins. Those timers keep going whether you're playing or not. If you sit with the app open, your trees will also want for poking, and may occasionally pop out utopium. And then there's the game's other big goal: building love between your citizens.

"Love," in this case, is really just another excuse to push buttons and win prizes. A heart will pop up above a residence every few seconds. When you tap it you'll be able to press another heart beside a pair of your citizens, ostensibly helping them find love with each other. When you collect enough of those hearts, you get a surprise.

Most of the time it's coins—and let me tell you, while a 5000 coin windfall seems great at level one, it starts to lose its shine when the next land upgrade costs 30 million. Sometimes it's sweet, sweet utopium. The rest of the time it's animals. Yes, there's a tertiary set of things to collect, and they're adorable. They're also random and repeatable, so catching them all will keep you going while after the jobs are filled and the buildings are built.

Listen, this is checklist gaming at its finest. You have to know there's a feedback loop happening, one that gives you shiny, cute rewards in exchange for your hard-earned attention. But it's comes it such an earnest, charming package that it's almost impossible to say no. Pixel People takes an apocalyptic future and makes it hopeful, cheerful and bright—if it's where freemium games are headed, we have a lot to look forward to.

TouchArcade Rating

  • Jim Wilson

    I'm sold.

    • VA1N

      Same here. Can't wait to play this after work today.

      • REkzkaRZ

        I can understand excitmenet BEFORE playing. I had it too.
        Then I played it, and deleted it.
        No more excitement.
        Def no 5-stars.
        I'd give it a negative star, but kudos for pretty art, music, and a great loading screen. The icon wasn't bad either.
        But the game...? Well, I never found that part of the game...!

  • King hAPPy

    Yes, I'm playing it and it works, it's not controlled by iap.

  • araczynski

    dumped it after 5 minutes. its obvious you'll either be wasting your life waiting for the timers or your money to not wait for the timers.

    • VA1N

      You don't like the look? That's one of the main things I love about these types of games. I wonder, are you a younger gamer? Because I've noticed that the younger crowd tends to shy away from these looks since it doesn't hold as much nostalgia to them as it does us older gamers.

      • err404

        Actually nostalgia has nothing to with the "retro" look anymore. It has become so common in modern games that it is more representative of current indy games than gaming's past. It is just one of a handful of expected aesthetics. These days the pixel look is more about making a game look decent with a very low budget.
        While the pixel look may not harm the look of a game these days, it certainly doesn't make it stand out as anything special. "Meh" is an accurate description of pixel art.

      • Mj1ggy

        Agree with this comment but some pixel art can look better than others and when the proper care is taken it can look fantastic. Of course it can also look muddy and drab if colored or textured poorly.

      • MidianGTX

        I don't think "meh" is even close to being accurate, in fact I think that one sentence killed an otherwise reasonable post. Crappy Unity games with bad textures and low-poly models are meh, but the pixel art featured in the Pixel People city takes skill.

      • REkzkaRZ

        The art is fine, but the 'game' is a smelly road-apple time-waster which could cause suicidal depression! It should come with a health warning!
        But the art is good. In fact, so is the music. And how about that 'loading screen'? HA HA

      • araczynski

        I think the look is fine for the city part, but when you have the popups with images of people/professions, its just WAY too pixelated at that point. I'm sure its done that way because its cheaper on the memory to just reuse the same image rather than load a new/nicer one, but still, to me it makes it worse. I'm almost 39, so probably not considered young any more 🙁 🙂 i've never had a thing for 'nostalgia' in games/technology. I've enjoyed it when it was the pinnacle of quality back in the day (AD&D gold box style), but any attempts at trying to relive those games NOW has always resulted in me cringing. So I leave my fond memories alone, and associate pixel art NOW as attempts to molest my memories 🙂 but like a person said below, it does work in some games (for me), like Dungeon Village.

        in any case, while it looks simple, i have no doubt that doing it properly and effectively is difficult, its always harder to portray/evoke more with less.

      • Inaba-kun

        That's a nonsensical argument. Old games didn't really look pixelated, they looked blurry and had very visible scan lines as we were all playing them on awful CRT TVs.. The super crisp blocky look as beloved by seemingly every indie dev now looks nothing like old games.

        Personally I see it as lazy game art. Drawing a character at 32x32 pixels takes FAR less time than drawing one at 256x256 pixels, or of course, modelling one in Zbrush and Maya. It's a way to bring costs down, nothing more.

        Also, nostalgia is about remembering old things from years back, things you loved. As this is a new game, and doesn't even appear to be a ripp-off or parody of an old game, there's no nostalgia.

      • Inaba-kun

        It's also worth pointing out that it takes far, far less talent to produce pixel art than high-res art. With only a handful of pixels to play with, bad art and a lack of skill is hidden quickly.

        I'd like to see some of these Indie devs try to produce something with high-res assets. I bet most would struggle in a big way.

      • riChchestMat

        On the art front simpler is not always a cheap path. Look at Dick Bruna for example, a master of simplicity. I appreciate how so much can be conveyed using so little. Just look at the staff credits page (sheriff house) for example.

      • Zephram

        Well said, people sometimes confuse low resolution with low pixelation/polygon counts. BTW, from your name it looks like you've played Persona 4 (Golden)?! I'm enjoying it tremendously.

      • MidianGTX

        The Speccy games I used to love definitely looked pixelated. Even taking the CRT screen into account, those squares were massive. In fact I can draw Miner Willy from heart because I know those pixels so well.

    • toxiccheese

      I have to say.... It really is rinse and repeat. No real set goal other than unlocking all 150 characters. No strategy, no real gameplay, no actual point. It does look fantastic and I can see how it would be addictive, but the rewards aren't big enough to hold my interest. It gives out a ton of cash quickly, but things start to get way expensive fast. Kind of a letdown for me. Wish it had some mini games or something.

    • nonstickron

      You shoulda given it a bit more time. Doesn't take any time at all before you're frantically tapping on things. The timers are short and once you get a lot of them going, you never stop tapping. I'm pretty addicted to this right now.

      • toxiccheese

        I've given it more time, but the only thing I enjoy about this is the city planning aspect which is cool since they allow you to rearrange all you want. At least IAP are basically non existent since the game is so generous.

      • riChchestMat

        Once you level up a few times and need the bigger residential buildings the IAP hits hard. TA reviewed this too quickly again.

      • REkzkaRZ

        @ NonstickRon -- how much time would you suggest we devote to this horrible thing?
        I tried. Really, I tried. But if I'd kept on playing this POS, I would've smashed my iPhone to dust. Yes, this supposed "5 star" game was that bad!!

    • daniel5457

      I second that. Pixel people is an overrated piece of freemium crap.

      • REkzkaRZ

        A smelly road-apple of a 'game', but it's free? And it has that neato pixel art? Ooooh, how about we give it 5 stars? Meh!

  • PinoyTeens.Net

    This game is surprisingly good! I never really liked Tiny Tower that much, but I'm pretty much hooked by anything Kairosoft-like. And this is it.

    Game is not IAP driven, no ads, IAP are very unobtrusive and like noted, there's always something to do. My city is at 80/90 right now and I'm saving up to get it to 100/100 soon.

    Though I feel a bit sad that this got a 5 star review, and Heroes and Castles just a 4.5 star review.

  • ste86uk

    I'm really starting not to trust ratings you guys give, 5 stars for this? I've got it and playing but it's nothing special and pretty pointless. Then you give Heroes of Might and Magic 3 stars.

    • Eli Hodapp

      This might be a pretty progressive idea, but you could always try reading the review text instead of scrolling to the star rating and then setting your cruise control to the comments section. 🙂

      • Psiufoxx

        How dare you suggest we read "words" before jumping to conclusions about a review score! Like those "words" are somehow going to explain how and why you arrived at a final score?? I scoff at you, sir.

      • Zephram

        As a rule of thumb, you might want to avoid insulting your readership, you know, the people that keep the site alive.

      • Cheeseball

        Insulting? If he actually read the article he wouldn't look like an idiot as to why they rated it that way.

      • homosaur

        Or maybe you should stop being so sensitive, that's another option.

      • Zephram

        The moderaters on a profit based website need to exercize at least a modicum of decorum, even in response to people who make assinine comments.It's called professionalism.

      • schuim

        i did read it and still agree with @ste86uk. like the review said: "It doesn't require an ounce of skill". i'm not even sure if this should be called a game. they just want you to keep checking in and eventually pay up because you're just stuck waiting. this 'game' doesn't even deserve 1 star.

      • Benegesserit

        Bingo. Appointment gaming is NOT the right direction for freemium.

      • david_loqheart

        There's nothing inherently wrong with appointment mechanics. Having something to come back to and check on is not a bad thing. You can imagine there might be a game that's quite engaging, builds a relationship with you, and you feel strongly about. And coming back to check on it wouldn't feel bad. You may like to do that. But if that's the ONLY thing the game is doing, then of course, it's bad. It's the fact that this game lacks any real choices or meaningful gameplay that makes it bad. Not the fact that it's freemium and not that it has appointment mechanics.

      • REkzkaRZ

        I can't understand how this would get 5 stars. Even reading the review was boring.
        But lets' talk about the "game" (not the quotes) -- what is the game exactly? (What's w/the animals that do nothing??!!) I dloaded & tried, and was lost.
        Nothing exciting, no reason to do anything, the "utopia" I was building had to have a "preacher" and a church? (My fix for that was to put it out of reach of everyone...)
        Can't see the connection between the concept of UTOPIA and a click-fest game that sucks the big one. I DO see the connection between this game and Soma, the drug from "Brave New World".
        PASS on this P.O.S.

      • REkzkaRZ

        Eli, b/c of your response, I read the review & tore it up. But I am interested to hear you defend this game as a "5 star" game -- when you look at any other 5 star game...?

        Can you seriously say this game is 5 stars? Can you seriously agree that this game has a hook that is so good that it's a fun & exciting game you'd like to play all the time?

  • Christoph Stiemert

    This is odd. The Sound that plays when you get something worthy of a breaking news in this game is the same as the TV Watch 2012/13 jingle on the TouchArcade podcast 😀

    Is this a case of shameless thievery or just some kind of "open source" sound file?

    • Mike

      Everything in this game is borrowed from another, so that makes sense.

    • david_loqheart

      That is an "open source" sound effect that many people all over youtube use as their generic "news report" intro music. Nobody owns it.

  • justinfrederick

    Absolutely love this game, downloaded it last night and stayed up until 3am playing it. Superb.

    • REkzkaRZ

      When you say "this game", did you mean THIS game?!?!?!
      When you say "playing it", do you mean doing something which had any consequence?
      Or did you notice that it doesn't matter what you do in this game?
      Sorry, I don't mean to heckle, I just had no idea WTF you are saying is superb...?

  • copaeci

    This game is great... IAP is optional only

  • Ignacio

    As a complete outsider to the strategy genre, I found the tutorial to be quite confusing and disjointed. I shrugged it off and kept going for a few minutes, but unfortunately I found myself without a clue as to how to proceed, so I had just to let it go. Lovely artwork, though. Quite a shame I didn't get the hang of it.

  • lanights

    Sucks...just not my kind of game, simple as that.

  • Scott Cameron

    This is not the "strategy genre", my friend.

    • Ignacio

      Ah, that's probably another reason I couldn't get it right.

    • toxiccheese

      How would you categorize it? It's not strategy and its not a social sim because its strictly single player.... Where does this fall? I've been trying to enjoy it.

      • Scott Cameron

        In a strategy game it's possible to pick the wrong strategy and lose. It is impossible to lose Pixel People. It's nice and I like it but it's not a game by any accepted definition of that word.

  • Jxsgamer

    I agree, it got a little confusing for me as well. But I stay with it, now I kind of have it.

  • Contest Geek

    Hahaa. FF ATB gets a 1 star and this gets a 5 star? Both are SO DAMN
    similar. And as another day passes, TA loses even more of its
    journalistic integrity.

    • Doctorossi

      Random site reader disagreeing with reviewer opinions =/= lack of journalistic integrity.

    • nonstickron

      This game is addictive, nice to look at, and isn't trying to screw you with IAPs. Big difference.

      • REkzkaRZ

        @ Nonstickron -- but this 'game' sucks. Isn't that a factor?

    • Stranded87

      I'll be the first to say that Touch Arcade's taste in games (and at times even their knowledge of games) can be a bit questionable but I don't think they lack for journalistic integrity. Firstly you have to realise that the games were reviewed by different people who may well not agree with each other. Ultimately, while they'll have to follow certain guidelines, you are reading a specific persons review, not a Touch Arcade review.

      Secondly there's are right way to do freemium and a wrong way. FF ATB did it the wrong way. I've not played this yet but it sounds like it handles it a whole lot better.

      • david_loqheart

        I'm glad somebody else has pointed out that games are ultimately subjective and intended for different audiences. And also, there is nothing inherently wrong with Free-to-Play games. Blaming bad game design on a monetization model seems to be a bad habit gamers are constantly making. But personally I believe this game is extremely shallow in its gameplay. And that is the cause of many people not liking it.

  • timothymnk

    Why is if crashing for me???? I have a 4s!!!!

    • Szabolcs Illés

      same here on an iPhone 4. as soon as the tutorial starts, I just see stars in the background, then it crashes. Tried to install it again, same

    • Jandy

      Yep, same for me on an iPhone 4. Several reviews in the app store are saying the same thing. I guess it's a bug on older hardware? But 4 and 4s are not that old. Hopefully they patch it soon, I want to try it out!

      • shadax

        iPhone 5 here. Crashes at the beginning of the tutorial for me as well.

      • airwa1k

        iPhone 5 as well. Garbage crashing.

    • alialo

      Same for me (with a 4S). Shall try it out later once it's fixed.

    • Sydney Reiner

      So I was having the same problem but I finally got it figured out. I deleted it and then went to Settings > General > Usage > Manage Storage and then clicked on Pixel People, Edit, Delete All. Then you have to reinstall the game. Even though it's a huge pain in the ass it worked for me!

      • Angela Hughes

        Um, I did this, and when they finally fixed the bugs, my whole game is gone! I assume that was your intention. I assume I am the idiot that trusted. Either way, POOR MOVE!

  • Braeden Gregg

    @facebook-100000481664942:disqus It's a free-to-use sound file that comes with most modern-day Apple computers.

  • Inaba-kun

    Free to play is the enemy of game design. It needs to go away.

    • REkzkaRZ

      This 'pseudo-game' is anathema to real games.
      Why not call it what it is --> a bunch of flashy lights for morons?
      A virtual reality corn-dispenser for mobile chicken gamers?
      A smelly road-apple of a freemium time-waster? Etc.

    • david_loqheart

      Actually there is nothing barring free-to-play game designers from creating meaningful gameplay. We just haven't seen many examples of good games that are Free-to-play. I'd argue that Clash of Clans is pretty well designed despite it's monetization model. We never said Arcade Games like Street Fighter II, Metal Slug, or X-Men were bad games simply because you had to feed it quarters every time you lost. Don't confuse bad/lazy game design with a monetization model.

  • Benegesserit

    Appointment gaming makes me want to puke.

  • Gabriel.Voyager

    5 star for a IAP junk?
    You are weird...

    • kioshi

      This is not an IAP, it's kinda entertaining, but I agree with you about the 5 stars because I don't consider this a full featured game like say, Dungeon Village. There's less gameplay than in other semi-games like, say, Tiny Tower imho. I'd give it 3.5 stars because it's kinda fun and doesn't force you on IAP like other freemium crap.

      • riChchestMat

        It does actually need IAP later so OP is correct

      • kioshi

        Edited my comment - for some reason the 'junk' I typed after IAP didn't go thru. What I meant is, this is perfectly playable without IAP. But I do completely agree with the OP in that this doesn't deserve 5 stars, it's barely a game at all, more like tap and discover new stuff. Entertaining but far from what I'd call a real game.

  • MidianGTX

    I'm not sold by the splicing aspect. It's just guesswork. If it actually involved a puzzle of some sort maybe it'd hook me, but like some of the later creations in the Doodle God/Devil games, it's just a load of vague trial and error. Leaving this game more or less the same as the likes of The Simpsons: Tapped Out but with different graphics.

    • MidianGTX

      Not that it's a bad thing necessarily. I'll dip in from time to time, but I wouldn't call it a must-have.

  • Holcman

    You guys automatically assume that, because of it's pixelated graphics and the fact that there's no adventure or action, it's a bad game. I disagree with this opinion. Quite often, devs put a lot of work into pixelated games. They can often have more time put into them than games with "realistic" graphics. Also, this isn't supposed to be a puzzle or adventure game. It's what I call a "Waiting Game," or, a game in which you start a task and come back to it later. I love these because they last so much longer, and you don't need to stay on all day to have fun. Overall, this is my opinion to this game and other games like it... my favorite one being Dragonvale.

    • MidianGTX

      Yu made it sound so much worse than it really is. At least now I know what to call them... waiting games, huh? Play for five minutes, wait a day? Thrilling.

      • al3x094

        Well I mean, it's not like this is the only game you have on your phone or device right? Play something else and then come back real big deal.

      • blackharon

        How do you feel about async multiplayer games? They're essentially the same thing.

  • Fangbone

    Not sure how this is considered a 5 star game and Heroes and Castles got 4 1/2. Games like this are a dime a dozen on the App Store. Downloaded it played for 20-30 minutes then realized its very similar to Clash of Clans only not as good. Come on TA give love where it is deserved.

    • subshell001

      my theory is that a game like Pixel People feels like a lot of fun at first. I've been playing it on and off all day, thinking I am having fun. Probably by the end of today it will already be removed from my device. I imagine that the review for this was written during this initial peak of interest. A lot of F2P games somehow fool you into thinking its fun by compelling you to keep playing, and for a while it is easy to be fooled.

      A game like Heroes and Castles (which I admittedly have not picked up yet) looks like it would take more time to fully appreciate. It sounded like H&C gets better as you level up and get access to more equipment, etc. F2P games get worse over time. Except Pocket Planes which became even more challenging the more you played.

      • HelperMonkey

        Nissa wrote, "There are 150 jobs to find. By the time you hit 50 or so, you might be worrying that you'll be done in a few days Then things slow down. Way down. By 100, each land expansion costs an almost ludicrous amount of money.... [Etc.]" It sounds to me like she spent an appropriate amount of time playing to get beyond that initial buzz. Enough to invalidate your theory, at least.

      • REkzkaRZ

        But you'd think she'd have noticed that the game sucked by the point? That nothing she did actually affected the game? That it's a meaningless click-fest? Etc.
        Actually, it was the 'hearts' that made me hate the damn thing. Before clicking all those hearts, I just thought, "Gee this thing sucks." Those darned hearts...!

  • Boobi

    Wow, amazing game. Thanks for the review Nissa. After reading the review it intrigued me and I downloaded it and started reading. Now I have been at it for 6 hrs, missed breakfast and lunch. Great game. By the way does any feel a sense of childhood excitement when you cut open a pack to see which new job you got? Collect all 154 ! Also the animal splicing, now that part stuck hooks in my heart, must get more....

    • Jerutix

      No joke! Cutting open the packs to get the prize inside is one of my favorite things about the game. And the puns. Iona Bently is probably my favorite so far.

  • subshell001

    when i clicked on "50 comments" i'm not sure why i expected anything other than what has been presented here.

  • Sydney Reiner

    Am I the only one who is having the problem that it isn't working? I get to the intro screen of outer space and then nothing happens! Or it crashes. Either way I can't start playing it and I've tried everything!

    • themostunclean

      Look at the post further up about how to fix this. If you've been using any high memory apps lately you should also make sure you've closed them out of the background. Alternately you can get a free utility app that releases system memory (Search system status or system activity on the AppStore) and run it before starting up a newly installed game. You can also reboot to free up memory. I've always done one of these things after installing a new game and unless there's a hardcore bug that everyone's got, I have never had problems.

  • fazered

    No no no no NO NO NO!!!

    I just deleted the Simpsons recently after wasting months playing to achieve nothing. This isn't even getting installed!

    • Psiufoxx

      Heh. Spent 2 years playing WoW only to realize after that I achieved nothing. Most games can sneak up on you like that, once you've finished playing them.

  • El_Cid

    I hate these kind of games.

    • iPad_2

      Enough of ^#%* villes

  • Owen Billcliffe

    I have no idea why people are so entranced with this game. It's just another tapathon. There's no 'gameplay' at all, it's just designed to get money out of you, like almost all Freemium games these days that chuck gameplay out the window in favour of annoying the users until they pay up for whatever currency it is this time.

    There isn't even a decent city builder here; there's no depth, no strategy.

    So yes, while the review describes the game, Eli, it also awards it top marks for all of this stuff. That's why people are slagging off the review, because if you give crappy Freemium games that are little more than Tapathons for the easily amused to people who like crappy Freemium games that are little more than tapathons for the easily amused, you'll get 5 star reviews all the time.

    And it's not a 5 star game. It's a 5 star presentation of a crappy freemium game that's little more than a tapathon for the easily amused.

    • Psiufoxx

      Color me amused!

    • riChchestMat

      Spot on. The execution of the graphics and the cute factor is 5 star but once you level up a few times and need to wait 24 hours to get another 6 utopians the IAP hits hard. To clarify that's 24 hours before discounts and other modifiers for the 6 occupancy 1 land use house (so for me it's 22 hours).

  • iowadave

    I know this isn't a trouble-shooting board, but my little city disappeared, all I see is stars in space, and I can't figure out how to find it. Help!

    • Abhishek R'krishnan

      tap on the hearts bar once it starts flashing after a few seconds. that should solve your predicament

      • iowadave

        There is no hearts bar -- still can't escape the space and stars screen!

  • cofunguy

    Have play it for over 1 day. No need to spend on iap since you can get it freely via mines and trees. Plus collecting hearts as well. Lots of fun to discover that new job too!

  • Dueler

    After reading a shit load of posts I have two things to say.

    Firstly, Ive never ever liked these kinds of games but I think I've played this for about 12 hours. So there's my recomendation.

    But secondly, if you download a game with pixel literally in the title then how can you be bashing the graphics?

  • homosaur

    I normally hate these IAP driven waiting games but this one is kind of fun because there are actually interesting things to do and work on rather than just trying to grind and grind. I'd say of you are going to play any of these, this should be the one.

    • themostunclean

      It's also fun to zoom all the way in and search for the animals you've unlocked. I found my whale belly-flopping down "main street" in my city. Hilarious.

  • themostunclean

    The strategy is to push little buttons when they pop-up on screen. It's one of the most simple and straightforward "games" outside of single-tappers like Burrito Bison. I really don't understand how this could be confusing.

    • Ignacio

      Probably some genre conventions just don't apply to me since I'm a newbie. For instance: clicking on the Arrival Center Stats shows Occupancy 3/1 (what's this supposed to mean? I have no clue), Production Multiplier 2 (How does this have incidence on my gameplay? I don't know). As for the Town Hall info page, there was a countdown timer just below the Working sign, which read 26m 59s (what is this all about?) Also, clicking on a character shows Productivity: n CPS (which probably means that it generates n CPS per an unknown amount of time. How much time? How can I know this?). I don't mean to sound like an ass or an idiot, but there's a lot of things I just don't get, and I really don't care much to work them out since I find the game mechanic so dull and repetitive. I just fail to see the appeal, that's all.

      • themostunclean

        I don't think you sound like an ass or an idiot at all. In fact if anything you're over thinking it. The game (if you can really call it that) is really just filler piled on top of more filler. You splice your clones, build their place to work, give them a house and tap/hold on stuff to earn money. The rest is just a waiting game. For a while i couldn't figure out what the little energy icons over buildings meant and I came up with tons of over-thought theories about what they were for. I finally realized that it just makes the buildings start earning coins again. The whole thing is constructed to make you think you're actively engaged with a system when all you're really doing is reacting. I hate myself for being so insanely addicted to it!!!!

      • Ignacio

        Yeah, you are right, I do overthink stuff too much. It's just hardwired into me. Anyway, thanks for the tips! I just might give it a try again someday!

  • Ken Lee

    While IAP is supposedly optional, going from 150 land to 160 costs 40,000,000 coins before discount. My maximum production is 681 coins per second (at 143/150 land usage, 88/150 jobs and 125 residents achieved by using IAP) so it takes 58737 seconds, or 978 minutes, or 16.3 hours of MAXIMUM production. So in reality it's going to take 30+ hours.

    Considering getting a new job takes 10~15 minutes and up to 3 can happen simultaneously, I'm spending 28-29 hours doing nothing but turning on buildings and collecting hearts while getting absolutely no buildings nor new residents nor new jobs.

    Or I can spend $1 (40 utopium) at the law firm for the expansion. And what do you know, next expansion is probably 80 million, so I'd spend 58-59 hours getting no buildings or new jobs.

    If even an IAP user feels like the game's progression is harsh at only 88/150 (remember, since expansions get exponentially more expensive that's not even 10% completion time-wise, meaning it's unlikely that I'll complete 150/150 within the next two weeks).

    So if 58 hours of grinding (longer as you go further) for maybe 2 hours of fun falls under the definition of "optional IAP" then virtually every single freemium game out there gets my full support.

    I'm not saying the game is bad or not fun at all. It's just some people's perception of this game's IAP model is VERY misleading.

    tl;dr - freemium model no different from any other out there, I'm enjoying this game very probably only because I've got IAP already.

    • Echtzeit

      Which Building Giese you the 681 income per second?

      • Ken Lee

        All my buildings combined. By maximum I mean all of them functional, because after 5 minutes a dozen of my buildings will shut down.

    • Echtzeit


  • Andrea Buratta

    Played this game for about three days. I reached the 120 landmark and I got 66 job.
    I couldnt take it anymore. The waiting time for "shiny tower" was 24h and I had to collect almost 5,000,000 cred to upgrade my land slot (and many new jobs required 4 slot to be created).

    If only the working time for the building was in the order of 10min-20min, then one could sit and enjoy something else. Instead after 4 min almost all the building stop producing money...DOH!

    I very well know it's a freemium game but unless one can spend hours straight touching the icons every minute, one could not make enough dough to keep progressing.
    UNLESS, he spent real money to buy utopium and then he could upgrade all the buildings, buy money, speed up building time and so on.

    In the end It's playable for free until you reach the 110-120 landslot mark. After that it's unbearable.

    • trackside

      I have reached about the same point as you, the last day of playing has just been grinding away ( I decided to get to 100 people) but I'm not prepared to continue as its just not fun anymore. I paid for the double time iap but nothing else as paying for in game currency is not my idea of fun.
      On the plus side this game has been great up till now (I normally have no interest in this type of game) and think that if the heart bonuses where better balanced it would continue to be more playable.

  • REkzkaRZ

    Points of contention with this review:
    5-star rating?!??! Huh? Is the reviewer on crack?
    doing whatever reveals "exciting new job revelation" <-- where is the excitement you mention?

    "Pixel People takes an apocalyptic future and makes it hopeful, cheerful and bright—if it's where freemium games are headed, we have a lot to look forward to." <-- I just don't see any of this as TRUE, it seems more like an advertisement paid for by the company. I didn't see this as an 'apocalyptic future" in any way (except playing it and thinking -- 'this could cause worse depression than too much Facebook!'), and if this is where Freemium games are going I'd like to see *ALL* freemium games go away. LUCKILY, this is *NOT* where they are going, thank you 'cheeses'!

    Nissa Campbell, I say YOU are the apocalyptic reviewer who tries to make a smelly road-apple of a 'so-called game' look like a gem.
    EPIC FAIL on your review!!!

  • echo_pdx

    Well, I do like this type of game, even if I'm getting a bit burned out on them. And I liked the graphics.

    But, yeah, it's hard to see how this game got 5 stars. There are a few interesting concepts here and there but the execution of these ideas leaves much to be desired. The building "easter eggs" mentioned in the review are spread pretty thin and most aren't that interesting. Gene splicing is pretty cool until you realize there is absolutely nothing to it but clicking through names until you see the pink vial. You hit a brick paywall at about the 75 job mark, too. The wait times are ridiculous and the land use restrictions grow increasingly frustrating and nonsensical as you progress. A timer game that penalizes you for decorating? Really?? How do you praise a timer game for its city building aspects if those aspects completely fall apart midway through the game, thanks to land use rules and crazy timers? Yeah, this part of the game was great at first but it gets worse and worse the deeper you go.

    Yes I actually read the text of the review. It just didn't reflect my experience at all. Maybe up to the 50-job mark but the quality goes into a death spiral pretty quickly after that. It's obvious the designers didn't devote much time to testing late-game balance. How many jobs had you guys unlocked when you posted this review?

  • XzombiesX

    Love this gameeeee, its addictiveee!

  • Fobwashed

    I was seriously enjoying this game but as soon as the land expansion prices began to escalate into the multiple millions, I lost most of my interest. While it's free to play, I feel that the serious devaluation of in game money ruins the game entirely. Even when the land upgrade is at 4,000,000 coins, you need to spend at least $8 to purchase enough coins for one land upgrade that will last about 15 minutes. Beyond that, you'll probably have to start buying the $25 pack if you want to continue buying your way out of spending days collecting enough coins for the next land upgrade. The first day or two of this game is easily the 5 stars it received but the ridiculous inflation beyond that makes the game either way too costly, or way too time consuming. I'd give this thing a 3/5 at best.

    • XzombiesX

      I soo agree with you!

    • Ken Lee

      After a while it's more economical to use the 40 utopium expansion than converting utopium into coins. It will always cost maximum $1 per expansion if you play smart.

      • Fobwashed

        Good point though the cheapest pack of utopium you can purchase currently is $2. Still, my original gripe remains that without spending cash, you progress at a snail's pace. This wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing if during the days it takes to save up enough to buy additional land, there were other entertaining things to do but there really isn't. Apart from tapping your buildings and collecting resources, there just isn't anything engaging. The collection of hearts is tedious and the high probability of repeat animal rewards makes the heart collection very disappointing rather than rewarding. The game is charming and it's free but late game it requires too much of a time investment into tedious farming to really rate the thing a 5/5 imo. 3/5 ain't bad, it's still better than average =P

    • Awesomenessprime

      Yeah i hear you. I'm at 16,000,000 to expand the land and I don't think I'm going to continue. It isn't so good that I would spend actually money on it.

  • david_loqheart

    This game has incredibly shallow gameplay, and that's why it's not very fun. Not because it has IAP. I'm tired of people blaming a monetization model for bad gameplay. If this game had a lot of choices for the player to make, then this would be a fun game. But largely you have very little choice in the matter, and you are simply filling out a checklist of jobs and acquiring land in order to get the ability to get more jobs. It's not like you would talk to other players and see what "choices" they are making. Story-based games are just as linear, but at least you get a story. This game doesn't even have that. Just a linear checklist of actions. And the balancing is not even that well done either. The beginning progresses incredibly fast, and then the player is met with a virtual paywall of snail-like progression later in the game, only to be relieved with IAP. The player isn't even used to paying for IAP at this point, and doesn't see the value until much later. By then, most players I presume will realize they haven't learned anything, haven't made any real choices, and haven't had much personal input into the game.

    • Awesomenessprime

      I had fun. There goes your comment.

Pixel People Reviewed by Nissa Campbell on . Rating: 5