Pigs are incredible animals aren’t they? They give me bacon, sausages, ribs, and, according to the people over at Psilocybe Games, protection from menacing frog demons promising the absolute destruction of the world. I’d have to argue that the sausage and bacon are of a greater importance than the latter but to each their own.
I recently sat down with the demo of Pigsodus by Psilocybe Games, a point-and-click adventure game with some fascinating core mechanics that could become one of the most unique games of the year. At it’s core a Point-and-Click game is a puzzle game with a heavy focus on story and dialogue. Some of the best Point-and-Click games have had a strong focus on creating engaging stories that will engross the player in the world. Combat is most certainly not a focus of the major heavy-hitters of the genre such as Grim Fandango, The Secret of Monkey Island, and Sam and Max Hit the Road yet in almost expert fashion, Pigsodus is able to cleverly charm its way into the great pantheon of point-and-click games while incorporating a much needed break from the age old formula.
Pixel art is a visual style that I am constantly at odds with. I’ve played too many games that use and overuse this art style with varying degrees of success. More often than not I find myself averse to the approach and find that it holds no special place within my heart. With that said, Pigsodus has a beautifully restrained art style that I’d venture to say benefits from the pixelated technique. It has an outstanding ability to subvert the expected with subtle visual elements planted in both the foreground and background of a scene.
An example from within the game that left me nodding my head with both disgust and fascination was outside of the barn after the tutorial. Initially, the game presents itself as childlike and whimsical, planting itself firmly in nostalgia. It felt like I’d seen this exact game a hundred times as a kid. The particularly vocal animals running around speaking with one another over ridiculous gadgetry and notes written by other animals evokes a wondrous sense of innocence and light heartedness. But, once you escape the warmth of the barn you a greeted to a drab and dreary world that seems relentless on exterminating the farm animals. Chickens hung on mangled scythes and the bodies of beheaded animals lie strewn about while other animals peck feverishly at food and other scraps. It’s in this moment that the art style forms together in beautiful cohesion to show that there is more to Pigsodus than meets the eye. It straddles between puniness and other forms of humor and complex visual storytelling.
The gameplay contained, by far, the most exciting features that Pigsodus had to offer. While it still maintains the typical puzzle elements of a traditional point-and-click there is also new elements that add an interesting dynamic to the genre. The inclusion of stealth is interesting, although it never seemed to work correctly. It usually involved me running to one side of the screen, ducking below an object, waiting for the enemy to pass, leaving my position, being spotted by the enemy, PANICKING and running away, and repeating until I managed to succeed. I will say that this is the one area where the game faltered and confused me, it seemed less like a stealth sequence and more like a poorly hidden brute force sequence. Just run until you get it, nothing much to it. The aspect that I absolutely loved was the combat system. To know if you will enjoy the combat system I have devised a simple test:
Do you like Typing of the Dead?
If you answered yes then I’d say that this is the game for you. If no, go buy yourself a copy of Typing of the Dead and keep playing until you love it! I had an absolute blast with the combat system in Pigsodus. The smile on my face grew exponentially as I wrote one ridiculous word after the other. The fight animations were also especially comical, adopting the looney tunes fashion of legs and arms flying out of a giant dust ball.
Overall, I had a pretty fantastic time playing through Pigsodus. It’s definitely a game to keep your eyes out for as it rears closer to it’s launch date. The combat is spectacular and engaging, adopting from one of my favorite games of all time, although the stealth could use some fine-tuning.
Here’s a couple links to check out if you’re interested in the game:
Their Kickstarter which contains a link to the demo of the game and other pieces of information. Check it out and let me know what you guys think down in the comments!