Game Review #224: Pixel Devil and the Broken Cartridge (Nintendo Switch)
  • Allan Jenks

Game Review #224: Pixel Devil and the Broken Cartridge (Nintendo Switch)

Review by: Allan Jenks

Developer: Level Evil

Publisher: BLACK SUN Game Publishing

Category: Action, Platformer

Release Date: 2.27.2019

Price (at time of review): $9.99



Buy Pixel Devil and the Broken Cartridge from the eShop here.


A Classic Story of Love & Kidnapping

The story starts out a tale as old as time: after Pixel Devil and his girlfriend, Valya, move into a new apartment, they find an old video game cartridge with a torn cover, and put it into what appears to be their top-loader NES—or perhaps some hybrid-looking SNES—when a portal appears, and Valya is promptly sucked in. Pixel Devil immediately jumps into the portal after her to rescue his girl. He now finds himself trapped inside the world of the mysterious game. OK, so maybe the tale is not as old as time, but there’s definitely a strong 80s UHF vibe going here!



Is the Title Self-Evident?

You now find yourself in the pixelated 2-D world of the game, where you must shoot and platform your way through 4 main stages—5 if you count the tutorial level—each with their own unique theme and boss. Much like Mega Man, each world has a boss who yields a new special skill that you collect upon their defeat. Each of these skills will be required to pass the next stage, but while you are free to play the stages in any order you please, if you don’t play them in the correct order, you will find yourself as I did, in a complete frustrated state of confusion, thinking that perhaps the copy of the game you have is, in fact, broken.



What Am I Missing???

I was stuck for way too long, unable to beat even a single level of this game. With each stage I played, I would inevitably come to a point where a sign would advise me of the special skill I would need to use to traverse the next section of the stage, and I had yet to obtain even a single one of these skills. I felt like I was missing something really obvious.


To top it off, this game had just come out, and there was nothing on the internet to walk me through any of the stages—aside from a couple of videos in Russian—so I really had nowhere to turn for help. It was like being back in the late 80s/early 90s again before we had the internet to help us cheat. Nope... if we wanted to cheat, we had to bring a pen and paper to the magazine aisle in the grocery store and write down our cheat codes from that month's issue of Game Pro and Nintendo Power!


I did finally come across a playthrough video though—after about a week of defeat—and I saw the obvious thing I had missed, and which stage I was supposed to beat first. After I finally beat this stage—spoiler... it’s the city stage... you’re welcome—I obtained my first skill.



I immediately knew which stage to play next that required said skill. From there, the game was a breeze—well, the bosses were still pretty challenging, but they all have patterns that can be exploited—and it became much easier to traverse the stages from that point. I was so done with this game, but I’m glad I had this breakthrough just in time, because it’s a pretty fun game at the end of the day.


Audio/Visuals

This is yet another of the ever-growing “modern retro” indie releases showcasing the simple beauty of the 8- and 16-bit generations of gaming. The graphics are colorful, fun, and faithful to the era. The soundtrack is also a faithful tribute to the times, with the good old MIDI tunes, and the beeps, clicks, and booms we all—at least us cranky old geezers—grew up loving.



Wrapping Up

Pixel Devil and the Broken Cartridge was fun once I figured it out. The controls were a bit too unforgiving at times, leaving zero-pixel margins of error for a lot of jumps, but it was not impossible. It was certainly nothing that was a deal-breaker, but I do wish the controls were a little tighter, given the degree of accuracy that is required. Other than the controls and getting stuck for a week though, I had a lot of fun playing this game. The game is short—with exception to the hours of trial and error I suffered through, of course—but still fulfilling, and for the price, it is definitely worth a look. I would recommend this to anyone who loves a good retro action-platformer, or just someone with a few hours to kill who likes the pretty pixels.


Score: 7/10


Buy Pixel Devil and the Broken Cartridge from the eShop here.


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*Review Code Provided by BACK SUN Game Publishing

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