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Publisher: EMV Software    Genre: Arcade
Min OS X: 10.4    RAM: 128 MB    Hard Disk: 35 MB


Pixie
March 12, 2009 | Franklin Pride
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Impossible Fill
In 1996, Ambrosia Software published an arcade game called Barrack. It's premise was very simple: fill in enough of the level by using a straight beam shot from both sides of your character. It got surprisingly complex, however, due to the seven enemies you encountered and the powerups that randomly spawned. In the end, it was a masterpiece. Now, thirteen years later, EMV Software has released a clone of the original called Pixie. Will it measure up to the original or will it break down? The easiest way to answer would be to start playing, so let's get to it.

Pixie shares Barrack's main mechanic, the use of dual beams of light to fill in each level's area. However, each game handles the filling in a different way. In Barrack, you had to wall off the different enemies and fill in the area by cleverly separating them and timing each shot well. In Pixie, though, you can fill in enemies along with the space of the level. As such, Pixie ends up feeling way less tactical and becomes more of a waiting game. It doesn't end there, though. Pixie also has no time limit or penalties. In the end, there's no reason to rush. You can finish each level without much trouble at all.

If that wasn't easy enough, Pixie also has a health system. When enemies cross your path, your health goes down. When you run out of life, you die and continue where you left off. You do have a limited number of lives, but, if you're careful, you can go from the first level to the last without losing any at all. If you get low on them, you can always buy one or two more from the shops that pop up every five levels. Pixie is extremely easy.

There's only one thing tough about Pixie, and that's getting on the internet high score board (for more than one reason). Each level is set up on a grid. Each of your shots are forced to travel along this grid. The only way for you to perfectly fill a level and get the ultimate bonus is to bisect the remaining area down to the last point on the grid. You'll have to be good at math or counting to pull that off, as each level is set up with irregular walls and obstructions. That alone wouldn't stop most people, but there seems to be a pretty low rate of success when you try to submit your score. Despite trying about a dozen times, even when the list had scores markedly lower than mine, the score never submitted.

Pixie does have three saving graces, however. Its sound is quite good, its music is much better than most other indie games, and its graphics are pleasing to the eyes. You'll more than likely find yourself sitting back and enjoying the show at least once while playing. The graphics do lag noticeably on slower systems, though. On a semi-recent MacBook Pro, the lag is almost perfectly steady on the higher graphics settings. It even lags whenever you shoot on the lowest setting. This isn't that forgivable, as even Spore works at full speed on the same computer.

Overall, Pixie is a clone that definitely does not measure up to its 1996 counterpart. It takes a few steps back on difficulty and has almost nothing tactical about it. However, that original currently doesn't work on MacOSX, so you can do far worse than pay the $20 for Pixie. It's pretty easy, but it does remain entertaining long enough for the price to be worth it.

Pros
• Excellent music
• Remake of a classic
• Casual gameplay

Cons
• Too much waiting
• Flawed internet high score board
• Math required for high scores



Pixie
Publisher: EMV Software
Download Pixie Demo


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