Category:  Initial Pixel

By Brendon Bigley, July 9, 2014 0 Features, Initial Pixel

Look: I’m going to play a game as a mutant ninja chicken with a katana and a rocket launcher, and I highly recommend you check it out.

Nuclear Throne is Vlambeer’s entry into the ever-growing pool of indie roguelike dungeon crawlers. The game’s difficulty stems from its ability to ramp up the action to an astonishing degree instead of rewarding its players for being patient.

Yes, there’s a lot of death, but the act of unlocking perks between levels is enough to keep me crawling back into the irradiated gutter over and over again.

To try something a little different, I’m going to be streaming the game on Twitch tonight at 7:45 p.m. EST. I’ll post the YouTube video below after the stream is over.

See you guys in the wasteland!

By Brendon Bigley, June 19, 2014 0 Features, Initial Pixel

It’s no secret that I’m a mega-fan of the roguelike genre.

Just looking at my Steam page will reveal a list of games with hundreds of hours spent on games that involve running into some procedurally generated dungeon only to die immediately. One of the first roguelikes I ever spent an inhumane amount of time on was Cellar Door Games’ 2013 action platformer Rogue Legacy.

With its impending release on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and Vita (thank God for Rogue Legacy on the go), I decided to revisit one of my favorite indie games of all time to see if I had lost my chops.

Spoilers: I have.

By Brendon Bigley, May 29, 2014 0 Features, Initial Pixel

I think a lot of the middling reviews for Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs are coming from a place of parental disappointment, as if the game sneaked out in the middle of the night and crashed your car.

You’re angry, but you know that there’s still an incredible amount of potential and your love doesn’t subside at all. In this case, wonky driving mechanics and an incomprehensible tutorial lead into what is, in actuality, a pretty interesting experience overall.

Getting a handle on hacking creates a rewarding flow of movement that allows you to do anything from hailing cars or bikes that can quickly maneuver you through Chicago. It also lets you do something unique like blowing up a steam pipe right as the criminal you’re chasing down runs by.

Although this feature boils down to just being a gimmick to set itself apart in the landscape of open world games, the bigger issue is that it’s constantly bogged down by poor optimization for the PC. Even with my beefy computer, I can really only run the game at 720p with “Medium” detail settings before it becomes too unstable. This, as I found through extensive forum lurking, is not a problem I’m facing by myself.

In this episode of Initial Pixel, we explore the sometimes choppy frame rates of Watch Dogs while I attempt outrunning cops who are much smarter and faster than me through a city I don’t understand.


By Brendon Bigley, May 22, 2014 0 Features, Initial Pixel

My time spent with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was nothing short of frustrating.

Shooting webs that don’t connect to buildings is an action often punctuated with a snide remark from Peter Parker about how bad I am at swinging. Combat is so easy that I sometimes found myself dozing off, only dying because my brain couldn’t focus on such a dull and tedious affair. The story is an odd mix of the first and second movies, not acting as a prequel, sequel or any other “equel” that may exist.

Even as a mega fan of the web slinger, I knew well enough to go in with extremely low expectations. I came out on the other end having played a game that only managed to meet those expectations, but not surpass them.

In this episode of Initial Pixel, I find that the subway might actually be the fastest way to get around New York City, regardless of what incredible goop I can shoot from my wrists.


By Brendon Bigley, May 16, 2014 0 Features, Initial Pixel

With no shortage of roguelike games to satiate my need to die repeatedly, I’m generally impressed when I get my hands on one that really sticks out.

Enter Code Avarice twitch-shooter/FPS/dungeon crawler/roguelike, Paranautical Activity.

Although it borrows heavily from The Binding of Isaac, the game manages to set itself apart with its pulsing soundtrack and neon voxel visuals. As with every well-built roguelike game, the controls are ridiculously tight, which places the blame for any death or misstep right at your feet. Simply put, developing skill is paramount to survival.

Paranautical Activity is in early access on Steam for $9.99, and the game’s creator is VERY active on Twitter, so you can expect pretty frequent updates.

In this episode of Initial Pixel, I give you a shotgun-toting tour of the game’s haunted ship and the baddies that reside within. Check it out after the break.


By Brendon Bigley, May 2, 2014 0 Features, Initial Pixel

The best thing about From Software’s Dark Souls franchise is its willingness to let you know how terrible you are.

Yet despite this, fans of the series sprint headlong into the abyss, unfazed by death after death, hoping to create a memorable experience for themselves in the process.

In this introductory episode of Initial Pixel, Brendon Bigley seeks answers within the digital confines of Dark Souls II. What does mortality mean to the undead? If death is inevitable, what is the point of carrying on? Can dead people climb ladders?

Hit the video after the jump to join him on this existential and masochistic journey.