After experiencing the dizzy heights of stardom atop the WiiU charts in 2017 under the previously titled ‘Cube Life: Pixel Action Heroes’, it seems only natural we see Pixel Action Heroes released on Nintendo’s latest hybrid console, the Nintendo Switch. The question is, does it still provide an experience worth buying or have these have-a-go heroes had their day?
Getting straight into the FPS action, I selected the ‘Zombie’ gameplay mode from the list of single-player options. Much like many other ‘horde’ and ‘zombie’ games of this era, the goal is simple: defeat the endless scores of enemies whilst keeping an eye on ammo and health. I jumped straight into Wave 1 of combat with Bruise Leaf (aka Bruce Lee.) Equipped with a pistol and a spade – an ode to its very obvious Minecraft-inspired gameplay – I set about fighting hordes of enemies in one of the five opening maps, Alcatraz. It struck me almost immediately that the game developers had a very clear vision, knew what they wanted to achieve, and never once wavered from it. The self-proclaimed, ‘best parody first-person shooting game for Nintendo Switch’ is a confident, creative and ludicrous exaggeration which had me laughing time and time again.
Alongside the ‘Zombie’ game mode, single-player also offers both ‘Creative’ and ‘Practise’ modes. Each mode has its merits, with Practise offering a large variety of different maps and the opportunity to battle bots in either day or night mode, increasing the difficulty of the AI bots and determining how many lives you start with. Creative mode, however, is where the game gets very interesting and truly shows its worth. There are 5 options: Map Editor, Skin Editor, Cube Editor, Share Custom Skins and Share Custom Maps.
The Map Editor is where I spent the vast majority of my time, outside the ‘Zombie’ mode, as it has a very intuitive map generator where you can select the height of the terrain, the density of trees and whether water is present. Once decided, you can move around the 2D topographical map to find a suitable location before clicking ‘Generate Map.’ In much the same vein as the options available in Minecraft’s Creative mode, you have a staggering amount of blocks at your disposal. With the map creator, you can decide where weapon drop and respawn points will be, what buildings you wish to create etc. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
The maps created in Pixel Action Heroes ‘Map Editor’ can subsequently be shared amongst friends online which brings me on to another huge selling point of this game, the Online Multiplayer. During my time with the game, I was able to play a number of different opponents in a variety of game modes including Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Creative. Boasting online play for 2-6 players, at any one time there were servers and rooms I could join and all was experienced with very little in the way of lag. It was great fun with a competitive edge to the matches and something you could sink minutes or hours into.
It is incredibly easy for me to recommend Pixel Action Heroes, not just because of its very modest $4.99 price tag. The variety of game options, the level of customisation and the sheer fun to be had be it alone or with friends means this is a game I will keep coming back to for a quick blast online or a longer zombie session by myself. As the community grows, I cannot wait to see the maps that are created and the ideas people share. The opportunity to create your own maps and obtain bonus levels by successfully defeating waves of enemies means I will have ample opportunity to hear the sweet sound of the commentator shouting “Headshot!” over and over again.
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Reviewed by Shaun Hughes on the Nintendo Switch. Provided by Cypronia