Pixel Galaxy is a shoot ‘em up from indie developers Serenity Forge. This fun little game has some unique mechanics and a retro arcade vibe. It was released on October 2, 2015 and is available on Steam for Windows and Mac.
The first thing players will notice is that the music in Pixel Galaxy is great. Along with the upbeat tunes, the game has a very minimalistic and sleek aesthetic. The 2D graphics are simple yet effective with everything being a single square shape of varying color and size.
Controller compatible, the movement in Pixel Galaxy feels fluid. Of course you can play the game with a keyboard, but it’s sooo much nicer with a game-pad. You don’t have to shoot in this shoot ’em up, instead your weapons fire automatically and you just have to rotate them in the right direction and dodge those bullets.
Play as a single white pixel darting around a sea of bullets in Pixel Galaxy. You are vulnerable and powerless against the waves of randomly generated enemies—that is until you bump into those enemies and absorb them into yourself. Different enemies will have different abilities like shields, movement boosts or weapon attacks once they get absorbed and become friendly parts of your ship.
As you absorb more enemies, your ship will grow and you will become more powerful, but you will also have a more difficult time avoiding bullets. When a part of your ship is hit, it gets destroyed and you’ll lose its ability. If your white pixely core gets hit, then it’s game over.
Gameplay in Pixel Galaxy is fast paced, dynamic, and intuitive. Each wave has randomly generated enemies, meaning some playthroughs are going to be more challenging than others depending on the starting set of friendly pixels you get. As your ship waxes and wanes in size throughout a playthrough, you’ll have to compensate for your available skill set. Every playthrough is in survival mode and can last as long as you can make it.
There are six difficulty modes in Pixel Galaxy and there’s no shame in warming up on easy mode. Pixel Galaxy is challenging but not terribly punishing, with quick restarts and fast pacing from the get go. In fact, some might go as far to say that this bullet hell is even relaxing to play.
Enemies have very pattern-based attacks, and surviving waves comes down to quick reflexes and finding the right strategy. There are bosses in the game that, once defeated, give players special pixels to add on to their ship.Those looking for a real challenge can play Boss Rush mode, which pits your little white pixel against wave after wave of bosses that you’ve encountered up to that point in the game. There’s also a Co-Op mode.
The biggest problem with Pixel Galaxy is the element of color. When you start out the enemy bullets are red, when you absorb them they turn a shade of blue, which shoot blue bullets. Once you’ve progressed a ways however, the color scheme might start to change, the background becomes yellow, the enemies are green, you’re shooting shades of red and it all gets very confusing. In fact, it adds a whole different level of difficulty to the game that may or may not be intentional. It also makes the game nigh impossible for colorblind players. It is pretty though.
Pixel Galaxy really shines in Co-Op mode. The game is far more fun and slightly less difficult when you have a friend helping you out. Co-Op mode supports two game-pads and both players can dart around collecting enemy pixels and turning them into friends. If one player dies, the other can resurrect them by touching. It would be nice, however, if there was a bit more indication to tell you when a friend needed resurrecting amidst the chaos of all the bullets. Also, if there was a short time of invulnerability after being resurrected it would be easier to jump back into the game.
All-in-all Pixel Galaxy is a really solid shoot ’em up. For those that enjoy bullet hells, this is bullet heaven. It’s easy to jump into and relaxing to play with fast paced game-play creating a retro arcade experience. I’d recommend Pixel Galaxy to those that are new or casually interested in the bullet hell genre, as it’s challenging but not overly punishing, and you can always get the help of a friend.
This game is great in Co-Op mode. It's a game you can just pick up and play while having a conversation and no one’s going to start raging. For those with a competitive streak, there’s even a global and friends leaderboard to climb. I love gaming on PC, but this game would be great on console sitting and playing on the couch. Pixel Galaxy is a fun game with dynamic gameplay and a solid design. Check it out on Steam from Serenity Forge.
This game was provided by the developer and reviewed on PC.