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PixelShips is a 2D shooter developed by Kris Asick for the PC. Players begin with one PixelShip and are tasked with completing a variety of missions to collect all 160 PixelShips, as well as a secret one. To begin playing, the user must create a new file and then will be allowed to customize their file by selecting a callsign, account name, difficulty preference and a ship. There are five ships available to the player, each with their own name. The Starfighter, Nemesis, Trigula, Pixstar and Shuttle Pod, all of these ships have an upgrade the layer can work toward.
Once the user has created a file the campaign window will activate. From this window the user can choose from one of a huge 10,000 campaigns (jncluding a campaign called 0000). Every campaign has 10 missions, each of them individual and plays differently to the last, all of them with different objectives and goals to complete. The player can see a campaigns difficulty by paying attention to the first number, for example if the first digit is 0 then that is the easiest mission within that campaign and 9 being the most difficult. The numbers that follow after the first digit are there for the sole purpose of variation.
The game offers two different ways for the user to gain ships; to capture and to upgrade.
Upgrading ships: When playing through a mission, the player gathers experience points every time they are flying, destroying enemies ships and collect star power-ups. The user has to collect points until a certain milestone, the player will be prompted in the bottom left corner with the message "Upgrade!" Once the mission has been completed, the player has to highlight their ship for a button to appear in the form of a button pointing upward with the initials "UG" beside it (standing for upgrade). Note: if a player attempts to do this without having enough points to upgrade their ship a fuzzy square will appear over the ship, blocking the player from activating the upgrade sequence. The colour of this box indicates how far away the user is from their upgrade, if the block is filled with mostly black static then the player has very little xp and has a long while to go before upgrading their ship. There are some ships available to the player that cannot be upgraded, this will be made clear to the player as they will be prompted with a red cross over their ship at the end of a mission.
Capturing ships: During certain mission, the player will encounter another PixelShip on their travels. The ships will stop scrolling away from the player and a blue health bar will be displayed on the top right section of the screen. The player then has to destroy the PixelShip and collect the remaining pixels by using the vacuum. The player has to be quick to collect all of thepixels before they fade away, it is necessary for the player if they want the ship to be added to their ship collection. When the player is given the prompt to next switch ships they can select their newly captured ship and use it in their next misson/campaign.