A Dead Pixels review
At a mere $3.00, Dead Pixels is an absolute steal. You get not only two full campaigns, but also challenge modes, and all with co-op capability. The appeal of Dead Pixels does not stop there, though. The dynamic environments are a treat, complete with boarded windows and God-questioning graffiti. Best of all was that none of the visuals looked too distorted in the 8-bit fashion they were presented in. The music and sound effects are also great. My personal favorite aspect was the background sound in the trader, which was a combination of a softly played "Moonlight Sonata" and the sound of rain pattering against a window. You can pick up the soundtrack on their website for free, too.
In the original campaign, the story is a bit strange, but what zombie game doesn't have an odd story? You're set in the city of New Hexington in 1983, where a toxic spill has caused the dead to rise and attack any living people. The city is put under quarantine, but you want out, so you set out for salvation at the other side of the city. Without being drowned in detail, you have the freedom to let your imagination loose.
The gameplay is fantastic. You can never get lost, the controls are simple for both keyboard and controller, and the item system isn't overly complicated. While you're wandering the streets, you can loot houses, garages, closets, and even churches. You might find something useful, like a med-kit or ammo, or you could end up with something a little less so, like a teddy bear. Everything can be sold, though, so even the most useless items are good for something. Everything also has a weight, though, and some things are quite heavy, such as weapons. You can't carry too much and the frequency you run into traders dwindles as the game progresses. If you do try to carry too much, you're quickly notified that you are over-encumbered and move extremely slowly. The more over-encumbered you are, the slower you go. Of course, you can upgrade your carrying capacity, and various other skills, at the trader for a hefty price. Traders also offer a great deal on a random item once per level, or "street." The number of streets you have to traverse to cross the city depends on the difficulty. Money gets pretty tight as you work your way towards help, and there are only three ways to earn it: selling items, looting, and killing zombies. Every zombie drops a coin, but the type of coin depends on the type of zombie. Stronger zombies drop more valuable coins. Money isn't the only thing that you need to be careful with, though, as ammo can run dry pretty quickly too. While you usually don't have to actually kill any zombies to complete a street, it certainly helps. Each gun type has its own ammo, which are denoted by a shared color, and there are thrown weapons, like grenades, but you can also punch and prod a zombie to death. Melee attacks don't do much damage, and you are much more likely to get hit, but they do knock the zombie back a little bit and they don't cost ammunition.
Despite all this praise, there are two issues I have with the game. First, I've encountered a bug in co-op that sends me back to the main menu when I check the controls. This is hardly an issue at all to me, because I usually play it with friends who have played it before and know the controls, and with the auto-save feature, we never lose more than one street's progress. The other issue I have is that there isn't more of it to play! It would also be nice if it weren't limited to local co-op, but that's alright.
I give this game only 4.5 stars because of the single bug that I very rarely encounter. It's not quite perfect, but it's pretty close, and more than worth the price.