Pixel Galaxy takes the classic twin-stick shooter genre and adds two simple twists to make something different and exciting.
Frantic befriending action
Arena twin-stick shooters that have you facing off against swarms of foes, desperately trying to avoid a incoming storm of bullets, have been around since the early days of arcades. There are even some games that take this format, rob of your guns, and leave you with survival as your only goal.
Pixel Galaxy takes this passive style of play and adds the ability to "befriend" your attackers. By dodging through incoming fire and ramming into them, your enemies become stuck in place around the tiny square you control. There they remain - unless destroyed by an incoming attack - until you are guiding a massive, unwieldy Lego block across the map. Their attacks and abilities are also added to yours, with some allowing you to move faster, block incoming attacks, or automatically fire bullets of your own.
Grab enough enemies and you will find yourself zipping through the arena, rotating your collection of squares 90 degrees at time to block incoming attacks, and wiping out enemies with your newly acquired arsenal. It becomes incredibly hectic as you battle through waves of foes towards bosses, who – like you – are surrounded by blocks which must be blasted away to reveal their weak core. This requires that you precisely position yourself while rotating your amalgamation of attacks towards the boss - creating a fraught, fast-paced dynamic.
To stay alive you just have to keep your original, brilliant white block alive. But, when the pace picks up, it can become hard to keep track of it amid the confusion. Fortunately, there is a nice visual flourish to distinguish it - a vivid trail of light - enabling you to always be able to spot it. This is perfectly in keeping with Pixel Galaxy's look, and exemplifies the attention that the developer has clearly given every aspect of the game.
Thanks to its distinctive look it can be easy to dismiss at Pixel Galaxy as a clone of Geometry Wars passivism mode. But its focus on evasion and the collection of enemies manages to make an arcade experience that is both different and heart-poundingly entertaining – especially at higher difficulties.