Hot PXL

Review

posted 11/5/2007 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: PSP
The good news is that you don't have to play through the episodes every time you want to play, you can always go to "Instant Play" and get in a game where you just get one mini-game after another until you've lost all your lives (and hopefully accumulated a high score). This is probably the most fulfilling way to play the game, at its best the game is just a frenetic collection of funny mini-games and the best way to see them is in a complete random order. The game is very scatterbrained, but that's probably a large part of the reason you'll enjoy the game (or hate it).

On top of all of those crazy mini-games you also get a number of bizarre videos to compliment the action. These videos star Jonathon Choquel performing crazy acts, such as doing laundry, trying to destroy public property, skateboarding and trying to DJ a club. Oddly enough these short videos add to the style and mood Hot Pixel is trying to put forth, which is a "hip" vibe where everybody loves to skateboard and immerse themselves in hip hop culture. Expect a great deal of the games look and mini-games to have something to do with either skateboarding or hip hop, as that seems to be what the developers are into. Thankfully you don't have to like skateboarding and rap in order to like this game, but it will definitely help you get into the mood.

The graphic style is all over the board. While some games have incredibly detailed images, the majority are very simplistic. Don't confuse the simple look of the game with it not having its own visual style, because Hot Pixel is all about the style. Even when it's just you in the menu screens, Hot Pixel features retro looking characters that should take most older gamers back to their youth (in a good way). Sometimes that style gets lost amongst the boring mini-games, but for the most part the game stays consistent with its classic look. This isn't the best looking game of the year, but it's definitely one of the most unusual.

It won't take long for you to play everything there is to experience in Hot Pixel; you can unlock every mini-game and find all of the bonus material in a matter of a few hours. So what do you do when you run out of new gameplay? You download the newest content, of course. In a surprising move, Atari has decided to support Hot Pixel with downloadable content. Even though not all of it is as inspired as the best games on the UMD, I do like the idea of getting a bunch of new mini-games for free. Hopefully Atari will listen to my pleas to get more Lynx and Jaguar references into the game.

From the moment you turn the game on it's clear that Hot Pixel wants to be the next Wario Ware. Unfortunately the game is never quite as good as what Nintendo was able to do four years ago, which is a real shame. In some ways this game feels like a missed opportunity, there is a real need for a Wario Ware-style mini-game collection for the PSP. That doesn't mean it has to be a blatant rip-off, but Hot Pixel is a step in the right direction. Sadly this game just isn't exciting enough and there's an inconsistent level of quality in the various mini-games. I would like to see what zSlide can do with an original game, they clearly have a unique voice ... but it feels like it's wasted on this Wario Ware clone.


C-
If it looks like Wario Ware and plays like Wario Ware, then chances are it's Wario Ware. But it's not; instead it's Hot Pixel, a game that is desperately trying to be Wario Ware. This bizarre mini-game collection isn't bad, it's just not as inspired as it needs to be to catch up with what Nintendo is doing.


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