pid – The PS3 Attitude Review
2012 was full of surprise gems, hits, and blockbusters. Pid is one of those surprise gems that will likely go unnoticed on the PlayStation Store. Maybe because of the name, or because Indie developers like Might and Delight don’t usually market their games. Whatever the case may be, pid is classy 2D side-scrolling platformer with a style all its own.
That doesn’t mean I liked it. Playing pid was like eating an entire Thanksgiving turkey by myself and being told I couldn’t go to sleep. Going into the experience was pleasant at first. The look, the feel, the music were all working together to present that classy platformer I mentioned earlier. But once I got into the game I began feeling full just thinking about how much longer this game might be.
In pid, you play a little boy named Kurt who takes a bus through space to get to work. Its a long trip so he dozes off and wakes to find that he’s not at the right stop and instead has reached a stop at a foreign world. Now he’s stuck and the locals make it immediately clear that something is not right. Buses have not come around in hundreds of years. How will Kurt get to work, or home for that matter?
As Kurt explores in his linear path away from the bus station, he comes across a strange object that attaches itself to his hand. Like any good platformer, there must be some method of navigation that seems original or unique. This thing on Kurt’s hand allows him to throw a beam onto certain surfaces to emit what’s best described as a light elevator.
When he jumps into the beam he rises up thus granting him access to higher platforms. Throw one on a wall and he can float over gaps. Throw one on an angle and it becomes an instant escalator. This beam is not only a tool for reaching high places, but also a weapon against the formidable bosses Kurt must face.
Pid starts off fairly easy, but spikes in difficulty at each of the big boss battles. The bosses have a sort of old school way of beating them. You must discover their weak spot and using the beam to deal damage. Fighting bosses started out fun, but because pid follows the Super Mario Bros. damage rule where it’s one hit and he’s dead, these boss fights became old quick.
The game does have its moments. Red enemies appear throughout the game and must be used to solve some puzzles. And there are those well crafted puzzles that require precisely timed jumps and calculated beam placement. Since you can only have two beams out at a time, beam management is another skill that’s good to hone.
There are also some challenging fetch quests. In one large platforming area you’re stopped by a bridge in need of repair. The repair man tells you he needs 25 batteries and a remote to fix it. This mission alone took me over an hour to complete after dying about 20 times while seeking out these batteries scattered across a large area.
Along the way, Kurt will collect stars just floating in a constellation-like pattern. These stars can be spent at kiosks where he can buy useful items such as bombs and life vests. There are 14 items to unlock throughout the game. Kurt keeps them in his backpack including the beam, and this is where I was able to equip one item to the right and one to the left should buttons.
There is no shortage of frustrating moments. The unlimited lives with constant loading drained my interest to complete. I came to realize the pleasure in this game was in fact that it seemed so simple, yet was very challenging. I found my motivation to move on was finding secret areas, as well as the unmeasurable pleasure felt after conquering a difficult level.
One of the most impressive parts of pid was the soundtrack. From the very beginning, I was entranced by the variety, specifically a track that played during the boss battle against the butler. The track is aptly title “The Butler” and performed by Retro Family.
Pid is a lengthy single-player exercise of your ability to play a soothing puzzle-platformer. It will not only challenge your puzzle solving abilities, but also your nerves more than most platformers. Its old school, unforgiving, and still rewarding. You may spend just as much time loading as you will playing, but this is one game where I would say the load is well worth the wait.
[Might and Delight have announced a patch that should be coming soon to consoles. The patch will bring an Easy Mode to pid making boss fights shorter, sorting out the difficulty spikes, and a retuning of Normal Mode. The patch was not available at the time of this review. For more information, visit the pid - official website.]