|System: PC, PS3, Xbox 360*|
|Dev: Might and Delight|
|Pub: Might and Delight|
|Release: October 31, 2012|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Cartoon Violence|
by Josh Wirtanen
Pid is a fascinating little gem of a game that I first got my hands on back at E3. During my (far too short) play session, I chatted with the booth reps about Pid’s hodgepodge of influences, and we chuckled that I was quick to point out some Mega Man influence, even though it was fairly hard to discern. You can’t fool a true Mega Man fan, though.
You see, there is a key game mechanic that Pid shares with my most beloved of all retro game series: the way you learn the game as you play. Just like in the Blue Bomber’s classic adventures, Pid features enemy movements that are very simple. For example, some enemies will move back and forth, turning around once they hit a ledge or a wall. Others will fly in a straight line, but they’ll only move when you get to close to them. And so on. After seeing an enemy type for the first time, you’ll quickly figure out what it’s going to do.
That makes mastery of the game based on memorizing patterns and adapting to them on the fly. For example, you’ll see a little guy on wheels that shoots missiles on flat ground, so you can quickly learn his movement pattern. Later, you’ll see the same enemy type, only it will be up on a ledge above you. You’ll already know which direction you can expect it to move, but now that it’s above you, you’ll have to gage your jumps differently in order to hop over it without getting hit in the face by a missile. This, in my opinion, has always been a hallmark of the early Mega Man games, and Pid has picked up on it. I love that.
Now, while I could gush about design philosophy all day, I must digress and get into the real meat of the game. See, the full game is out now, and I finally got to fully explore the odd little world of Pid.
Pid tells the story of Kurt, a boy who finds himself trapped on a strange planet. There’s a bus that will take him home, but the old fogeys at the bus stop warn him that a bus hasn’t been seen in these parts for quite some time. Rather than wait, like all these other old codgers seem perfectly fine doing, Kurt decides to take action. He’s going to get to the bottom of this curious bus disappearance.
Thus you embark on a whimsical adventure that takes you through several strangely designed environments and a global conspiracy. In fact, I would say that the entire layout of Pid’s world feels dreamlike. It wouldn’t make sense in real life if, say, the dining hall can only be reached by travelling through the attic, but in Pid’s world, that sort of nonsensical architecture is commonplace. When you couple this with the charming visual design, Pid has this overall feel that’s a bit hard to describe. It’s charming and whimsical and slightly offbeat, but it all comes together in a way that serves the game quite well.
You are aided in your explorations by several special items, the most important of which being an antigravity beam that you can place at will. If you’re confused by that statement, just think the Excursion Funnels from Portal 2 and you’ll have a pretty good idea of how these work. Using these beams, Kurt can move items, redirect projectiles, disrupt enemy patterns, and even ride to otherwise unreachable areas of the map. This is where Pid’s puzzle elements come in. You’ll spend a lot of your time trying to figure out the best strategy for moving things around with these beams so you can progress further into the game.
Don’t expect a walk in the park, though. Sure, it starts out simple enough, but as you progress deeper into the game, you’ll find yourself having to retry several areas over and over again to get them down. I wouldn’t say I ever found myself stuck on a puzzle that I simply couldn’t figure out, but a lot of these puzzles require you to exercise dexterity and precision in order to avoid the obstacles in your path. In fact, there are some boss fights in this game that are downright brutal, especially considering Pid’s one-hit deaths. (You can offset this by acquiring upgradeable vests that will protect you to some extent, but there’s one boss in particular that will sap you of all your items before the fight starts.)