|System: Xbox 360, PS3|
|Dev: Might and Delight|
|Pub: D3 Publisher|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Josh Wirtanen
Back in 2011, we saw a game at E3 called Inversion, which was doing some pretty neat things with gravity manipulation. Unfortunately, when we finally got our hands on the finished product, it fell short of our lofty expectations. But a year later at E3 2012, we got to play an entirely different sort of game built around a similar gravity gimmick. This time it's indie puzzle platformer Pid.
Pid is a 2D retro platformer where you run and jump, only you have the ability to shoot beams of antigravity. You use these beams to get to hard-to-reach places, dodge enemies, and even trigger environmental objects, all in the name of getting from point A to point B. Imagine Portal 2's Excursion Funnels in a 2D environment and you have a pretty good idea of how this works.
I got to spend about a half hour with Pid at E3, and I was pretty impressed. The single most important thing in any 2D platformer is control, and, from my play time, I'm pretty sure developer Might and Delight nailed it here. It's tight and responsive, allowing you to perform all sorts of feats of bravado while bouncing and floating your way through the stages.
And gravity isn't the only thing affected here. There are various types of environmental objects that react differently to the beams based on color: Red objects are affected by beams (adhering to the in-beam rules of gravity), blue ones are unaffected, and yellow objects are able to be interacted with in various ways. This applies to enemies as well; you can use your gravity beams to push red enemies away from you or send them up toward the ceiling, while blue enemies can pass through the beams without a hitch. Additionally, there are floating blocks that are destroyed whenever they come into contact with a beam.
If you played a lot of platformers back in the NES era (or if you've gone back more recently and gotten to know some of the classics), you'll immediately notice that Pid wears its retro influences on its sleeve. As I was playing, I was calling out the games I thought I saw nods to—Mega Man, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, etc.—and the booth rep I was speaking with confirmed that I was correct each time. This makes Pid a game that simultaneously manages to feel both fresh and familiar. I hate to use the word "nostalgic," because it's not entirely accurate here, but those of us who've been around long enough to remember the 2D era will definitely warm up to this one very fast.
One of the things that felt the most familiar to me was the difficulty. You see, Pid is a game that's deceptively difficult when you first pick up the controller. To be frank, you should expect to die a lot. But it's not the type of difficulty that feels unfair or brutal; it's the kind where you find yourself saying, "I know I can do this; I just need to figure out how." And this is where the Mega Man influence comes into play. Your first time through a stage will be an embarrassing death fest, but as you memorize the stage layouts and enemy patterns you'll be blazing through with no problem. Yes, it's a game with a rhythm; once you fall into that rhythm, the difficulty sort of melts away. The booth rep was extremely patient with me as I died several dozen times over, trying to find that particular groove.