Published on June 7th, 2012 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
E3: Pid: Hands-on with the Impressive and Obscure Puzzle Platformer
Pid is a charming 2D platformer that reminds me of why I started liking video games in the first place. The simplistic art style and jazzy tone were two things that initially drew me in. After getting some hands on time with the game at E3 2012, it is definitely more than a blip on the radar.
We sat down at E3 in a small booth located in the South Hall, tucked back behind bigger companies like EA, Capcom and Square-Enix.
The D3Publisher booth, which is publishing the indie title on the Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation Network, showcased only a few upcoming releases, but held a hierarchy of games that were greatly anticipated.
Games like Retro City Rampage from VBlank Entertainment was one of these shared titles. Retro City Rampage is sure to makes its mark on the digital gaming scene. That is, if it ever gets released (it only took me about a year but the hands on was worth it). Might and Delight, the developer of Pid, comes from the creative minds of veterans in the industry. Adam Boyes, President of Beefy Media, was present on the previous title Bionic Commando: Rearmed. The creativity and experience was definitely present in this nearly complete model of the game.
The game hosts a unique art style. At a glance, you might compare the slow pace with similar indies like Braid or Limbo. Although seemingly similar, looking deeper into the game you will find that it has a distinct style of its own. This is particularly the case when we asked about the roots of its development.
The beginnings of the game first drew from the theme of using cardboard cutouts and props. Wendy Young, who is the Managing Director at Might and Delight, gave us brief overview in regards to the creation process. After the skeleton of the game was introduced and mechanics were ironed out, the rest began to fall into place with the innocence of the main character, Kurt, still in mind.
There may be many scary robots running about, but there’s still a little boy just simply trying to explore and escape this mysterious planet. Blue robots are not affected by the orbs light, while the red robots can be carried off by it. This is important in solving level puzzles or defeating smaller bosses/mini bosses.
The demo opened up approximately five minutes into the game where we were introduced to Kurt. He discovers gravity beams and orbs, then embarks on a journey carrying nothing more than his knapsack. The orbs thrown are used to cast beams of light onto walls and ground. These gravity beams can then transport items and interact with the environment. There can be only two emitted at a time, but the first one thrown can be cancelled for level progression purposes.
While the concept of these orbs may seem simple, they can become complicated in use. Throughout the stages there are stars scattered about. These stars are the form of currency in the game. Things like extra lives and bombs can be purchased with them, but our rep Wendy assured us that these items were not essential for the games completion. But hey, who doesn’t want to send a bomb at a robot via a beam of gravity light? Thought so. The stars are located in obvious positions, but they can also be higher up in tricky-sticky spots.
For example, partially through the level we see elevated corridors where additional stars lie. There is no outright platform to reach them, but you must place the beams to carry Kurt up, over, and at an angle to carry you towards the semi-hidden area. Now, throw spikes and other miscellaneous traps and you can see how the game begins to shape itself into a gentle looking yet tough puzzle-platformer.
With various puzzlers and creative ways to solve levels, many have wondered if a multiplayer would be kept in mind. In this case, we will see the introduction of your co-op partner and robot friend, Audrey. She is there to help emit beams and will work as your partner in co-op situations. With only one beam per player, it is essential that the two work together to solve these levels.
Pid is shaping up to be a truly delightful title. It was a little disappointing for it to not grab as much attention as it deserves, particularly being tucked in the back of the show and many not venturing out of big name titles to go and play it.
The game does have some veterans in the business working on it, which shows in its already great looking early form. The only downside to the title is the couch co-op style play, which in this day and age, is something not everyone can do when it comes to when playing with a friend.
The game has a unique art style that is refreshing, relaxing, and reassuring that it will kick your ass in the puzzler department. Which, after spending quite a bit of time playing on the E3 show floor, it was worth it.