Pid was developed by Might & Delight and published by D3. A XBLA copy was provided for review purposes
We live in a day and age where we want to be challenged with our platformers. Super Meat Boy accomplished this by giving you precision control and hard-to-maneuver platforms. Limbo made it more puzzle-like with each death teaching you more about the environment. Might & Delight’s Pid attempts to bring these concepts together, but unfortunately, trying to be good at two things at once leaves you open to not being great at either.
The plot of Pid involves Kurt, a kid who just got finished his day at school and looking forward to his ride home on the space bus. But kids these days always get tuckered out after school. After some stops on some planets, he falls asleep and wakes up on a mysterious planet. Guess he shouldn’t have had such a filling lunch.
As he gets further into the world, he discovers a light glow around his hands that can create beams of light. They can be used to hover up to spots Kurt can’t normally reach, and this is the mechanic you’ll be getting used to most often. In other cases, you’ll have bombs and super jumps to take out some of the more difficult enemies.
Using the light beams to get around spikes, dodge enemies and even lure enemies into spikes, Pid gives you a mechanic and expects you to use it to the full potential. As you progress through the planet, you’ll see lots of neat art showcases and talk to characters in a gibbersh language. The world reminds you of classic platformers or RPGs where English is never spoken.
But the problem with Pid lies in its design. Kurt can only take one hit, which makes getting around pretty much everything deadly. Being seen by a spotlight will take you all the way back to the start, and the lack of proper checkpoints will feel awful at times.
It is quite generous about them for the most part., but you shouldn’t have to start immediately at the beginning when you’re learning a new way to get around a certain object and meet instant death. Might & Delight should have given Kurt more hits since getting the protection vest can let you have an astounding number of TWO hits.
Don’t get me started on the bosses. While only taking one hit, bosses have multiple patterns, new moves, and enemies around the entire time. You have to survive all this without getting hit a single time. It’s possible, but it doesn’t make it fun or challenging – just a whole lot more frustrating than it needs to be. The first boss – The Butler – didn’t take too much effort, but the one after requires precision movement.
Kurt isn’t as volatile or fast as a Meat Boy or as limber to grab ledges like Boy from Limbo. He’s a slow-moving kid who probably got made fun of in school for not doing well in gym. While the hover mechanic helps him, you shouldn’t completely hedge on it. You’re given half of a platformer and half of a puzzle with the driving force of the gameplay, and it doesn’t mix.
It’s disappointing, because this game demoed well and the art looks gorgeous. Characters are popping out and have real senses of how this planet is in distress – what Pid stands for – and the music is incredible. Retro Family are really good at covering NES music and with original tunes behind their belt this time, it evokes the feeling of 8-bit while sounding like a real band.
But Pid’s charm can’t stop the frustration behind playing it. It makes you want to feel better for screwing up a jump or missing a place to hover, but it’s hard to drop the underlying sense of missed opportunity. It’s a bummer since it looked so good beforehand, but came up short by the end. Grab this on a sale sometime. Your platforming experience is better off with a game that wants you to succeed.
Pid was developed by Might and Delight, and published by D3. An Xbox 360 copy was provided by the publisher for the purposes of review.