Just because a game is simple, that doesn't mean it's casual. Indie Pixel is a game about making shapes that you control with a single finger. It never gets more complex than moving a square across a tightly spaced grid.
And yet this miniature take on the MMO is a tough nut to crack. It explains little, leaving you to work out the vagaries of your task through trial and error, and shedding light only in small bursts.
It's fun and infuriating in equal measure, but it doesn't quite have enough gameplay to keep you engaged for more than a couple of hours.Pixel perfect
You're one square on a grid, and you move around by swiping. There are other squares too, all of them moving around, all of them customised with some of the ridiculous, Lego-style accoutrements the game allows you to add, and all of them controlled by other players.
At the bottom of the screen a shape is displayed. It's made up of a series of squares and it's up to you and the other players to make that shape. There's a time limit, and if you miss out then you don't score any points, or clear any of the board underneath you.
Two other squares are superimposed over the grid. The larger one gives a 2x multiplier to your score, the smaller one a 3x. Create the right shape within their confines and you'll see your points tally racing up.
The only connection you have with other players is a wink system that makes your square pulsate. It's interesting to see how different players explore the simple mechanics, some aiming for a higher score, others trying to uncover chunks of the pattern that lies under the game's grid.Indie-pendent thought
You earn bonuses as you play that can boost and buff your score and change the way the game plays. Again, learning what these do is very much a case of trial-and-error, and you'll find yourself wasting a few as you work out what they're for.
Indie Pixel is a tough game to give a score to. It's a social experiment in a similar vein to Curiosity, albeit with a closer focus on interaction rather than tapping, and it's unlike anything else you'll have participated in on the App Store.
Some will find its lack of hand-holding overwhelming, but if you can get past that there's an interesting marriage of gameplay and interaction here that will keep you engaged for a good couple of hours.