I’ve said many times before that Metroidvania games are my favorite types of games, but right under it is, of course, platformers. Before playing Super Meat Boy for the first time last year, I hadn’t come across any speed run platform game, and since, only a couple made for the iOS; League Of Evil and Mos Speedrun being the first two, and then the recent release of Stardash added to that little list of mine. Now I have yet another speed run plat former to drive me crazy and go nutzo over.
Commander Pixman is this new addition, developed by One Minute Games, and is their 2nd release in the AppStore (preceded by Quad Pong). First off, I should say that if you’re expecting another LoE, Mos, or Stardash type game, you will probably be disappointed once you start up Commander Pixman. The physics take a little getting use to, as do the controls, and the main character has a gun. However, once you get use to the controls, thinking of the jump button as more of a jetpack thruster button, the controls and physics come together nicely. If you completely avoid using the gun, you’ll make it harder on yourself to get through the levels, but you’ll be able to get through them quicker once you figure out the right path, which will take you numerous re-tries, which is to be expected in the genre. Though taking your time, and using your gun to destroy all the enemies in a level will earn you a badge for that level.
The graphics are 8-bit retro styled, which in itself has become more modern than old-school over the last couple years, though here, it fits. The difficulty and ‘learn the controls’ feeling you’ll see from the beginning of the game through to the end completely screams old-school inspired. The soundtrack is also done in chip-tune style, and helps add to the overall feeling of the game.
Each of the 80 levels (65 regular levels plus 15 unlockable ones) contains hazards and obstacles for you to jump over, through, or avoid while trying to make it to the end of the level as quick as you can. The faster you make it through each stage, the higher star rank you’ll get at the end, while a perfect run will give you 3 stars. There are 20 different hazards/obstacles, including spikes, laser doors, rotating chainsaw blades, mines, various monsters, moving platforms, disintegrating platforms, sections of the floor that boost your jump, and in the later levels, portals that transfer not only you, but your momentum, and more.
To unlock each of the 15 bonus levels, you’ll need to complete different objectives. To unlock the first bonus level, you’ll need to get reach level 20, and to unlock the second bonus level you need to kill all enemies in level 22 in less than 13 seconds.
Now, even with it centering around collecting badges and getting the quickest time you can, there is no online leader board or achievement support, which does kind of take away from the drive of getting 3 stars in a level, or getting the best time you can, and collecting all the badges. Also, you can not run off of a platform that has a spike sticking off the 90 degree edge of it without dying. I don’t know why this bothers me so much, but it does. The left and right directional arrows are kind of too far apart as well. But aside from these things, Commander Pixman is a very competent speed run plat former, with controls that work very well once you get use to them, and great physics. There’s also portals with the nice physics attached to them, and that does add a ton to the gameplay. Right now it’s on sale for $0.99, but only for a limited time, after that it’ll be $1.99, and with all the content within the game, even without online support, is well worth the price. There’s also more content promised in future updates, so if you’re a plat former fan, speed run fan, or old-school game fan, Commander Pixman is definitely worth picking up.