I always seem to get pretty engrossed with indie games, the majority have fantastic stories, are creative and are just pure fun. I recently purchased the brand new indie puzzle adventure game from the developers Might and Delight called Pid, which is an abbreviation for ‘Planet in Distress.’ The game is now available for $9.99 on systems listed, but if you are quick enough you can snap it up from Steams Autumn Sale for only $7.49, which is a nice bargain.
Nobody likes a spoiler, so I’ll leave the story line as spoiler free as possible and give the basic plot. You play as Kurt, a space boy on a bus returning home from his intergalactic school, but he has slept past his usual stop and ends up waking up on the ground *Similar to the beginning of the popular Limbo* and you discover that you are on a completely different planet. From further information you receive it turns out that the bus will not be returning any time soon. From that point on you are forced to travel through this new strange planet and its multiple environments to return home. The planet seems to be populated by robots; some allies others enemies. When speaking to a character the dialogue is wrote in speech boxes with italic script.
At the beginning you start with the basic jumping over obstacles etc, until you obtain a mysterious beam of light which helps you defy gravity by levitating, and manipulating it to maneuver through obstacles, avoiding enemies and traps, but also using the traps to your advantage by pushing enemies into them with the force of the beam. The beams kryptonite, however, is everything that is the colour blue, that also means platforms and enemies that are blue, and they will not be affected by the beam. When dealing with the enemies you cannot simply run up and start attacking them unequipped, you can try it if you like but you will fail miserably. Most of the time you are avoiding them or sneakily luring them into other traps which are actually set out for you. The whole avoidance aspect did give the game a slight stealth feeling due to hiding from enemies and mostly having to keep hidden. You can obtain weapons, but I’ll explain them more in detail later.
You also have the option to play co-op, so you don’t have to endure the adventure alone and get to have a companion named Audrey. But what you think would be a more helpful solution can actually cause more frustration, due to getting in each other’s way and getting stuck in each other’s beams by accident. Co-op also doesn’t affect or help with the overall progress in your main game. Though having company was a lot of fun sometimes and also you get some extra dialogue between the two characters, which unravel another little story.
Throughout levels you can collect constellations that you can trade for various valuable items, such as bombs to help break walls or to be used as a weapon, a vest that is used as a form of armour and other helpful accessories, though you can also find some hidden throughout the levels. With the bombs you can use them to attack enemies, the blue bomb instantly kills an enemy as long as targeted correctly and the red bomb has a timer before it blows up. I usually tried to use the bombs as least as possible, as they were quite precious, important for difficult situations and sometimes they were rare to come across, but other weapons such as the slingshot can fuel your need to attack instead. I have mentioned though, most of the game I used the beam to avoid enemies instead of destroying them with weapons. My favourite accessory was one called the Firecracker, which came in very useful by enabling Kurt to jump very high, avoiding all enemies and obstacles below.
During the game you can collect and uncover secret areas within the levels, secret constellations which are worth twice as more as the regular, and also souvenirs which help with earning achievements. Though of course they aren’t as easily mapped out which makes you explore the world a lot more in depth to try uncover them, and it is a good excuse to explore the levels more thoroughly. I did find my attempt at collecting all the souvenirs a very difficult and repetitive task due to places that they were positioned.
With such beautiful surroundings it does help make the journey seem less treacherous. The game definitely stands out for its creative art style; the artist’s mentioned that the art style of the game was strongly influenced by the children book Aesthetics. Mixed in with the gorgeous surroundings was some of the best calming background music ever, composed by the Retro Family, creating the illusion that the puzzles are going to be pretty simple, but oh how it deceives.
Some parts of the game did come off cruel, with some levels and battles, and the majority boss battles seemed endless and repetitive because of the difficulty of them. Also from something which gives off of a relaxing puzzle-platformer feel turns out to be extremely challenging and frustrating, and this is in normal difficulty. I don’t think it would be possible for me to get that far in the game playing it in the most difficult setting. The check points in the game aren’t marked as obvious and aren’t as constant as I would of hoped. Then if you do fail and get sent back to the check point all the enemies behind you that you have already battled have regenerated again.
Personally I was very impressed by both the charming art and music of the game, the main reason the game had my attention, and when I wasn’t raging at the puzzles, the story and journey was quite interesting and did have a nice pace to it. I admit that sometimes the frustrating puzzles where too much to make me to enjoy the game. I would recommend the game for someone who is patient, very patient, and enjoys puzzle games or appreciates unique art concepts.
[Written by contributor Heather Riddick]