While I spend my days waiting for Borderlands (tomorrow's the day!), I decided to have a look around the latest releases for Xbox Live Arcade. I've bought a few games in the past (Braid, Shadow Complex, Streets Of Rage 2), but last week a new title caught my eye: Axel & Pixel.
That's Axel with the beard and blue pants.
What is essentially a point-and-click adventure/photo hunt game, this enchanting little jaunt sees Axel the painter living in his mountaintop cabin with his dog, Pixel. After sitting down in his favourite chair after a hard day's painting, he and his best friend relax without a care in the world. And then a purple rat appears and activates a record player which sucks Axel & Pixel into another world. Yes, the premise is a bit weird but take a minute to think about some other classic games and how wacky their intro is...
Yeah, you obtuse fucks know what I'm talking about.
So I plonked down 800 Microsoft points ($12) and downloaded it. A total of 24 chapters (single-screen levels) including three action levels (car, boat, hot-air balloon) awaited me but the gameplay wasn't the highlight. It is the charm of it all. Slovakian developer Silver Wish Games have crafted a great fantasy tale with basically no dialogue. Axel speaks in gibberish, his only actual words are either "Yippee!" or "Oh yeah!" when he celebrates the completion of a puzzle. The objective of the game is to hunt down that rat who has the only key that will get your back to the real world.
Pixel gets kidnapped by a dragonfly at one point. Told you it was weird.
Anyway, in these times of a lot of games being based around shooting dudes in the face, it's refreshing that for less than fifteen bucks, you can be transported to a beautiful art-laden world of dreams for a few hours and enjoy every minute of it.