Commander Pixman Hands-On Preview

Uh oh, Commander Pixman has crashed in an asteroid field and ended up in some kind of alien base — help him escape! If it sounds like the plot of an early DOS or Atari 2600 game, that’s entirely by design. One Minute Games is serving up yet another treat for the retro platformer crowd in the form of Commander Pixman, all 80 levels of it due out at the very tail end of September.

Commander Pixman takes players back to the days when all they had to work with was a character’s jumping ability and a little ray gun. It takes advantage of its simplicity to do something really neat, though. While the player’s working his or her way through a level, the game engine is surreptitiously recording all of Commander Pixman’s movements. Once the little green man has made it to an exit portal, the player is treated to an instant replay consisting of all retries needed to finish, presented in tandem. With infinite retries available to the player and some pretty tough levels, these replays grow into an impressive side show. It’s downright fascinating to watch an entire crowd of Commander Pixmen get whittled down by enemies and every manner of obstacle until the last one finally makes it through!

While the instant replay is the first thing to make an impression on the player, Commander Pixman’s most defining characteristic is easily its good, old fashioned level design. Less than a quarter of the way through as of this writing, we’ve already had to hotfoot it over land mines, dash through mechanical presses, choose among branching paths, and survive shootouts with a variety of enemies. And judging from the preview video below, many more surprises may await us. This is what makes covering retro platformers so rewarding. Well, that, and the groovy chiptunes!

We’ll be back with more on Commander Pixman in the coming weeks!