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Pixel Ripped 1978 Review

Pixel Ripped is one of the VR games I always look forward to the next installment releasing, and now the third game in the series Pixel Ripped 1978 is here. I have teleported back to 1978 for this next adventure, the question is can it hold-up against 1989 and 1995?

STORY

Dot’s arch enemy Cyblin Lord is back up to his usual antics, but this time he wants to become the protagonist in Pixel Ripped – so he plans to take and use the Inspiration Stones to alter developer Bug’s past and inspire her to make him the lead in the game. Now Dot must link up with Bug to stop his evil plan and re-claim the Inspiration Stones and save the game.

GAMEPLAY

Pixel Ripped 1978’s gameplay has been split into three sections, one of which being a first for the series. These are all mixed in and used in each section as you try and reclaim the art, audio and coding inspiration stones.

As in 1995 you will be using your Sync device to link up with someone else, this time its the developer of the original Pixel Ripped game ‘Bug‘, who is an employee at Atari. In the sections you play as Bug, you will be in the Atari office playing 2D plaforming games at your desk, with you playing three different games in total. Each of these games will add a new gameplay twist, but I wont spoil what these are, but they are all fun and mix things up well.

Also in these sections you are going to be dealing with distractions that come from working in an office. With your desk phone ringing, employee shenanigans and your boss. But, one thing that is great with the game being made with Atari, it means you might be asked to iron out some bugs in prototypes of some of Atari’s classic titles like Centipede and Food Fight. In these sections the bugs will leave the game and enter the office for you to swat – which was an interesting take on removing them.

Now for the first time inclusion in the Pixel Ripped series, when you take control of Dot this is ‘in-game’ first person gameplay – putting you into the platformer Bug is playing but in first person. Meaning if you get to a point where you cannot progress in the plaforming with Bug, find a sync plate in the game and jump over to Dot – as she can possibly find something or cause an event to help you progress. This also gives you chance to take on the enemies in the game in first person using Dot’s arm blaster.

In these first person elements it adds melee-weapons, with you starting with a garden hoe, and being able to find more around the game worlds to build your collection. These can be used to clear paths, open chest and take on enemies by either hitting them or throwing the weapon.

As well as the collectable melee-weapons, you will also find golden cartridges placed in both the 2D platform and first person elements of the game. None of the sections in the game are time-based, meaning you can take the time to explore the off-road paths and areas if you are looking to collect them all.

The final element is the boss fights with Cyblin Lord in each of the three sections. As with the other entries in the series, these play out like AR levels built in the world. These will see you travel back into different parts of Bug’s life as well and take inspiration from old games. Again these three battles take inspiration from different types of games, making sure they all feel different.

Jumping between all these elements feels so natural, and mixes up the gameplay to keep the game feeling fresh throughout.

PRESENTATION

Another area I feel improves every time a new game is released is the presentation, especially the character models – although these are cartoon in design, they just seem to get animated much better each release. With a good part of this game taking place in an Atari office and the interruptions from your colleagues and the interactions with your family and friends as you travel to Dot’s past this really helps. The office environment and each of the games locations look great, with the in-game locations being varied in colours to make them feel different and you will feel immersed in every place you visit.

Add the the great visuals great audio, with the office environmental sounds being captured perfectly when you are Bug, the music and sounds for the games matching what was available at that time – again making sure you are totally immersed. Add to this solid voice acting and some cameos from the VR community (including The VRverse co-host Dr Oculus) bringing a nice little extra nod to the community that Avore like to include in each game.

COMFORT

With the game coming from Arvore, who have a lot of experience in virtual reality, as you would expect the game has been made with comfort in mind. The game is made to be played seated and you are informed of this as you launch the game. Then you will be getting all the locomotion options from teleport or smooth, snap or continuous turn and vignettes for those who need them. Making the game accessible for anyone, never mind how they need to play Virtual Reality.

LONGEVITY

The game took me just over four-hours to get through, but this was mainly concentrating on the story and progressing over anything else. In this playthrough I was only collecting the golden cartridges and melee-weapons I came across naturally – still leaving me with plenty to collect. I feel finding all of these will extend it by a few hours for the completionists out there.

REVIEWED USING PLAYSTATION VR 2

For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a review code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a press code does not affect my judgement of the product.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Pixel Ripped 1978 stepped up what the series offers again, bringing even more to what has been an impressive series so far. From the switching between Bug and Dot to make sure you can get to the Cyblin Lord in each game, and getting to debug some prototypes of Atari’s classics with a twist. How this all plays and comes together shows Ana Ribeiro’s love for gaming and inspirations from growing up, this time working with Atari to bring her vision to life. Pixel Ripped has continued to bring the nostalgia but using Virtual Reality to portray it perfectly, if you haven’t played this series you are missing out.

GAME DETAILS

Release Date: June 15th 2023
Developer: Arvore
Publisher: Atari
Price: US $24.99

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