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iPhone  header logo

Unpixelate


For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

Hanging by a thread

Product: Unpixelate | Publisher: DeNA | Format: iPhone | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
 
Unpixelate iPhone, thumbnail 1
It might sound like the name of an early '90s eurodance hit, but Unpixelate is actually a belated conversion of a 2010 PC and PS3 game, Puzzle Dimension.

You can tell it's got such pedigree, too - there's a level of chunky solidity and polish here that screams of several passes through a torturous console QA process.

It's just a shame that there wasn't a similar level of care and attention taken over the nuts and bolts of the conversion process.

Spatial awareness

At heart, Unpixelate is a classic spatial puzzler, the likes of which we've seen plenty of on iOS before.

You shunt your little ball in four directions - plus a hop when small gaps are encountered - around numerous compact but contorted mazes. They're all of the 'precariously hanging on nothing' variety, so it's quite possible to fall off if you're careless.

The idea is to make your way to the level exit, collecting each of the glowing blocks along the way. These blocks aren't essential to completion, but they accumulate to unlock subsequent themed worlds.

As you progress, new elements get introduced. There are fire and ice blocks that make your path slippery or deadly, and blocks that crumble after the initial contact, to name three early examples.

Drop off in quality

It's all very cleverly designed, with the kind of levels you'll spend the majority of time poring over, playing through various approaches in your head before executing.

Unfortunately, it's in this execution that Unpixelate comes slightly unstuck. In their present guise, the controls feel stodgy and unresponsive.

Everything seems to react half a second too late, and it seems impossible to string together multiple simple commands in a fluid manner.

In particular, you can't seem to rotate the camera until you've finished moving, which gives everything a frustrating stop-start rhythm - particularly given the zoomed-in nature of the perspective.

The tap-to-move system itself can be sticky and unreliable, too. It's not the sort of game that will punish you massively for such errors, but it inhibits the flow of an otherwise inviting game.

Unpixelate looks and moves like an iOS spatial puzzle champ, but the feel of it is simply off. An update could well address this, but for now, proceed with caution.
 
Unpixelate
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 21 January 2015
A great looking and well-designed spatial puzzler marred by curiously sloppy and stodgy controls
 
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