Hot PXL updated hands-on

We peel back the streetwise veneer to find a bunch of extremely playable microgames

Hot PXL 's 150 mildly edgy, street-flavored microgames are collected into chapters with names like "Kidult," "Admirer" and "Struggle," all of which revolve around a particular theme like junk food or trendy materialism. Each one is bookended by short, bizarre video clips (starring Djon, naturally), and each climaxes with a longer, appropriately themed boss level.

Regardless of what you might think of the attitude behind the games - which include activities like being the first to grab a pair of shoes at a store, making a car transform into a robot or collecting toxic-waste cans as Godzilla on a skateboard - they're a lot of fun for the short time they're in front of you. Deep down, after all, they're really just about jamming on a button or guiding some random thing to a goal. And the visuals, which range from photorealistic to graffiti-esque to ultra-pixelated, vary so wildly that you won't have time to think about whether the whole presentation is pretentious or not.

It's not all crazy urban styles, either; a lot of the microgames are simple exercises with big, blocky pixels, while others are quick riffs on classic Atari games. The latter tend to come with different visual styles and goals than you're used to, though; an Asteroids microgame, for example, might order you to crash into floating space-rocks instead of shoot them. And the game's variations on Breakout seem endless, ranging from a traditional representation to one made out of black-and-white ASCII characters to one made out of the lit windows of an office building.


After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.


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