Game Name:Axel & Pixel
Platforms:Xbox LIVE Arcade
Publisher(s):2K Games
Developer(s):2K Play / Silver Wish Games
Genre(s):Family, Puzzle & Trivia
Release Date:10/14/09
ESRB Rating:E (Everyone)
Price:800 MSP
Demo:Add to Download Queue!

Remember the invention of Flash? All the point and click games that littered and still litter the internet? Well, this isn’t one of them! Axel and Pixel is a point and click 2D side scroller that employs the fundamentals of point and click with a mash of quicktime button combinations and a whimsical story mode. The game stars Axel an aspiring artist and his faithful dog Pixel who are drawn into an amazing adventure to retrieve a key to their house from an evil rat. The story takes place in the form of a dream that Axel has when he accidentally falls asleep. The story spans over all the seasons (Summer, Fall etc) and pictures some of the best art work I have ever seen in a point and click.

Axel and Pixel is full of lush and rich environments that leave you mouth opened and jaw dropped. Seriously, when I say the landscapes and puzzles in this game are amazing I mean they are ****ing gorgeous! The gameplay is mainly what you would expect from a point and click with the addition of some awesome button mashing puzzles and minigames that do an excellent job of tying the story together. Axel and Pixel’s mini games break from the point and click and also advance the story, you can fly a hot air balloon through a dangerous cave, drive a 4×4 truck in through an off road waste land and sail a boat through dangerous waters. The addition of these mini games is excellent and leads to extended playability of the game – what I mean is, when you finish the game you can play these mini games with more levels and increased difficulty. These mini games also bring the only aspect of multiplayer that Axel and Pixel has, in the form of leaderboards for points on how well you race through them. The game is a 2K game, you know the people who made a little game called Bioshock?, and features a few subtle easter eggs. Remember how those Splicers in Bioshock whistled when they were alone? Axel whistles the same way while waiting on you to solve the puzzle!

A short story mode and tedious puzzles that don’t flow with the story make this game ridiculous at times. There are times that I had no idea what to do and the Help button could not help me which led to me just clicking everything on the screen in hopes that I would trigger something. While Axel and Pixel is unique in the sense that it has lush environments, it left me with the feeling that I could have played something of equal quality on my computer. For free. Plus, Axel and Pixel doesn’t have any type of multiplayer to speak of – it does have leaderboards as far as the minigames and storymode score, but that’s it.

Pros
+ Excellent graphics with lush environments
+ An excellent soundtrack
+ Great mini-games that help tie the story together
+ Bioshock easter eggs!

Cons
– Short story mode with almost no replay ability
– Ridiculously difficult puzzles that don’t fit the story
– Faulty help button that gets just as lost in the puzzles as you do
– No multiplayer
– No voice acting
– No sounds (other than music) and some whistles and nature noises.

Conclusion
Axel and Pixel was a blast and I really enjoyed the minigames. Although, the environments are amazing, the gameplay in some acts interferes with the story causing both frustration and confusion. Which leads me to ask this, Who is Axel and Pixels target audience? The game is colored and looks like a childs point and click but at times is so ridiculously difficult that a child couldn’t possible understand what to do. All and all if you like point and clicks then you will enjoy Axel and Pixel, but if you are the casual gamer looking for a good XBL arcade game, then your money can be better spent and you should look into some FREE point and clicks on the internet.

I give Axel and Pixel a 3 out of 5.

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