Chasing the stars, I re-spawn and jump a few times to collect the constellation directly in front of me. Running forward, I throw down a beam of light and launch myself onto a platform overlooking a pit of red spikes.
Leaping down toward my spiky death, I tap the X button and drop a beam of light directly in front of me, which narrowly saves my life. Despite making it this far, I miss my next jump and re-spawn at a checkpoint conveniently placed right before the group of stars I had just collected.
I would be lying if I said that “Pid” was not frustrating. This platformer has not conformed to modern platformers, which have started to move away from puzzles that require exact timings and movements, making the game exceedingly difficult.
“Pid” revolves around the manipulation of gravity through positionable beams. Fortunately, throwing and placing beams is usually simple. Pressing the X button tosses out a seed, which grows into a lengthy beam of light which will pick up and push objects.
Navigating the earlier levels is as simple as dropping beams that carry you to platforms, which would otherwise be inaccessible. The difficulty ramps up fairly slowly, but the first boss battle is where the experience fell apart for me.
Although I cannot say I am a fan of bosses in any game, the boss fights in “Pid” are particularly aggravating. The checkpoints in the fights are universally horrific, as you will generally be sent to the start of a battle if you die. All of the bosses involve fairly creative puzzles, but the sheer repetition of pinpoint jumps and beam placement is needlessly annoying.
One of the bosses, a giant balloon-shaped thief, fires huge bullets that roll across the screen while dropping bombs. My first encounter with him was a nightmare, which took me some three or four 15-minute sessions of pure torture.
To damage the boss, I had to launch myself with a spring and throw light beams directly into a small hole in his head. After taking off a sizeable chunk of his health bar, I died and had to start from scratch.
What makes “Pid” bearable, and at times genuinely amazing, is the level of polish and attention-to-detail that fills the entire game. With a simple, yet undeniably endearing story about a boy lost on a foreign planet, this is one platformer that actually gets the story right. In fact, aside from the clean art style and sleek menu systems, the story was what kept me motivated despite all of the moments of frustration.
This game goes back to the roots of early platformers with bosses that fill entire screens, and puzzles that are completely unforgiving. The difficulty of “Pid” is indisputable, but so is the appeal of the story and the basic mechanics that drive the entire game.