You come to realise that Pid is quite an odd game, emerging from the sea of recent indie platform games with an odd combination of politeness and eccentrity. This gaming premiere of Swedish developer Might and Delight casts you as Kurt, a schoolboy stranded on a distant planet after falling asleep on an intergalactic bus.
To make it back home, our protagonist has to run, jump, solve puzzles and defy gravity to his benefit, while meeting a cast of mysterious inhabitants along the way. It adds up to a rather simplistic plot in the great scheme of things; but the main attraction of this comes from somewhere a whole lot different.
Take a moment from the gameplay and soak in the universe that's been created before you, and 'beautiful' is one of many adjectives you'd choose for this game. Pid is not a technical masterpiece; but it earns that title through a finely tuned combination of aesthetic elements, which makes every level an irresistable plea for the player to continue.
Every lavish location is truly unique, and the backgrounds are just as vivid & attentively constructed as the foreground. The characters you meet are an amazing smorgas board of bizarre visual appearance + quirky voiceovers, and you will encounter some fantastically weird bosses, engaging in equally uncommon battles. This is combined with an amazingly varied soundtrack, complimenting every scenario with a beautiful sonic presence, highly inspired by a wide selection of genres, and even superseding the already gorgeous visual finesse of the game to become the central strongest quality at times.
This is a game of highly individualised style, and Pid is one of the strongest titles this year in terms of form.
'Beautiful' is one of many adjectives you'd choose for this game.
Function, on the other hand, will be quite the "marmite" in respects to the inevitable splitting of audiences with gameplay choices. The USP is a mysterious gem Kurt picks up at the beginning of the game, which can create up to two gravity-defying light beams. Think of the 'Gravity Belt' from Portal 2, and you're on way to understanding this similar tool for accessing otherwise unreachable areas of the level. This innovative mechanic is one you're going to be using, and is not where my gripe is with Pid.
It's fair to say you will die a lot.
As this is a 2D platformer that makes a nod back to the classic difficulty of said games, it's fair to say you will die a lot. I, and most others, will be okay with this regular occurence; but all to often, they will not happen through any fault or mistake of your own. Loose jumps, awkward beam placement and sticky edges are just some of the times when you will die needlessly.
It becomes an incredibly frustrating experience when you know exactly what is necessary to complete a level, and yet that very thing you must do kills you, due to an imperfection in the design. This may sound as if it is a man blaming his tools (yet again); but have a go for yourself, then we shall begin to see the parting of the people: those who can forgive these flaws in the face of it's beauty and those who can't.
But there's that 'thing.' That one piece of the puzzle you can never quite put your finger on, which pushes you through to the end of a game, no matter how much you slam the desk in annoyance. The alluring visual style, the elegant audio accompaniment, and the all-round creation of a highly unique atmosphere make this challenging experience fun. The extensive amount of care and atention put into the creation by Might and Delight ensures you get a lot for £6.99: a price you can't grumble at for something like this.
The peculiarly beautiful universe of Pid will ensure you persist until the final credits roll. 8/10