Pixel Gear

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Pixel Gear Game Poster Image
Clever VR shooter comes up short in too many ways.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Very basic "good vs. evil" theme as players defend world from all manner of weird pixelated monsters.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Player is hero of adventure but not really given any sort of character development. Just there to shoot things.

Ease of Play

Simple controls; easy to learn.

Violence

Action nonstop, with players shooting through wave after wave of weird creatures. Despite this, game's pixelated style reduces impact of violence. Instead of blood, gore, defeated enemies simple explode into shower of lights, 3D pixel pieces.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pixel Gear is a downloadable first-person VR shooter game. It pits players against waves of pixelated fantasy creatures, armed only with a virtual gun that blows the creatures into colorful blocks. The limited "story" is simply an excuse for shooting bad guys more than anything else. Though the violence is persistent, between monsters attacking the player and the player shooting monsters, its retro-ish art style tends to reduce the impact of that violence.

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What's it about?

In PIXEL GEAR, the forces of darkness have descended upon the land, and now it's up to you and your trusty six-shooter to fend them off for good. Starting with a pistol that's equipped with unlimited ammo, players earn coins to unlock additional weapons, power‐ups, and ammo by collecting gold from defeated monsters. Unlockable weapons include submachine pistols, sniper rifles, and various other items for taking down level bosses. Don't get too trigger-happy, though. Innocent angels are roaming the countryside as well, and they're none too keen on getting caught in the crossfire. Blast your way through six stages of this arcade-style shooting gallery and try to claim your spot on the top of the game's leaderboards.

Is it any good?

This shooter could've been something really special, but it ends way too quickly to be more than a glorified demo. On the surface, it's got the makings of a great, fun VR experience. The game is visually impressive, with a distinct retro flavor and pixelated style that sets it apart from other games in the genre. The controls feel surprisingly natural and intuitive for a shooter. Outside of the occasional calibration issue, it's easy and comfortable to accurately aim and shoot at targets. It's hard to deny that Pixel Gear has all the makings of a great shooter -- for about 20 to 30 minutes. After that, everything just falls apart.

For starters, Pixel Gear is repetitive to a fault. Eventually, you stop feeling surprised by anything the game throws at you, and you just feel like you're going through the motions. Point, shoot. Point, shoot. Admittedly, the repetition would be more frustrating if you had to deal with it for any real length of time. There's no real time for that, though, as there are only six stages total in the game. These aren't particularly long stages either. You just fend off a few waves of enemies, fight a boss, wash, rinse, and repeat. If the game were any shorter, it would feel like a demo. In fact, as it stands, it almost feels like it's an episodic game. Unfortunately, that's not the case. Pixel Gear is a basic score-rush game given a VR coat of paint. With no real plot and no depth, it ends up feeling like an anemic version of something that had the potential to be amazing.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. How does the more immersive virtual reality environment affect the way we look at gaming violence? Also, how does art style affect the impact of the on-screen violence?

  • Talk about virtual reality. What are some ways that virtual reality can be used outside a gaming environment? What do you think the future holds for VR?

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