Review – Pixel Ripped 1995

The year 2019 was my personal “Year of PS VR”. It featured fantastic games like Tetris Effect, Moss, The Persistence, Firewall Zero Hour, Beat Saber, Astro Bot Rescue Team… and one small indie title: Pixel Ripped 1989. We are now in 2020, and the small São Paulo based studio, Arvore, is once again at it with that unexpected hit’s long awaited sequel, Pixel Ripped 1995.

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Dot! Ah-ah! Savior of the universe!

Nostalgia! Pixel Ripped 1995 is pure, pixelated, digital nostalgia. From the opening moments through the end credits, it wears this mantle unabashedly. From its world environments to its game environments, Pixel Ripped is 1995. I was fifteen when the 90’s started and every game reference included in here, every gaming locale recreated in VR, hit a warm and fuzzy chord.

You make your return as Dot, the hero of the first game. Unfortunately, Cyblin Lord also makes his own return to torment the pixelated land of Far-of-a-land and attempts to steal a Pixel Stone from a new time. So off you go, back to the game’s future in 1995, to grab the Pixel Stone before Cyblin Lord attains it. But when things don’t go exactly to plan, you must sync with exceptional 1995 gamer, David, to help save your world.

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Agreed… 1995 was extremely colorful.

And so begins your journey through some of the 90’s most influential games. Jumping between knock off homages of your favorite arcade and home console games from that era. Dot and David adventure through Zelda, platform through Sonic, brawl through Streets of Rage, and Metroidvania through, well, Metroid and Castlevania. Go ahead and toss in some Pit-Fighter just for good measure.

Dot’s and David’s world intertwine as both fight to help the other inside the digital and the real worlds. You will need to take on challenges from both in order to advance. The balancing of dual worlds is never as ingeniously done as it was with 1989, but it still can make for some difficult juggling; shooting objects to distract people or quickly shutting off your TV so you don’t wake up your mom.

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Who needs teraflops??

Whether playing as Dot or as David, the controls are rather simple. One button is mostly used to shoot, the other is mostly used to jump. Remember, in 1995, we didn’t have too many uses for fifteen buttons and triggers. The trickiest part is when going from David back to Dot, as you really need to make certain you put his hand back on the controller. Many of my deaths were because, after performing a move as David, I forgot to put my hand back on the buttons when controlling Dot.

Visually, Pixel Ripped 1995 is beautifully archaic and feels like it came straight from my childhood. It does capture the essence from a variety of games when styles really started branching out. Even its real world has a 90’s Jim Henson’s “Dinosaurs” sitcom feel to it. From its first polyphonic blip, boop, and note, you are along for the ride. The in-game music is spot on and the “real world” voice acting is appropriate enough for the style presented. As in, it’s cheesy and I love it.

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Yes… this was photorealism in the 90’s.

Pixel Ripped 1995 is a short game. I wouldn’t call it one of those stereotypical “VR experiences”, but the game is casually three hours in length, given how each of its six acts only last roughly thirty minutes, but the game isn’t about each short time spent inside its retro environments. Instead, the game IS its retro environments experienced as a whole. Even if you weren’t a 90’s kid, what Arvore has managed to create will still delight any gaming fan in general.

 

Graphics: 8.5

Beautifully archaic and nostalgic. It captures the essence from games of the era, even though they feature completely different styles.

Gameplay: 8.5

Simple controls, short adventure, and brief retro experiences may bother some, but they are all interweaved beautifully.

Sound: 9.0

From the first polyphonic note to the last, you will be transported way back to the 90’s.

Fun Factor: 10

Even if you weren’t a gaming kid/teen of the 90’s, what Arvore has tapped into will still delight any gaming fan in general out there.

Final Verdict: 9.0

Pixel Ripped 1995 is available now on PC and PS4.

Reviewed on PSVR.

A copy of Pixel Ripped 1995 was provided by the publisher.

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