Pixel Heroes Byte & Magic (Review) Xbox One

Pixel Heroes Byte & Magic (Review) Xbox One
Review Score:

Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic by developer The BitFather is a highly addictive roguelike that harkens back to the early days of gaming (before Nintendo’s 8-bit NES, when the Apple II and Commodore 64 were considered the platforms of choice to game on). The landscape for game development was vastly different than it is today, and it was led by developers such as Epyx Games and SSI, to name a few. Games like Rogue (Epyx Games) and Questron (SSI) paved the way for the role-playing genre, and gaming has never been the same ever since. Pixel Heroes by The BitFather attempts to recapture the gameplay and style of these early 8-bit role-playing games, and the end result is a highly addictive, but simple roguelike that plays as good as it looks.

The character creation process is minimal at best, as the player can ‘hire’ three heroes from the game’s stable of characters. Like most RPGs, Pixel Heroes includes at least seven character classes: Huntsman; Rogue; Fighter; Barbarian; Warmage; Warrioress; and Priest, to name just a few. During the party creation process, the player can select each character and view their stats by pressing A button. From the ‘stats’ menu, the player can rename the character and even ‘hire’ them if satisfied.

Once a party has been formed, the player can leave the tavern and enter town, where they can obtain quests from specific NPCs (i.e. vendors, townsfolk, etc.). After obtaining at least one quest, the option to ‘leave’ town (which is located at the bottom-right of the screen) can be used to begin the adventure.

Pixel Heroes Byte & Magic

The gameplay is oddly reminiscent of the Apple II game Oregon Trail, as the player’s party automatically traverses the landscape until it encounters either an NPC, enemy or road block. When this happens, the player can choose to attack, interact or continue traveling depending on the scenario. This process is repeated until the player reaches the quest location.

The game’s dungeons are a bit of a misnomer since they can’t actually be explored. Each room contains an enemy encounter, and that’s about it. When these enemies are defeated, the player moves on to the next room. This process is repeated until the player encounters the boss, who is located at the end of the dungeon. If the player survives the encounter, they are sent back to town where they can obtain new quests; heal and/or resurrect party members by visiting the resident priest; and purchasing helpful items like health potions.

Pixel Heroes’ combat system is simple in its execution despite being turn-based. For starters, the player’s party stands prominently to the left of the screen, while the enemy occupies the far right. A large combat menu is located at the bottom of the screen. This menu screen shows the party’s health (HP) and skills. Each party member has four skills with only two visible at any given time. The secondary skill set can be accessed by selecting the ‘Items/Skills’ icon located below the main ‘Skills’ menu.

Pixel Heroes Byte & Magic

As the battle intensifies, the upper portion of the screen fills with animated explosions from spells; large slashes from melee-based weapons; and characters collapsing when killed. While the characters animate, they don’t actually move across the screen when they attack. The best example of this is Origin’s Ultima series for 8-bit computers; Pixel Heroes plays in a similar fashion.

Pixel Heroes isn’t your average roguelike. It may appear that way on the service, but what lies beneath its 8-bit graphics is a simple, but addictive roguelike that gamers of all skill levels can enjoy, newcomers and veterans alike. This game is definitely a feat in and of itself.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Xbox One
Developer: BitFather
Publisher: Heads Games
ESRB: T (Teen)
Price: $9.99

Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic Official Website: Here

Review Score
The 8-bit graphics invoke nostalgic memories of sitting in front a Commodore 64, playing games like Rogue and Questron.
A decent chiptune soundtrack plays throughout.
Pixel Heroes' combat system is simple and easy to understand.
Pixel Heroes is addictive, challenging and fun to play .
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