Back in December when I interviewed Underground Pixel's visible head Kevin Drew we were promised more games for 2012. I learned from him all the hard work that goes into producing a game and assembling a team when you go for this radical retro style. After the Christmas-themed Holiday Havoc I was expecting more shots of arcade-inspired games with all their chunky pixels: once you get a taste you only want more! The indie studio is back with more chiptunes, more gameplay modes and some characters that will be very familiar to the iOS gamer.
Pastry Panic is an arcade high-score game where you help your little friend the green monster to clear all the bolts, nuts and springs that accidentally fall on the conveyor belts of a pastry factory. Our hungry hero — possibly Yoshi's cousin — will also take good care of the sweets and doughnuts as they come out of the oven. The master baker doesn't mind it as long as the metal scraps are removed from the line as quickly as possible.
The same premise comes with two modes that help to extend the game's replayability although they follow essentially the same rules. In Mad Dash you move around three conveyor belts trying to collect everything while in Tongue Tied you remain static in the centre trying to grab everything with your chamaleon-like tongue. Pastries eaten count towards your high-score, with a series of combinations to boost your numbers.
Some special pastries act as power ups and mess a bit the game as it ramps up in speed. Every now and then you get the chance to collect letters to form the word 'sweet', which may be a wink to the classic Tony Hawk 2 collecting the word 'skate'. Is this just me?
Appreciate the pixel
Digging in the menus you'll find the game's store where you can spend the game coins or unlock the extras with in-app-purchase. Underground Pixel has gone for hats as cosmetic additions to the game, one of my favourite ways to introduce payments within a game. I can see how the vanity items used by developer Rocketcat Games was a source of inspiration. I guess there is a big player group overlapping here and it's a decision I absolutely support. The cherry on the cake is the inclusion of the special guests Soosiz and Hurdle Turtle that can be unlocked as playable characters.
While I find the gameplay very basic, the most exciting part is to discover all the detail of its beautiful Retina pixel-perfect graphics and the references included. Those cupcakes, cookies and cinnamon rolls just get me in the retro mood!