The Xbox Live Indie Games service is the perfect place for smaller studios to try out new ideas, and that’s exactly what Whisper Game Studios have done with Pie Collect. They came up with a frantic and addictive object collection game which requires fast reflexes and pinpoint accuracy, all around the theme of picnics and pies.
With Pie Collect the aim is simple: collect pies and avoid moving obstacles. Controlling a spherical, spaceship-looking character, you must use the right stick to move around and collect pies to bolster your score. Every time you collect one a small orb appears on the screen which bounces vertically or horizontally between the edges of the screen. Hitting one of these ends your game and means you’ll have to start over – this will be a regular occurrence until you get to grips with everything, but thankfully that doesn’t take long. As you progress the play area will eventually transform into a large mass of moving orbs and avoiding them is a real test of both strategy and reflexes.
You’re not completely on your own, however, as there are a few tricks and bonuses to give you a helping hand. First and foremost, the bottom portion of the screen is occupied by a large picnic blanket which you can retreat to without being hit, and is useful for taking refuge whilst planning your next move. Collectible bonuses also randomly appear during gameplay and contain everything from extra points, an orb removal tool and even a deployable picnic blanket to keep you safe out in the field. Unfortunately the arrival of these bonuses is often ill-timed; it’s possible to receive an orb removal tool at the beginning of the game when there are very few to remove. There’s also a speed boost available which allows you to zip around at increased speed – this speed boost depletes over time but can be replenished by collecting pies.
To keep you hooked you’re able to unlock new characters to play as by completing various challenges, and if you fancy collecting pies with friends you’ll be pleased to hear local multiplayer is supported; seeing this included is a nice touch as it is a feature often excluded from titles these days. All of this action takes place to space age synth music, with your character zipping around on various space-themed backdrops (which both change depending on the character you’re currently using). The audiovisual aspect is in keeping with the rest of game: simple, but quirky and a bit of fun.
Pie Collect is a neat little game when all is said and done; no more complicated than it needs to be with some solid gameplay to be had. There’s a fine line between addictive and frustrating play and whilst Pie Collect can sail dangerously close to the frustration side occasionally the experience, on the whole, is a fun and addictive one. At a bargain price of 80 Microsoft Points, Pie Collect is definitely worth a shot.
- Simple, addictive gameplay.
- Unique styling.
- Frustrating at times.