Might and Delight’s Pid is a beautiful PC puzzle-platformer that will appeal to your senses. Easy-to-learn controls and a captivating story make this title seem like a slam dunk. Pid feels retro; but unlike retro titles which tend to start easy and ramp their way up in difficulty (or those that are just outright punishing from the get-go), Pid is a bit odd in its uneven challenge structure. This lack of design direction might stand in the way of solid enjoyment for some. However, for those of us who have patience, it is easy to forgive, as Pid is a great game that is fun to play – as long as you know how to count to ten.
Pid puts you in the small shoes of a boy named Kurt, who falls asleep during his interplanetary bus commute. He wakes up on a planet that he doesn’t recognize and needs to find his way home. His initial contact with the inhabitants is pleasant enough, as they all seem nice; but his inquiries as to how to get home seem to get him nowhere most of the time; and from some of the answers that Kurt gathers, it becomes apparent that the journey will be a challenging one filled with enemies and traps.
Luckily, before he gets too far in his quest to get home, Kurt finds a strange orb that can control gravity, helping him balance the scales against his merciless adversaries. The device allows Kurt to activate beams of light that work against gravity: almost anything that touches these beams slowly travels along the path of the light, regardless of gravity. If the beam is initiated facing up, for instance, Kurt can step into it and travel upwards. If the beam source is tossed against a wall, Kurt will move in the opposite direction. These beams eventually run out of juice and disappear, but Kurt can summon up to a limit of two any time that he wants to. Conversely, he can also deactivate them, creating the potential to do some pretty creative things with the gravity orb.
Taking a breather.
Of course, having the orb just means that you will have to put it to good use as the game progresses. Difficult gravity-based puzzles stand in Kurt’s way, preventing an uneventful trip home. Adding further complication to this are some colour-based challenges. The beam can adhere to most surfaces and affect most objects – save those of the colour blue – blue enemies are unaffected by your trusty light beam and you cannot start a light beam on a blue surface. Thankfully, Kurt has access to various bombs that allow him to destroy most enemies, project himself high up in the air, and create smoke-screens. Vests are also available, allowing Kurt to take a greater amount of damage before he dies and re-spawns at one of the many generously-placed checkpoints.
Visually, the game is a treat; it is like a work of art with simple -yet beautiful- environments. The eyeball-pleasing sights are accompanied by dreamlike sounds and music. The haunting score of Pid is definitely something for the ears to behold. In a lot of ways, the music of Pid reminds me of Papo & Yo‘s soundtrack – where the music is more than just something that occurs in the background. Kudos to the musicians behind this awesome score. Weird voices accompany a lot of the characters – which is a good thing as it goes along with the art style of the game-play and the cut-scenes.
Pid, as wonderful as it is, is not without flaws. Given how precise your movements must be in some instances, there are some funny glitches that make you feel like Kurt’s feet are made out of sledgehammers and his hands are actually basketballs. These moments are short-lived; but after a good run, the last thing you need is to die a painful death because the game decided to be a prick to you. And, as I mentioned at the beginning, there is no gradual difficulty slope; it is more like a rocky path full of potholes. Depending on the reason why you’re playing (and your mood), this could be interpreted as challenging or annoying.
Managing to sneak up on Kurt like that is pretty amazing for such a big guy.
Pid is a great game full of atmosphere and great puzzles. At times it can be difficult, but moving the plot along will reveal a great story told on a rich canvas. Controls are easy to learn and the mechanics of game-play are straightforward. You can even play with a friend (local) – and this mode will have you relying on each other a great deal (unlike other games where you’ll repeatedly try and kill each other just for kicks).