Sometimes the best things in life also happen to be the most simple. Fish and chips on a soggy park-bench is hardly avant-garde dining, but its hard to beat. In a similar regard, Sanuk Games' quirky platformer, Pix'n Love Rush, is an unambitious treat. The former iOS darling is now available as a PlayStation Mini, and its worth every inch of your attention.
What's instantly recognisable about Pix'n Love Rush is the eye-poppingly attractive art-style. The game flits between a bunch of retro-inspired visual themes, from the Virtual Boy, to Game Boy, Game & Watch and others in-between. The graphics have a lovingly throw-back feel that tends to make on-lookers gravitate towards the action. "What's that you're playing?" they'll say as their pupils dilate to the infectious action on-screen. Perhaps most impressive is how good the game looks on PlayStation 3. Some Minis tend to look washed-out when blown up to the big-screen, but Pix'n Love Rush easily stacks up against full-blown PlayStation Network releases. It's evidence that a good art-style is all thats needed to craft a great looking game.
The sound too is gorgeous, if a little repetitive. Synths chirp and swoop into a contagious soundscape that will be swirling around your conscious for months — potentially against your will.
Above all though, Pix'n Love Rush is much more than just a pretty face. The gameplay — which is a cross between Doodle Jump and Super Mario — is pretty addictive. Split into three different modes, Pix'n Love's classic type is the most engaging. Available in 5-minute and infinite flavours, the objective is to collect as many '+' icons as possible, while avoiding the '-' tokens. Enemy bats also litter the stage, which you can fire at with projectiles. You have to be careful with your aim though, as the projectiles can easily come back and bonk you on the head. Did we mention that you play as a pixelated dinosaur thing? It's pretty rad. As your points multiply, you'll start to combo up your score, which is where the different visual styles come into play.
The classic mode is definitely the main attraction, but Sanuk's thrown in a couple of extra game types to hold your attention. Classic Rush is essentially Canabalt, in which you're solely in control of your sprinting dinosaur's jump. The objective is simple — don't miss a platform. It's harder than it sounds. The other game-type is On-Off Rush, which is a kind of puzzle game where the background frequently flips between day-and-night. Your task is to collect suns during the day and, well, yes, moons during the night. All of the game-types include local leaderboards and unique visual styles.
Pix'n Love Rush is unlikely to keep you hooked for several hours at a time, but as toilet material it is better than Andrex quilted tissue. And probably quite a bit cheaper too. Essential.
Pix'n Love Rush is available now from the PlayStation Store for £1.74 / $1.59. PlayStation Plus subscribers can grab it for free.