Everything about Pid screams subtlety, it really does. From the opening title screen, there is no flashy graphics or splash screens, just simple a simple downplayed menu. It is a theme that carries on throughout the game, emphasising on the little things, to guide you through the game.
Pid is about a young boy named Kurt, who after a bizarre event on a school bus, finds himself stranded on a strange planet. Kurt main objective is to get home, it’s all he wants to do. He will encounter many odd inhabitants on the planet, some willing to help, but others who will stand in his way.
Pid is essentially another puzzle platformer, but it does stand out from the crowd, using the mechanic of gravity to navigate the various areas Kurt will find himself in. Our protagonist finds himself in possession of an orb, that he is unable to remove from his person, no matter how hard he tries and which can be used to manipulate gravity via the beams the orb can project.
This mechanic is used in various ways, with the main being allowing Kurt to navigate to areas that would be unreachable without the gravity beams. Stepping into the beam will allow Kurt to travel in the direction it is facing. On the floor and he can jump in and travel upwards, on a wall and it can push him horizontally and on a slope diagonally. This becomes useful when trying to avoid the various traps littered throughout the world.
It’s not just the environment that is affected, the gravity beams can also be used to defeat the various enemies. Pushing them into traps, or even just forcing them out of the way. They can even be used in a more stealthy manner, by allowing Kurt to travel around an enemy undetected. In fact, the is actually a lot of choice when dealing with the enemies, allowing you to find the best way through.
It’s not just a case of using the beams anywhere and everywhere though. As in a game like Portal, there are certain surfaces where the beams cannot be placed, meaning you have to find other ways to navigate through, some enemies too are totally unaffected by the beams gravitations effects. Yet this isn’t random or hard to work out, as mentioned before Pid is about subtlety and colour plays a huge part of that.
If an enemy is coloured red, then they can be manipulated by gravity and manoeuvred or killed in one of the ways mentioned before. However if they are coloured in blue, then you will need to figure out other ways to dispose of them, or find a way past.
The visuals play a huge part in the experience thanks to the importance of colour and the hand painted look of the world mixes well with the characters making them really feel part of the scenery, you can easily spot the different enemy types, but they stand out as a totally separate entity, everything just feels natural.
There is more to Kurt’s arsenal than just the gravity beams too, he can pick up other weapons that will aid him on his journey, from basic bombs, which will destroy enemies and break down walls, to smoke bombs that will help Kurt stay hidden. It all fits in well and adds a decent amount of variety to the game.
However, despite the lush visuals and clever mechanics, there are times where the game does feel a bit repetitive and sadly a little dull. It’s not even that you reach a point in the game and just want it to end, there are just points where it feels like a section could have been written out, where you are just repeating something you have done a few minutes prior. It doesn’t quite ruin the experience, but it does come close at times. Which is a shame as on the whole Pid does deliver a fine experience and one that offers something different.
The game will take around eight to ten hours to complete on normal difficulty, but for those who want a sterner test and are willing to go through those tedious sections a second time, there is a hard mode, which is actually true to it’s word for once. Hard means hard, levels remain the same, but added to each or various other distractions designed purely to hinder your progress. Now whether you find this enjoyable or not, depends entirely on how much of an artificially added challenge you like, some will love it, other will hate it, but it is an option and added choice is always welcome.
Pid isn’t going to stand out as an all time classic of the generation, it won’t find itself mentioned in the same breath as a Limbo, or a Braid, but what it does, it does generally well. It is a fine game to pick up and play through, but despite its wonderful understated presentation, it isn’t one that will stay with you once finished.