Life of Pixel Update: You Talked, We Listened

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Life of Pixel Update: You Talked, We Listened

Life of Pixel on PS Mobile

Although I have been developing games for a lot of years, our PS Mobile-exclusive title Life of Pixel was the first time I have had the opportunity to do a big update to one of the games I have worked on after release.

It has been fantastic to get the opportunity to revisit the game to fix a few issues that were present in the initial release, and to listen to feedback from those who downloaded Pixel v1. Twitter has been invaluable to keep in touch with those players and discuss issues and ideas for the update. In fact, I had such a great time working on the update I ended up adding in a lot more stuff than I originally planned!

Life of Pixel is an old-fashioned platform game with plenty of modern twists and puzzle elements. The star of the game is Pixel, a little green pixel who is tired of being part of the crowd. Luckily, he happens to live right next door to a videogame museum, so under the cover of darkness he sneaks in to take a look…

Life of Pixel on PS MobileLife of Pixel on PS Mobile

Players were not happy with the audio experience in the original game, so we now have a unique music track for each machine — plus brand new sound FX, created either with that hardware or via emulation. This has really helped to enhance the identity of each machine (eight in total, for 64 levels in the game) and we have plenty of catchy tunes now guaranteed to stick in your head.

We had a few errors with color palettes in the first release – for example we were using a couple of extra greys in the Amstrad CPC levels, which while giving some nice metal bits were completely wrong! For this update, I made sure every machine was only using accurate color palettes, and while I was at it I redid some of the tiles and backgrounds that I wasn’t completely satisfied with the first time around.

Life of Pixel can be hard – particularly the later levels – and we didn’t want to change this. But it could also be unfair at times – a prime example being ‘Leap of Faith’ jumps which ended with you landing on top of a beastie and dying. You had no idea where said beastie was, so these leaps relied on luck rather than skill.

Life of Pixel on PS Mobile

Life of Pixel on PS MobileLife of Pixel on PS Mobile

I went through every level, playing them over and over and tweaking the layout as needed. I am confident I have eliminated every unfair ‘luck’ based potential death. So while I didn’t try to make the levels particularly easier – they are now a fair test of skill, not chance.

We also managed to fix a few bugs and slowdown issues that were present in Pixel v1. Performance is now nice and solid, and we fixed a few other niggles. Oh – and we added a Restart level button!

I really enjoyed this bit – we added a new machine into the game; the Sega Master System. It’s unlocked after you collect all 64 special gems.

I had great fun creating the graphics for the Master System levels – I didn’t realise until I started that the SMS allowed a fair few more colors in sprites and tiles than the NES. Look out for nods to classic Master System titles like Shinobi, Wonder Boy, Sonic, Penguin Land, Bubble Bobble and more.

All in all, it’s a big update with plenty to offer existing and new players. As a developer/publisher it was a fantastic experience and a great opportunity that PSM allowed us to re-visit and improve our game. We are really pleased with the update and hope you will enjoy it.

Need more information on PlayStation Mobile? Want to know more about supported tablets and phones? Head here.

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23 Author Replies

  • This meht be worth my time.

  • 5 months later and still no weekly post about what is on PSM.

  • how do you update PS Mobile games?

  • What’s the price on this one? It’s one of the few PSM games that I’d spend money on. Although I’d be very happy if this one was part of that free PSM game program.

  • The game only costs $1.99 on the PlayStation Mobile store.

  • This game looks like something that I would really enjoy! Thanks for showcasing it on the PS Blog. It looks like the free $10 I got from Sony is already almost gone!

  • I’m curious as to the Playstation mobile titles.. Would this game run at the full screen resolution of the Playstation Vita, since the vita can play PSMobile games?

  • Trophies Sony, thats all playstation Mobile games need to become popular with playstation gamers, you add trophies to those games and you will see sales going up the very same day, if you dont believe me ask Naughty Dog, Incognito, Media Molecule, Evolution Studios lol

  • Can PSM get more posts on the Blog…like #2 said…a weekly post of some sort would be great.

    Also FYI I just bought this game, 3 minutes after reading this post!

  • I wish people would stop asking for trophies in PS Mobile games. Do you really need trophies in all games just to get you to buy them? If so that’s pretty sad. The games don’t cost that much money.

    As for this article, I’d like to know how to update Mobile games too. I don’t see anything on my Vita for doing it.

  • so what about a full psn release. i dont like ps moblie right now since its brooken features.

  • at 10 yes i expect all games published on the playstation store to have some sort of standard, i want psmobile games to get the same support as other playstation games.

    you can play the same quality of mobile games on other platforms for less money so if they want to have the upper hand when it comes to playstation users then bring something other platforms cant

  • and yes how about adding psmobile games to the same psvita game store? i think it would be easier to find them, its not that it is hard but sometimes we dont click that psmobile button.

  • at brian i dont think it just tropys. trophys are a huge part in playstation brand. not just that but the fact that you have to veify your copy periodically over times and the lack of online features is what holding back playstation moblie. sony need to addressed these issues for me to back playstation moblie.

  • I’ve been playing this on and off for the last couple days and I’ve really glad to hear about this update. Some of the deaths were super cheap, yeah. I don’t really know how they were designed that way in the first place, but I’m glad that they’re being fixed.

    So when does this update go live and how do I get it? Is it live now? Do I just redownload the game entirely? Will it patch automatically? Do I press the refresh button on the game’s little LiveSync page thingy? Will my save file carry over or do I have to start a new game?

    None of that was really clear in the post.

    • Richard Hill-Whittall

      Regarding updating – we are trying to clarify with Sony the exact process. We were advised to delete and then re-download BUT this kills your saves.

      I will post here once we have a definitive answer.

  • I just bought this game and like it so far. I just wanted to report that the restart touch button seems a little broken. Sometimes it restarts again after it’s already restart the level and other times it’s unresponsive.

  • @Bones00

    Yea it seems if you reset while in the dying animation it will reset the game again after it finishes.

    • Richard Hill-Whittall

      Doh! We missed that one during testing :(

      The button is a little small, we tried it larger but it started obscuring the game area.

  • I’ve enjoyed this game quite a bit. It’s great to see developers like you supporting and improving games. Thanks for keeping in contact with players. I’m looking forward to any other future projects. :)

    For those that haven’t played it, its one of the better PS Mobile games. If you like difficult, retro, Super Meatboy-esque platformers, it’s definitely worth your time.

    • Richard Hill-Whittall

      Thanks dude – glad your like Pixel. We’re currently working on a PSM shooter, and I’d like to do another platformer too.

  • This is awesome! I was assuming that PSM games wouldn’t have the ability to update/patch easily since they are missing that “refresh” icon that the other types of games (Vita native, minis, PSP) have.

    Can you describe how we can receive the update? Will Plus subscribers get the update automatically?

    Also will the non-emulated music assets be 320kbit/sec AAC or Ogg?

    Thanks so much for supporting your game. I’ll definitely remember this when you have new releases on PSx/Vita in the future!

    • Richard Hill-Whittall

      We’re currently trying to sort out with Sony the exact update process without nuking your save data, Will post once I have the info.

  • Awesome job on all the fixes and updates. Life of Pixel was already one of the better games on the PSM platform, now it may just be the best.

    Thanks for supporting the platform and, more importantly, the Vita. I sure wish SONY was supporting it, too…

  • I just wanted to say that after reading this blog post I immediately picked up my vita and purchased the game. These sorts of in-depth updates and listening to the user base needs to be rewarded- bravo to the Super Icon team. Also, thanks for putting out quality for the psvita.

    • Richard Hill-Whittall

      It was a pleasure :)

      I loved working on Pixel, and really glad to hear that people are enjoying playing it.

  • Nice improvements. I was pretty bummed out by the initial product’s performance issue. The fixes are welcomed, the additions are a good move. I might have to play through the whole game again.

    • Richard Hill-Whittall

      Well you get to hear the new music if you play through again – and you need to collect all 64 gems to unlock the SMS levels.

  • Awesome! I really enjoyed this game but was put off in the later levels by some of those luck-based jumps. Can’t wait to try it again.

    • Richard Hill-Whittall

      We tried to removed all the enemies that were in the path of those falls – so as long as you learn the level layout, you can do the leaps of faith without dropping onto a beastie.

  • Classic-style platformers rule. I love to see that they’re still being produced.

    Unfortunately, I won’t be able to play this game, as I don’t own any PlayStation Mobile compatible devices. :(

  • Nice update, Rich! It’s great to see that you took player feedback to heart, and used that to improve the game. I’ve only tried a few levels so far, but the new music and sound effects are great.

    There appears to be a bug in that the timer (for level completion) doesn’t stop while the game is paused. I was wondering why the completion time for one level was more than 8 minutes, and I believe that figure included the pause time (while I was on a phone call). It’s not a huge deal, since timing doesn’t affect scoring as far as I can tell, but I just figured I’d mention it.

    • Richard Hill-Whittall

      Oops! Completely missed that one when testing as I never paused the game really.

      I’ll note that down now to fix.

  • I must say after playing these PS mobile games they are very good to play in short burst.

  • I agree about trophies on these. It would make them much more relevant to gamers.

  • Get me Sega Genesis on there and I’ll be one happy camper.

    As for the update, would I have to re-download the game or do something in the live area screen? There’s nothing about an update on my Vita. Of course, this is assuming the update is live.

  • Alright checked the site and it has information on the update release. I’d suggest editing this post to reflect that.

  • PSM needs a HUGE update. Trophies and leaderboards and PSN integration are a MUST and should be considered very HIGH priority.

    More prominence on your site and everywhere else would go a long way too. C’mon guys, the link that you posted is not even up to date and ONLY contains the launch games.

    PSM games can’t even be found on sen web store. It’s embarrassing.

  • I would like to thank Super Icon for this update though, it’s not their fault Sony is completely incompetent.

    • Richard Hill-Whittall

      Thanks :)

      I’m hoping Sony will crack these usability issues as for us, doing the update was a great experience and a good way to listen to the players – so we want the actual update process for the player to be nice and easy, like iOS.

  • SpooNManX on February 27th, 2013 at 5:03 pm said:

    “I agree about trophies on these. It would make them much more relevant to TROPHY HUNTERS.”

    Fixed. :)

  • Bet acquisition at PSM ever. Guys the trophies aren’t “the thing” about PSM but would be good to increase the interest of players, I swear. ^^

  • great game … glad I grabbed it day 1 – as others have mentioned, there is no yellow arrow to update as regular Vita games have … so how does one update the game ? any info greatly appreciated … delete & redownload ? will we lose our levels ?

  • @kassatsu You’re right so I just quit using the restart button altogether.

  • This game looks perfect for the Vita! Add the fact that you put so much love into fixing previous issues makes this a more probable buy from me. :)

  • @ThreeLeggedFreak

    We try to give PSM games a bunch of coverage:

    There is even a weekly post which lists the new games, patches, and price drops:

  • This is one of my favorite PS Mobile games.

    @20: Sony does support it. You’re ignorance is not evidence to the contrary.

    @12: Odd, because my iPod doesn’t have any buttons. That alone makes games like this one and Super Crate Box infinitely better. Games that are touch only? Yeah, they should probably stick to being the same price as elsewhere short of PS specific features like cross save (way more important than arbitrary trophies, coming from someone who likes trophies), leaderboards, etc.

  • there are some very good psm titles.. but if you add trophies.. i will buy more of them :)

  • I saw this post earlier today… Bought it, then played until 3AM. I’m all the way to Master System 6 now. Darn addictive games…

  • Just in case anyone out there is still on the fence with this one, I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a copy of my Life of Pixel user-review that I posted on Metacritic a while back.

    [Due to Playstation Blog’s 1,250 character restriction, I’ll post it as a separate comment].

  • PART 1:

    This really rather fabulous retro delicacy is far too good (and far too cheap for that matter) to miss. So please, once you’re done reading this mini review, fire up your Vita (or ‘Playstation certified device’), head over to the Playstation Mobile store, and download Life of Pixel without delay. Once you’ve sampled it’s frankly wonderful wares, you’ll no doubt concur that Life of Pixel is a genuinely unique retro-flavoured affair. Where pretty much every other pixel art scroller out there endeavours to look, feel and play like *a* console from yesteryear, what makes Super Icon’s labour of love so very special, is that their game looks, feels and plays like EIGHT of yesteryears most celebrated and adored nostalgia-boxes. Yup, Life of Pixel takes protagonist ‘Pixel’ on a journey that kicks things off with a bunch of levels that beautifully mimc the Sinclair ZX81 (my first ever computer!), passes through the likes of Atari 2600 and Commadore 64, before finally rounding things off with Nintendo’s NES. And wow, what a journey it is…

  • PART 2:

    Each generation contains eight levels that not only look just like they were plucked from the machine they represent, with old skool difficulty (i.e. properly difficult), they feel absolutely like them too. And you know what, with the possible exception of Super Crate Box, I can’t think of a better Playstation Mobile title with which to hone ones platforming skills. And the good news doesn’t end there, because this charming little slice of pure nostalgia will only set you back a meagre £1.59 (that’s $1.99 US). I know right!! For that ridiculously low – back of the sofa, loose change – price of entry, Life of Pixel rewards you with 64 uber-addictive levels, beautiful retro aesthetics, and joyful chiptune sounds, with a free history lesson thrown in for good measure. If you haven’t yet download Life of Pixel, I urge you to do so now. Considering the price, is there really any accuse not to. Enjoy!

    8 out of 10.

    • Richard Hill-Whittall

      Thanks Aces High – I really appreciate the review and positive feedback. Hopefully we’ll have an answer on the update process by Monday so everyone can get the update up and running.

  • Thank you for the patch, you guys just improved any criticism that I had for the game. I can’t wait to try it out.

    The PlayStation Mobile games, and this one in particular have been very fun and affordable experiences on the Vita. Sony really needs to push this, with weekly blog posts dedicated to the Mobile games and having them highlighted on the store some how.

    • Richard Hill-Whittall

      Cheers Gman :)

      Yep – would be good to see more of a push for PSM, hopefully the more titles there are the more Sony will promote it.

  • After finishing 71 levels of this game…

    9-8 needs checkpoints. At least 6 rooms of this difficulty, and you have to go all the way to the beginning with a slight misstep? I think I’m not going to get 100% on this game.

  • I was so thrilled to read all the great work you did to update this already awesome game, that i just erased the game to download it again…. I will replay all what i played already, with brand new music….Cants wait


    Amazing game, cant wait to see your shooter

    • Richard Hill-Whittall


      Loving this :)

      And thanks for the kind words.

  • Could anyone possibly shed some light as to how to go about downloading this update? There’s no notifications (or pending updates) on my Vita regarding any update!? I bought the game on the EU store – if that makes any difference?!?

    Thanks in advance guys!

  • wen are there going to be more free psm games

  • @47
    We’re not. If you didn’t read the blogs posts before about which games were free for the 6 weeks, you’d know.

  • Thanks Richard, I avoided this to begin with because of a review at a site I often go to, but it seems that you’ve addressed all the issues in the update. I just picked it up and am having a wonderful time on it. All the memories of past gaming systems. :) Goodluck on your next project.

    • Richard Hill-Whittall

      Yep – we had a couple of bad reviews at first, but I’m really pleased they have taken the time to try the update and have posted updates to their original reviews.

      It was great to get criticism like that and be able to act upon it and create the patch.

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