Published on June 29th, 2023 | by Gareth Newnham
Pixel Ripped 1978 Review (PSVR2)
Summary: Pixel Ripped 1978 is a fun look back to a special time in the world of gaming that is as irreverent as it is entertaining.
The third game in Avore’s Pixel ripped series sees hero Dot travel back to the Halcyon days of 1978, before the console crash, when gaming was still young, and impressionable, and Atari was king.
A spoof of sorts, Pixel Ripped 1978 is the kind of VR game that only really works as well as it does thanks to the PSVR2’s ability to immerse you fully within its world, within a world.
This time Dot has travelled back to the dawn of modern gaming to inhabit the body of Bug, a hardworking game developer working for Atari in 1978. Sat at her desk testing new games with her prototype two-button Atari joystick, Bug guides Dot through a side-scrolling platformer, unlocking new pathways and abilities for Dot to use when you hop back into the 3D gameworld.
It’s a great setup and one that uses VRs unique abilities to great effect. Sitting in the office using an Atari 4000 to test a game while you listen to your coworkers talk about classic games, while snacking on doughnuts and occasionally getting a random phone call is a surprisingly chill time packed full of Easter eggs and clever references to the early days of gaming.
It helps that Atari has decided to publish the game as it means there are plenty of fantastic references to classic Atari titles like Missile Command and Yar’s Revenge.
The jokes and references are also cleverly woven in a subtle and fun way instead of just ‘Remember that thing you liked? Look it’s that thing you liked.
The fairly simple story sees Dot once again battle the Cyblin Lord who has traveled back to the dawn of gaming so he can become the hero of all of the classic Atari games.
As Dot, you’ll quest through a series of levels based on classic Atari IP with that classic blocky feel of early 8-bit games, while on the hunt for energy crystals to fix rifts created by the Cyblin Lord and fix the timeline.
There’s a nice variety of lands to explore like a funky disco, creepy graveyards, and even an area reminiscent of an old-school RPG. Each is brimming with character and a pleasure to explore, with plenty of little offshoots and secrets to find including 40 Golden Atari cartridges tucked away in every nook and cranny.
Each is capped off with a wonderful boss fight set at pivotal moments in Bug’s creative journey to create Pixel Ripped that plays around with gameplay concepts from classics like Breakout and Donkey Kong as the Cyblin Lord begins to blur the lines between the game world and reality.
This is all backed by a great chiptune soundtrack and brilliant spacial audio work that really helps to make you feel a part of Dot and Bug’s world.
If you enjoyed previous entries in the series Pixel Ripped 1979 is easy to recommend. For the rest of us, especially those that get misty-eyed for the dawn of console gaming there’s certainly a lot to love about Pixel Ripped 1979, It’s a clever trip down memory lane, with sharp writing and a superb blend of gameplay styles and genres that shows the strengths of VR, even if you may want to tweak those comfort settings.