Pid cranks along like clockwork. It returns to a time when games placed mechanics on a pedestal, and their exteriors were doused in bright colors. But any veteran of the classic platformer era knows the devilish mastery curve lying underneath.
Pid provides the tools to tinker with its 2D, sidescrolling palette. Bouncy protagonist Kurt can toss gravity emitters beside him to maneuver up and around obstacles, similar to Portal 2’s gravity beams. Drop one below to lift him up, stick a second one to a wall to push him in the opposite direction. Kurt loses much of his own mobility while inside a beam, surrendering him to careful gravity placement as he floats above in mid-air.
Gravity affects the world and its inhabitants too. Red-colored projectiles swerve off trajectory and enemies lift out of the way, directly into spikes, if aimed correctly.
Kurt can use two additional tools, chosen from a pool of about 14 different items, to deal with enemies and tricky environments. Bombs destroy the game’s robotic enemies with ease. Smoke bombs shroud Kurt from enemy spotlights sweeping across the level, allowing him freedom to run a short distance without being caught. In the level I played, about halfway through the game, I had the option of ducking between spotlights in the upper half — a harder route — or dealing with a slew of enemies below — a much simpler option.
The burst beam, my personal favorite, gave Kurt the ability to rocket forward in the opposite direction of its placement. Platforms high above lost their might, the entire level began to fall under Kurt’s superior leap, then deadly spikes started appearing underneath everything. Ouch.
Depending on the tool, Kurt’s journey can be fearlessly quick or carefully methodical as he makes his way through the Swedish, children toy-themed levels.
Pid’s influences run deep into gaming’s history, which is another way of saying it’s hard. Developer Might & Delight, made up of ex-GRIN developers, show their strength in creating a challenging platformer where death never feels cheap. It’ll be difficult making it through a level without a little trial-and-error. With the addition of Kurt’s tools, however, I could see experimenting with different combinations giving that process some flavor.
Pid launches itself on PC, Xbox Live Arcade, and PlatStation Network “next month,” according to Might & Delight. I’ve asked the company for an actual date, but have not heard back.