Pixel People is a new free to play game for the iPhone and iPad released on the 31st of January 2013 by Chillingo. It is an adventure and simulation game set in a space-like place called Utopia. In Pixel People, you are given the task of building a town in Utopia by constructing buildings and splicing clones into different pixel people so they can populate your town.
Basic game play
When you first start, a tutorial gets you acquainted with the basics of the game. You will learn how to construct a residential building so clones can get beamed to Utopia, and you'll discover how to splice clones into different pixel people. Specific pixel people are required to work in different buildings and your job is to splice the clones using different genes so they can take up jobs required in each building. A building also takes up a certain number of squares, and there are limited squares before you have to upgrade your town.
Constructing buildings, splicing clones into pixel people, and waiting for clones to arrive in Utopia all take time but the tutorial lets you speed that up. With the tutorial, it is very easy to get acquainted with the game and dive right into it. After the tutorial, it's up to you to decide what buildings to build and which pixel people to slice clones into.
The game uses two main currencies, coins and utopium. You can use coins to construct buildings, expand your town and buy roads and decorations. Coins are mainly earned from occupied buildings, which produce a set amount of coins every second. They are also produced randomly by trees.
Utopium is used to buy better buildings, such as residences that can house more clones per square. You can also use utopium to unlock formulas for creating specific pixel people, speed up waiting times, or to buy decorations that reduce the cost of upgrades, buildings, and time taken to do things in the game. Utopium is harder to obtain and you get them randomly from bonuses or by leveling up. You can also buy utopium with real money but if you manage your resources properly, you probably wouldn't need to buy utopium with cash.
Collect pixel people
There are 150 different pixel people you can discover in this game. Each pixel person wears a different set of clothing that lets you recognize what it does. For example, a Fire Fighter pixel person would be dressed in a yellow uniform with a red fire fighter hat.
I find it really interesting to see which combinations produce what pixel people. For instance, to get a Police Officer, you will need to splice a clone with two Sheriff genes. Your pixel people formulas are recorded in the game so you can easily refer to them again if you need to make the same pixel people. The number of pixel people you've unlocked are also displayed on the top of the screen. It makes me want to collect all of them just to get a 150/150 if not to see what they all look like.
Most of the time when you discover a new pixel person, a new building is also unlocked.
Buildings and extra functions
Buildings in Pixel People resemble those you can find in real life, such as police stations, hospitals, and fast food joints. Buildings produce coins for a certain amount of time, after which they must be clicked on again for them to start working. By constructing different buildings, you can also unlock extra functions and bonuses in the game. For example, building a nursery lets you plant trees, and a bank causes all your buildings to produce double the amount of coins when they are fully occupied. Because each building has a different pixel people requirement, you'll probably spend a lot of time trying to get each building fully occupied for the double coin bonus.
Trees and other bonuses
There are many kinds of trees but they all cost 1 utopium and can only be bought after you build a nursery. Trees are one of the few sources of utopium but they only produce utopium very rarely. A maximum of 25 utopium can be obtained daily from trees. Most of the time, trees will produce a random amount of coin.
A different bonus can be obtained from collecting hearts from residential buildings. When you collect 11 hearts, you get a random bonus such as 5,000 coins, 50,000 coins, 2 utopium or a random animal. As far as I know, animals don't really have a function. Once you collect an animal, it sometimes appears near any trees you've planted.
Pixel People keeps both beginner and experienced players happy
Besides the cute pixel people and the strangely addictive gameplay, what I really liked about Pixel People is how it makes it so easy for anyone to understand how to play. The initial tutorial, the hints that are shown as the game progresses, and the entire gaming experience seem to be purposefully designed to minimize player frustration. For example, gene combinations that will lead to new pixel person are highlighted so the player does not have to go through the entire list to find one that works. Buildings can also be moved around without penalty. Even if you find yourself with an ugly town halfway through the game because you've arranged your buildings haphazardly, you can still freely rearrange everything.
Other than being beginner-friendly, the game also has plenty of challenging elements that will keep everyone else engaged. As the game progresses, buildings will take a longer time to build, upgrades become more expensive, and you'll find yourself running out of space. You will have to plan your decorations, buildings, and clones properly so you can get bonuses to reduce cost, earn coin faster, and not have to wait a long time to be able to afford something.
Pixel People is a well-designed game that I've enjoyed very much and I'm sure many others will enjoy too. With its cute graphics, engaging gameplay, and hidden features to explore, this is a game that will easily keep you entertained for hours.