Pid is nearly everything one could ask for it to be. An artful indie platformer, it arrives as something characteristically different from the standard indie fare. It trades in the typical existential dread for a bashful and altogether hopeful approach to the puzzle platformer. It’s a unique thing and released independently over XBLA, may never truly command the attention it deserves.
What’s special about Pid’s design is the central mechanic. Utilizing a Portal-type mechanic, youthful hero Kurt is able to project gravity beams onto surfaces and puzzle his way through pattern tests, with the aid of ancillary tools. While novel, this is also a point of contention for the title, as the mechanics never feel as cohesive as the art direction backing them.
The art captures a sense of childlike wonder, as Kurt, a boy lost on some unknown planet, must find his way to the bus stop and return home. It’s a simple story and is simply told. Aesthetically nostalgic, the world around Kurt glows with sharply designed backdrops and lifting music to match. It’s some wonderful art deserving of a better game to be placed around it.
Pid’s mechanical limitations are revealed in puzzle and boss battle segments. The task is exactly what’s expected to be done with a gravity beam. Kurt gravitates himself to the necessary object and sometimes throws a beam into the enemy’s head to make them burst. These sometimes provide random and frustrating difficulty spikes despite the soft exterior. Then ancillary tools are provided and further prove that the beams are simply too limited to fully sustain the title’s playing time.
There are enough good reasons to give Pid a download. Exemplary art and music alone willfully justify the purchase. The problem is there’s a less satisfactory design there to meet it and the game never proves as interesting or provocative as appearances let on. There is something special about Pid, it just doesn’t fully execute on all of its winning ideas.