Pixel is the new shooter from Hero Interactive, the developers of the Bubble Tanks series, and it's a curious little game. The titular pixels serve quadruple duty as your health bar, your ammunition, an omnipresent collectible, and the shrapnel in countless explosions, but the graphics themselves are not pixel art. All the characters are rotation-friendly collections of shapes that only become pixels when you blow them up, as though they were hiding their identity under a shadowy disguise, and by killing them you expose their pixelly lifeblood in a detonation of truthfulness.
It is very easy to control Pixel: move with the mouse. Shoot with the mouse button. You lose a few points from your life counter when you fire, but that's a small price to pay for the chain-reaction fireworks that result from every successful hit. By collecting the pixels from explosions, you both fuel your life counter and send out even more deadly pixels that can set off yet more fireworks. With every particle leaving a fading trail behind it, and a nonsense level of particles on-screen at any given time, a random screenshot of the game looks like an abstract expressionist painting from Jackson Pollack or Sam Francis.
Because it's such a trifle to fill the screen with death, Pixel is pretty much a cakewalk, from a survival standpoint. The more enemies show up, the easier it is to annihilate them in seconds. The game breaks things up a bit with mini-bosses and a satisfying mob of tentacles at the very end, but none of it is very challenging. I was able to unlock all the extras in my first playthrough. Rather, this experience is about relaxing into Brian Hall's mesmerizing soundtrack and watching the pretty colors zoom around. It's terrific as a chill-out casual shooter, but if you need a game to push back a little, this is probably a one-time play for you. It really could use some harder difficulty settings. However, with several unlockable ships and background themes (including the health hazard "seizure"), Pixel is a nice place to visit when your secret raver itch needs to be scratched.