'Pid' shows how it's adding variety to its gravity beam gameplay

New details on the 2.5D platformer from the creators of Bionic Commando: Rearmed.

When Swedish developer Might and Delight announced Pid — and pretty much every time it's shown the game since — the message has been clear: you can control gravity. In a limited sense, anyway. It's a 2.5D platformer where main character Kurt can throw energy balls, and wherever they stick they create gravity beams pushing outwards. Kurt uses these to navigate, mess with enemies, and set up creative ways to attack.

At a press demonstration this week, public relations reps for the game showed the next layer of how players will be able to interact with these beams and add variety to the game.

First up are items that you can collect and purchase at vending machines along the way. The Music box, for instance, freezes enemies in place while a song plays, the Burst beam sets off an explosion on the ground to shoot you straight up, the Timed bomb counts down from three before exploding, and the Smoke bomb creates cover for you to pass by enemies unnoticed.

Essentially, it looks like the developers have decided that rather than create a game with multiple primary abilities, they wanted to stick with one main ability and build a bunch of options around it. Such as sending an enemy up one gravity beam, to connect to a horizontal beam, to fall onto a bed of spikes. Or sending a Timed bomb up a gravity beam to explode when it reaches an enemy atop a ledge.

The difficulty seems less about figuring out what you need to do to progress, and more about executing platforming challenges.

The difficulty seems less about figuring out what you need to do to progress, and more about executing platforming challenges. Occasionally it's both, but over the course of watching the game for about an hour, it leaned much more to the platformer side of the "puzzle/platforner" title that people tend to slap on this kind of game.

In addition to the items, the PR reps revealed environmental ways of using the gravity beams. In one stage called, appropriately, "Stages," you go through a series of theater sets and need to avoid spotlights by walking carefully, lifting enemies up, and moving light fixtures. In another area, you find yourself in low gravity in space and the game's physics change.

Occasionally, the game will also mix gravity mechanics into something resembling a light adventure game-style puzzle. In one area in Stages, you walk into a theater behind a row of people sitting in chairs, and use clues to target a specific person — looking for someone who's tall but not the tallest, fidgety, etc. Then to solve the scene, you drop a gravity beam under the correct person's chair to lift them up.

According to the PR reps, scenes like this won't be common — the intent is to keep 'story' sequences to a minimum — but the game will have short scenes like this to vary the pacing.

Pid is scheduled for release on Xbox Live Arcade in September/October.

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