Pixel Heroes: Mega Byte & Magic – Review
Follow Genre: Turn-based RPG
Developer: The Bitfather, Screaming E! Studio
Publisher: Headup Games, Screaming E! Studio
Platform: Switch (Mega version), PC, PS4, Xbox One, Android, iOS (Byte version)
Tested on: Switch

Pixel Heroes: Mega Byte & Magic – Review

Site Score
Good: Well-written NPCs and great jokes
Bad: Barebones soundscape
User Score
(1 votes)
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Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Porting a mobile game to a console is always a tricky affair, given that the result tends to be a hit-or-miss experience. Despite technological strides being made, the design philosophy behind a mobile game tends to be geared towards pick-up-and-play gameplay, whereas a fully fleshed-out console release aims for lengthy play sessions. Pixel Heroes: Byte & Magic tries to find the middle ground, presenting players with micro-sized RPG action. The game originally saw release on mobile platforms but has since then been ported to a variety of platforms, with the latest iteration, titled Pixel Heroes: Mega Byte & Magic, now arriving on the Switch. Ever eager to delve into the world of swords and sorcery, we donned our robe and wizard hat and took an in-depth look at Pixel Heroes.


Rather than a single, overarching story, Pixel Heroes relies on a series of short campaign stories. While the plots themselves are standard fantasy fare, the game’s excellent writing more than makes up for this. The writers went for a satirical approach, riffing on fantasy tropes and clichés. The game makes references to things like The Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, and a lot of the humor reminded us of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series as well. If you’re a fan of fantasy and have a sense of humor, then Pixel Heroes is worth picking up just because it’s so delightfully written. We’ll refrain from spoiling any jokes here, but Pixel Heroes is filled to the brim with outlandish characters, deliberately terrible puns, and clever in-jokes. While the jokes didn’t have us crying with laughter, we did find ourselves almost constantly chuckling.


As you’d expect from a game with “pixel” in the title, Pixel Heroes employs a pixel-based art style. There is an undeniable charm to the visuals, although we did feel like the screen was cluttered at times due to the sheer amount of information that is conveyed to the player at any given time. The game only uses about a third of the screen to show the action, and while this fits the tiny party sprites and their enemies adequately, we would’ve perhaps liked a different approach. Sprites can be a bit messy as well. Certain characters probably could’ve benefited from less detail, simply because it’s difficult to see what they’re supposed to represent at times. Just take a look at the sprite on the outer right in the image above to see what we mean.


We weren’t all that impressed with Pixel Heroes’ soundscape, which uses very basic sound effects and 8-bit style music. The soundscape makes sense, because it fits the visuals, and we understand that the game’s audio wasn’t a priority. As is usually the case with mobile games, the developers were probably aware that the majority of the player base doesn’t turn on the sound while playing. This isn’t the case on consoles of course, and we understand the idea of sticking to the current soundscape given that it’s adequate enough.


Pixel Heroes provides players with randomly generated micro RPG adventures, making the game perfect for pick-up-and-play sessions. Because each playthrough is randomly generated (for the most part, at least), the game has a ton of replayability, even though each session follows the same template. At the start of a session, the player assembles a party of three adventurers, which then finds itself in a town. Here, the party can purchase gear and weaponry and talk to the townsfolk to be assigned sidequests. After completing a few of these, the party then sets out to the final dungeon in order to defeat the playthrough’s villain.

The road to the final dungeon presents the player with a series of random encounters which can be both beneficial and detrimental to the player, and much of this section of the game is choice-driven. Once the party arrives at their destination, Pixel Heroes really starts to shine: the final dungeon is presented as a series of rooms that -again, randomly- present the player with turn-based battles and of course plenty of loot and experience points. It all leads up to a final encounter with the dungeon boss, after which the credits roll. A typical playthrough shouldn’t take you all that long, but there still is plenty of fun and challenge to be had as the randomized nature of the game makes every playthrough feel different. We should point out that the player has very little control over where the party travels to -not that it ultimately matters as the encounters remain random, but it felt like an awkward design choice.

Of course, a lot of your success is determined by what you encounter, and luck can play a huge factor here. There will be times where playing through Pixel Heroes feels effortless whereas a subsequent run might have you struggle to get past the opening stages of the game. Likewise, while the game is fun for a session or two, we do recommend pacing your time with the game. The short length of a session means that you don’t have any real chance to connect with your party of intrepid adventurers. Although we were fans of the humorous writing, the game lacks the emotional depth needed to warrant multiple-hour play sessions.

The game was clearly designed with this mindset, as it’s incredibly simple to pick up and there isn’t a whole lot of depth to the mechanics. The latter shouldn’t discourage you from playing Pixel Heroes even if you’re a diehard RPG fan that loves min-maxing though. The sheer simplicity of the mechanics feels like a fresh breath of air simply because it’s so easy to get to grips with what makes the game tick. Nowadays, fully fleshed-out RPGs easily expect the player to pour dozens of hours into them but sometimes you simply want to scratch that RPG itch without being sucked into a game for hours on end, and Pixel Heroes provides the perfect opportunity to do so.

One thing that we have to address, of course, is that Pixel Heroes as it is presented here, is essentially still a port of a game available on mobile devices. Given that it’s almost 50% cheaper on Google Play, and that pretty much everyone has a device capable of running the game, we have to address the elephant in the room: should you even bother with the console version of Pixel Heroes instead of the mobile one? The answer is a surprisingly resounding yes. Not just because of the luxury of a bigger screen, but also having physical button inputs. Granted, there are ways to get a similar experience with the mobile version, by casting your screen and using a Bluetooth controller, but one edge the console version has is that you’re able to focus on the game without any distractions, such as social media notifications that pop up while you’re playing. This is something that plagues pretty much every mobile game, and Pixel Heroes is a game that truly shines when it has your full attention, more so than any other mobile game we’ve played. We’re not quite sure what the difference is between the Byte & Magic version on other platforms and the Mega Byte & Magic version on the Switch, but either way, this is a solid micro-sized RPG.


Pixel Heroes is the perfect example that a game can be both simple and great at the same time. It’s the perfect bite-sized pick-me-up for RPG fans from a gameplay perspective, with the fantastic writing being the icing on the cake. The simplistic mechanics, and seemingly endless replayability, make for a title that is a fantastic addition to your RPG library, albeit one that is best enjoyed in small chunks.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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Pixel Heroes: Mega Byte & Magic - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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