Pixel Privateers Is Like Squad-Based Borderlands

Illustration for article titled iPixel Privateers/i Is Like Squad-Based iBorderlands/i
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Do you like loot? Do you enjoy having so much loot that you don’t know what to do with it? Does the thought of drowning in a sea of loot, images of loved ones scrolling like a credits sequence as a laser gun digs deep into your esophagus, appeal to you? Then yeah, you should probably check out Pixel Privateers.

I’ve seen a lot of people comparing Pixel Privateers to games like Borderlands and Diablo, and it’s not hard to see why. The game, which has been hanging out in Steam’s top ten for the past couple days, describes itself as a “squad-based tactical loot-‘em-up.” Basically, you travel through space, jumping between planets and sending squads down to explore, run missions, and beat the stuffing out of a variety of exotic loot pinatas. Then you return to your ship, dress your vicious pixel people in the entrails of your enemies (which happen to be full suits of armor, generally), and jump back into the fray.

Here’s a video of all that in action:

Combat, you might have noticed, can be pretty easy. On normal, I found the first couple hours to be a cake walk. However, you can alter the difficulty on a per-planet basis, and there are tons of options—up to and including an iron man mode where squaddies who die don’t come back.


As you’re exploring, the game meters out bits of story, whether it’s cyborg aliens yelling at you for wrecking their ancient alien technology excavation (while their robot master scoffs and declares your efforts too little, too late) or an aptly named Stranger appearing on your ship’s deck to cryptically enlist your assistance. It’s not particularly novel, but there’s some fun dialogue, interesting faction dynamics, and plenty of humor. The setting is every sci-fi trope you can think of tossed into a blender, and also the blender is a cyborg alien who might be god because nanomachines.

After a few hours with Pixel Privateers, I’m digging it. The tutorial is a sadly necessary snooze, and there’s a bit too much rote loot/character management for my tastes, but at its heart Pixel Privateers is a compulsively playable, “one-more-planet” sort of game. It’s worth a look if your inner loot hoarder is feeling starved. And really, when isn’t it?

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Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.

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I really want to love this, just like I wanted to love Pixel Piracy. Pixel Piracy, from what I’m aware of, never got the polish it needed. It was cute as hell, but so janky and confusing.

If Pixel Privateers is different, that’s great. But from the gameplay posted, it looks too similar for me to be interested.