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PixelShips is a horizontal scrolling shooter game developed by Kris Asick for the Windows platform. In it, players start out with one PixelShip (a small toy loosely resembling a fighter plane) and complete a variety of missions, their ultimate task being to collect all 160 known PixelShips and a secret one.
- When beginning a new file, pilots will be asked to choose a callsign, or account name, difficulty level (Easy, Medium, or Hard) and a ship. The pilot is given a choice between five ships, the Starfighter, Nemesis, Trigula, Pixstar and Shuttle Pod. Each of these ships have at least one upgraded version to work towards.
- After your file has been made, choosing it will bring up the campaign window. Here, you can choose one of the exactly 10,000 campaigns available, excluding campaign 0000. Each campaign has 10 individual and separate missions, with their own goals and objectives. Campaigns are sorted by difficulty by their first digit. If the first digit is a 0, it is the easiest type of campaign, and if the first digit is a 9, it is one of the most difficult. All of the other numbers are just for variation. Thus, while campaign 7235 will be harder than campaign 3640, campaigns 6243 and 6935 will not have notable differences in difficulty.
- There are two main ways to acquire new ships. Upgrading, and capturing.
Upgrading: While flying in a mission, destroying enemy droids, ships and collecting star power-ups will grant the ship you are piloting experience points. Once enough of these points have been collected, "Upgrade!" will flash in the lower-left corner of your flying area. After the mission has finished, highlighting your ship will yield a button with an up arrow and UG, for upgrade. Click this button to improve your ship. If you haven't collected enough experience to upgrade your ship by the end of the mission, highlighting your ship will reveal a fuzzy red/black/white box. The more white in the static of the box, the more experience and the closer you are to an upgrade. The more black in the static of the box, the less experience and further away you are from an upgrade. Some ships cannot be upgraded, and will show a red X after being flown in a mission.
Capturing: While flying in most missions, you will occasionally encounter another PixelShip. These ships will stop the scrolling of the screen, and a health bar will appear in blue in the upper-right corner of the screen. If you succeed in destroying the enemy ship, holding the vacuum button (shift by default) will catch the pixels left behind. Pixels will fade quickly, and every one is necessary to catch the ship. If every part of the ship is caught, you will add that ship to your collection, and will be able to fly it as soon as the opportunity to switch ships arises.