Brixity Review: Road Work Ahead

Not exactly bricked up for this one.
Edited by Kristi Jimenez

Brixity, the new game from Cookie Run juggernauts Devsisters, begins the wobbly first steps of breaking new ground for the team. It’s an entirely different genre and universe than the popular bakery IP, but the zippy art style and wry backstory that’s become a Devsisters trademark hovers at a distance. Without ample time and care, an overcomplicated monetization scheme and well-intentioned gamble on user-generated content threatens to bring the whole enterprise crashing down in a crowded sandbox city builder marketplace. Mobile-only availability doesn’t spare Brixity from the genre’s more traditional hangups.

Related: Go Go Town! Impressions: Be Your Own Tourist Trap

Solid Foundations

An overhead view of the city, with a 3 minute and 53 second cooldown timer on display.
Screenshot by Taylor Hicklen.

Brixity’s opening tutorial charms. Humanity has been extinct for 500 years, and the Pipos—cute blocky people with expressive facial features and bodies that have pleasantly rounded corners—have made it their mission to pick through our post-apocalyptic detritus and restore planets to their pre-wasteland glory.

The story pairs you up with a Pipo named Cosmo—who isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed—at the space academy while you both learn the ropes. Cosmo’s lack of a brain doesn’t stop your ship from landing on the now-desolate Earth, but it does teach you a valuable lesson about unchecked egotism. One that Cosmo is doomed to repeat without your immediate intervention.

Brixity counterbalances the tongue-in-cheek gravitas of its premise with a soft-edged style. Pipos putter along at a leisurely pace, chirping snippets of dialogue. The titular Brix snap into place with a pleasant click during assembly. Rough outlines of a slow-paced city builder peek through.

The game shows off a bright color palette with a mix of sharp edges and curves, somewhere between the unvarnished voxels of Minecraft and the vectored detail of Islanders. 3D objects feel soft and deliberate, not just blocky approximations. Edges are crisped and details smoothed with a hierarchy of inclined planes and rounded rectangles.

Modern Amenities

The user pauses on step four of assembling a building with a green roof and bright yellow siding.
Screenshot by Taylor Hicklen.

Brixity’s second major pillar, user-created content, shows early promise. After the tutorial guides you through a few preset buildings, Brixity tasks you with creating your own structure. Prefabricated constructions reduce the process to carefully defined steps and dragging select Brix into place, but creator mode is only limited by build space and materials.

You can pinch, zoom, and use control buttons to rotate the 3D space, but I (admittedly a 32-year-old man) relied heavily on the preset buttons, not trusting my fingers to do the job. These onscreen shortcuts add welcome accessibility alternatives to multi-touch gestures. Brixity follows the Dragon Quest Builders ethos: if it has a door, walls, and windows, that’s a house. Despite my lackluster results, the free-form construction tools absolutely impressed.

More talented souls have already flourished within Brixity’s creative ecosystem. Dive into the creator marketplace to find blueprints for everything from vine-strewn treehouses to roadside attractions. More elaborate constructions require in-game missions to earn the build space to make them, but there are more than enough creations that use the base 3-by-3 set.

This user-centered approach has a fair share of risks. Media Molecule’s Dreams persisted in spite of steep moderation challenges, but their investment wasn’t enough to stop the market forces of an antsy parent company and a dwindling player base. Time will tell if Devsisters have shored up enough authored content and careful moderation to weather these pitfalls, but early impressions are optimistic.

Load-Bearing Drywall

Brixity's staff board for commercial buildings, showing the Pipos working there and the Coins it produces every day.
Screenshot by Taylor Hicklen.

Friction between narrative whimsy and the modern mobile game marketplace hums in the background. Clean-up bots cost in-game currency and have cooldown timers attached, requiring a tap to start and finish their tasks. Soon after, the game teaches you how to assign Pipos to commercial buildings and match traits to maximize their output.

Gentle early tutorials devolve into a snarl of currency systems. Paid membership options, a two-tier rewards pass, and random pulls for Pipo and Brix fill in the edges of your peaceful diorama. Even wandering around other players’ cities and luring special Pipos home are tied to in game currency. Brixity rewards rating and reviewing user creations, but can’t quite shake the feeling of priming you for the content treadmill.

Brixity’s world never feels alive without some digging. Even Devsisters’ signature character descriptions are buried in submenus and poorly signposted. Cars bumble back and forth along your roads in fixed patterns. Objects faintly glimmer beyond the arid, dusty edges of desolate sand. Pipos bobble to and fro. The world ceases to exist beyond your input, waiting for a tap or menu command. Only by assigning clean up bots to new patches of earth or starting the timer on your next building’s construction does Brixity spring to action.

There is no box, only sand. A sandbox implies play, a space to grow and build, but Brixity just supplies the materials. No ecosystems to contend with, no geographical formations looming at the edge of the city. Day fades into night, but little else signals the passing of time.

Fixer-Upper

The front page of the Brixity marketplaces, with side panels labeled Featured, Daily, Themes, Activities, Games, and Letters.
Screenshot by Taylor Hicklen.

It’s difficult to wholeheartedly recommend Brixity when more focused sandbox city builders like Dragon Quest Builders, Minecraft, and Lego Bricktales are on every platform, mobile and console alike. At its worst, Brixity feels like a cute diorama that asks you for time and money, somewhere in the queasy space between Tomodachi Life and Dreams. The creator marketplace tells an entirely different story. Hopefully with more time and care, Devsisters can bring the game closer to the wild creativity of their userbase, somewhere less tethered by artificial constraints and sales funnels.

Press SPACE to jump reviews 6

Okay

ProsCons
Tongue-in-cheek narrativeLayers of energy and currency systems
Charming art and sound designLess focused than other sandbox city builders
Intuitive freeform buildingCompeting priorities
Lively user-generated contentWorld feels somewhat lifeless

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Taylor Hicklen
Taylor Hicklen

Taylor is Press SPACE to Jump's community lead. He likes midrange JRPGs, fighting games, and Dicey Dungeons. Bonus points if there are good fonts. To contact him about your game or other professional inquiries, you can email him at pstjtaylor@proton.me.

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