FAQ: Play Tips & Troubleshooting

Having trouble with a tricky level?  They Bleed Pixels not playing well with your computer? Tips and answers here!

Also Available on Playism: DRM Free + Steam Key

Play Tips

  • Play with a gamepad if possible. We support Xbox 360 and other XInput controllers automatically and there are several ways to hook up gamepads that use the older directInput standard.
  • Prefer ‘X’ for attack or using the d-pad instead of analogue? The controls can be customized in the options menu. Just keep in mind that the Xbox 360 controller has a notoriously dodgy d-pad.
  • Don’t try to get all the pages and achievements your first time through a level. Seriously! Just reaching the end will likely be challenge enough your first run through. 
  • If you’re stuck on a level try going back to an earlier one and search for pages or go for an achievement. You’ll probably be surprised by how much you've improved in skill!
  • Having trouble with the little squidies? Don’t forget your dash attack, slash up and charge down attacks. They’re each super effective in the right situation.
  • Having trouble with slippery surfaces? Remember you can still react quickly in the air. When you can, use your jump and double jump to quickly change direction.
  • Having trouble with double jumping after wall jumps? Make sure you’re first hitting jump then pushing away from the wall. Otherwise you will fall off it first and then use up your double jump early. There is a few frames of buffer to help but for some that isn't enough.
  • Take a break! They Bleed Pixels was never intended to be played in a single sitting. As with the classic games that inspired it you’ll often find your skills have improved when you come back to it.
  • If the controls feel slow or sluggish you’re probably not running the game at full speed. Check the troubleshooting section below for tips to speed up your frame rate on older or less powerful graphic cards.


Having issues running They Bleed Pixels? Check this list of tips. If you're still having trouble get in touch and we'll try to help you out.

Why can’t I use _____ controller with They Bleed Pixels?
Your controller probably only supports the old DirectInput standard.  In the last few years Microsoft has transitioned to a new standard called XInput which is supported by both PCs and the Xbox360. This standard includes the wired Xbox360 controller as well as Logitech’s F310 and other recent PC gamepads. Luckly there are several simple workarounds that will let you use a DirectInput gamepad with They Bleed Pixels (or any other XInput exclusive game). Here are a few:
x360cd -
xpadder - joy2key 
We do not recommend using Motioninjoy as it has known instability issues and can cause crashing on some systems.

The game is running slowly is there any way I can speed it up?
Yes here's a short list of things that may help. remember that all graphic cards are unique so you may need to experiment to find the right mix for your specific hardware setup.

  • Update your video drivers!
    Seriously this can make a huge difference! Do this before any of the other recommended steps.
  • Make sure you're using your laptops fastest video card.
    Many laptops come with both a high end and a low end (integrated) graphic card. Often listed as an Intel graphics card.  Check your settings and make sure the best card is running the game and it isn't using the integrated low end one.
  • Make sure your monitor is set to a refresh rate of at least 60hrz.
    They Bleed Pixels runs at a super smooth 60fps, but it can't do that if your monitor has been set to refresh at a slower rate. Laptops in particular are sometimes set to a lower refresh rates such as 40hz by default.
  • Turn effects and parallax off in the graphics options.
    They Bleed Pixels won't look as slick but you'll get a significant speed boost.
  • Turn vsync off.
    Turning vsync off will often help run the game at full speed at the cost of some motion smoothness. If turning off vsync doesn’t help, you may have your video card set to override TBP’s internal graphic settings and vsync is really still on! If you that might be happening...
  • How to tell if vsync is really really really off.
    You’ll be able to tell if vsync is really turned off by looking for visual tearing. This is pretty obvious in gameplay but also really obvious when the pages flip past in the menus, if the frames look choppy with some obvious horizontal shearing between the top and bottom  for the screen then vsync is definitely off.  If you have turned vsync off in the TBP options and you’re still seeing nice smooth pages without any visual artifacts then vsync is still on and your card is overriding TBP’s internal settings.  Check your graphic card settings in windows to fix this.
  • Try playing in windowed mode (or vice versa).
    Graphics hardware can be weird, some computers can run They Bleed Pixels faster in windowed mode, others in full screen. Try both and see what works best for you.
  • Make sure you're playing a legitimate copy of the game
    We have heard reports of pirated versions running slower compared to legitimate copies on some machines as well as exhibiting other buggy behaviour not in the original game. Also by running a pirated version you're missing out on any recent bug fixes, new features or content and the warm fuzzy feeling that you're helping fund our next game. 

The screen looks stretched, squished or is running in a little box in the corner.
Your graphic card is probably a little old and not set up to handle 720p resolution as a default. There is often a way to add 720p and fix this on older cards. For Nvidia cards go to the change resolution setting, select your display and hit customize under the resolution box. Check "720p, 1280x720 at 60Hz (32-bit)". If it isn't in the list click "Create Custom Resolution..." and add it. 

This next step may be optional but sometimes you have to do this just once, to prime the computer so it knows it can switch to 720p.  Switch your desktop resolution over to 720p, Then load They Bleed Pixels in full screen mode. If it isn't set to full screen, load it in windowed, turn off windowed, quite out and reload with it in full screen.  If you've gotten that to work and it's displaying properly you should be safe to quite out, switch back to your native resolution. Your graphic card will now know to make the switch on its own when your run the game next.

Also be sure you have your monitor aspect ratio settings correctly set up as the wrong monitor settings can have a similar effect.

I can play Big Name Fancy Pants Shooter 2017 and Urban AAA Mafia Man fine. Why can’t I play They Bleed Pixels on my system?
It could be for a number of reasons. AAA games have access to a team of programmers who can work to optimize there engine for a vast array of lower end graphic cards. The XNA framework used to build They Bleed Pixels also simply fails to support some cards out of the box for reasons known only to Microsoft. In general graphic cards are optimized to do the math needed for 3D games very very fast while 2D acceleration gets less attention.  As 2D games go They Bleed Pixels is actually pretty taxing, while it uses lots of low res pixel art assets, the game itself runs at 720p, 60fps with a ton of parallax layers in the background. Low end graphic cards in particular aren't really built with that sort of thing in mind.

We have a major update (The Crimson Update) in the works that will support a wider range of graphics cards as well as provide a bunch of new options to tweak performance. It will also support all gamepad standards not only Xinput. Look forward to it's release in the near future.

Followed all the instructions and still having trouble playing They Bleed Pixels? If you've tried everything and your still having trouble, give us a shout and we'll help you out.