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GC09; PSN hands-on with PixelJunk Shooter & Dead Nation

Submitted by on Tuesday, 25 August 2009No Comment

pixeljunk-shooterDespite GamesCom being ‘dead‘, we still have a lot of GC09 coverage to deliver for you, starting with our hands-on experience of two forthcoming PSN titles – PixelJunk Shooter and Dead Nation.

Whilst we all knew in advance about PixelJunk’s latest title, Dead Nation was one of a number of ‘quietly announced’ titles at GamesCom. So, how do they both play, and will you be wanting to spend your hard-earned cash of either of these games come launch day?

PixelJunk Shooter is a little like that old classic Lunar Lander, only with some really interesting extra game mechanics.

The object of the game is to control a small rocket-powered vehicle to rescue survivors trapped underground. The player can manipulate magma and water found in the environment in order to reach the survivors.

If magma and water combine, they turn into rock, which can be blasted away with your rockets.

By manipulating the magma and water, you can reach different parts of the level in order to rescue your comrades. If you drop water in the wrong place, you can drown a survivor. If you release magma in the wrong area – well, you get the picture.

What is really interesting is when you get too close to the magma, the heat of your ship builds to the point where it will malfunction, so you need to go take a dip in the water to cool down. Also, releasing magma into a falling stream means you can accidentally catch a globule of the stuff on your ship if you try to get clever and race through to the next point on the map, resulting in burning chaos.

The controls are effortless, which is really important with a game like this where you really need to know where you are and what direction you’re facing. Inertia and gravity all play their part.

As you attempt to rescue the survivors, the enemy will pop up in various guises and try to ruin your day, which is where your rockets come in. Pressing the fire button shoots off a quick volley of unguided missiles, whereas holding down the button sends of a heat-seeking mega-rocket instead.

As we got into the last demo level we were treated to a teaser of one of the bosses, a giant enemy crab! I hope the guys at Q-Games did that on purpose…

"I'm still going to melt all the cities of the world with hot magma" - Dr. Evil

"I'm still going to melt all the cities of the world with hot magma" - Dr. Evil

Dead Nation is one of those games we absolutely love here at Attitude Towers – a zombie game. Yep – we’re suckers for zombie here… always have been, always will.

So how does this title stack up against the likes of favourites like Burn Zombie Burn?

Dead Nation is a twin-stick shooter where you take on the undead masses using a range of guns and explosives.

As you trawl around the city, you’ll be faced with the type of zombies that really creep us out – the ones that can run. And they do – straight for you, and in numbers.

Thankfully, your weapons will smite them like a mighty smiter. You can choose to gun them down with a ‘weak’ gun that has unlimited ammo, a better machine gun that has limited bullets, grenades and mines. As you trek through the city-scape, smiting line after line of the undead, you can pop open the boot/trunk of abandoned cars to find health and weapon pickups.

The cars usefulness doesn’t end there, as destroying a car surrounded by zombies will result in multiple smitings all at once.

The control mechanism is good and generally works without fault, but we did find that on rare occasions it was hard to operate a switch or open a car. However, this seemed like just a simple sensitivity issue, and can be fixed in the final code.

The game is also insanely good looking, with awesome lighting effects and superb explosions, and has excellent sound too. The quality of this PSN title is there for all to see.

Dead Nation is great fun and we left with big, zombie-loving smiles on our faces as we moved on to the next hands-on session, details of which we’ll reveal real soon. Depending on how both of these titles are priced, we’d suggest you might want to make sure you have enough in your PS Store wallet to cover both games…