PixelJunk Shooter – The PS3 Attitude Review
This time your mission is to fly a spacecraft into a series of challenging cave and canyons blasting enemies and solving puzzles along the way. Armed to the teeth with lasers and missiles, you can also find ways to use the indigenous lava and water to your destructive purpose.
The question on all our lips; is this the best PixelJunk game yet?
From the second you load PixelJunk Shooter (PJS), you’ll be drawn into a gorgeous colourful world. Yes, the game shares a similar concept to the excellent recently released ‘Gravity Crash’, but PJS stands out with a unique almost ‘hand drawn’ art style that is as distinctive as it is cool. Everything about this game drips quality and feels like a crack team of obsessive detail troopers have blitzed it beyond the norm. Q-Games have a potential classic on their hands here and have not been rushed any old ‘junk’. You can almost feel the hours of play testing that must have gone into making it a sublime playing experience.
PJS controls like a dream too – a simple left stick movement control with right stick shooting direction feels second nature in seconds. You fire with R1 or R2 whilst the L1 or L2 triggers send out a multipurpose arm which can grab diamonds from the walls, pick up stranded allies or manipulate a giant sponge which allows you move water from one place to another. As you progress there are docking stations which upgrade your weapons with each having various effects against the elements and enemies who stand in your way.
The difficulty level is finely balanced between achievable accomplishments and tricky just out of reach goals. There are some nicely weighted trophies to work towards, too. The trophies are by far the most forgiving of any PixelJunk game to date, but are still no push over.
Gameplay will see you blasting destructible rock walls with your laser fire to make new pathways and allow lava or water to flow into new areas. Heat is your enemy and lava will melt you after ripping off your shields if you venture too close. There are also enemy lava guns and platform game style lava ‘drips’ which you’ll need to navigate too. Instead of picking up health packs or anything so crude, here if you’re pushing the edge of your heat capacity, simply back away from the heat source or take a plunge into some cooling water and you’ll be on your way.
There are numerous other perils ranging from giant bat like creatures, gun emplacements and enemy ships. As the environments become ever more hostile with volcanoes, flammable gas flows, you’ll gain access to element controlling suits which can shoot water or lava, and eventually actually survive a dip in the lava itself. The way the various components interact is part of the joy on offer here; there’s a delicious ‘sizzle’ as cold water comes into contact with red hot lava, creating new rock which can be blasted through with your laser fire.
The funky soundtrack is worthy of praise also with music, from Alex ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’ Paterson whose music really adds to the atmosphere.
Throw in some gorgeous two player co-op play and you’re in for hours of fun. Well, not that many ‘hours’ of fun in reality because the game can be romped through to completion by competent gamers in several sessions but the reason for this is that there is more shooter action to come. PSP remote play is also supported for those who want to take the game out on the road.
The replayability factor comes in when you review your performance. PixelJunk games are all about going back to improve on your best time and/or score, seeking out every last collectable crystal and making sure that you pick up all the stranded crewmen out there. Checking how you measure up against the rest of the PSN via the online leader boards is a compelling reason to return and look to tackle the 3 main areas, each made up of 5 stages, more effectively.
For £6.29 you won’t find a better virtual experience this side of Christmas. PixelJunk Shooter really is a genius work of art. It will appeal to those looking for pleasing shooting action, well designed puzzling and generally deep seated ‘fun’ games. Highly recommended, this is a quality title that will be the envy of other consoles – hats off to Q-Games. Roll on PJS DLC!