PixelJunk Shooter 2 – The PS3 Attitude Review
After the success of PixelJunk Shooter, Q-Games have tried to recreate it with a direct-sequel. Now we finally have our hands on PixelJunk Shooter 2, but does it continue what the original game started?
If you finished PixelJunk Shooter, then your jaw will no doubt have dropped at the ending of the game, and subsequently turned into a grin at the announcement of the sequel. While Q-Games originally intended the cliffhanger to be “tongue in cheek” new levels could have simply been released as an expansion pack, similar to their previous games. However, their first full-blown sequel shows just how popular the game really was.
You’ll be glad to know that Q-Games have only added to the whole gaming experience. The controls haven’t changed; the stunning 1080p/60fps graphics are still there and High Frequency Bandwidth return with a funky soundtrack.
However, the gameplay has been augmented with several new elements. In the first section of the game which takes place in the ‘Belly of the Beast’ (also giving the game its subtitle), you get to interact with the Beast’s stomach acid, which you wash off with water and turns into a gas which sends your ship in all directions.
There are also insect larvae, which you can either shoot to destroy, or spray water on to hatch. You can try shooting it, but it grows very fast, often filling an area if you forget about it. However, hatching the eggs temporarily fills the area with flying insects, which disrupts your aim and could mean the death of innocent survivors.
There are also new additions to the suits from the first game, including a “Hungry Suit” early on. Using this suit turns the game into a grid-based digging game, although you’ll be using gravity to ensure certain blocks fall the right way, so they don’t harm any survivors and squash the enemies instead. While it seems fun at first, the grid-based gameplay means you can only travel in horizontal and vertical lines, and compared to the free-flying in the rest of the game, the restriction of your movement can get annoying.
However, this lasts only for an early section of the game. Once you escape the beast, you’re back and flying in some familiar levels from the first game. The strange magnetic fluid from the first game returns, making for some fun with the anti-magnet suit.
New enemies also feature; mixing up the gameplay with some interesting challenges, which also build upon the ecosystem shown in the first game. Later levels play with light and dark; introducing new creatures, plants and suits, which give off light and become essential to your survival in the dark tunnels.
The entire game has also been stepped up in terms of difficulty. Where some people complained that the first game was too easy, they won’t be complaining any more. PixelJunk Shooter 2 is much more about survival this time around, with enemies trying to blast you to kingdom come. This change in direction does make the sequel feel much different to the more laid-back original, and can lead to some frustrating moments, especially in the dark levels where you can easily become overwhelmed. But it makes it all the sweeter when you finally make it through a particularly nasty level intact.
Surprisingly, Q-Games added an online multiplayer option, where you battle another ship and try to collect the most survivors. Twists in the gameplay make it an interesting kettle of fish, where you play ranked matches in order to unlock more weapons and gadgets. While unexpected, the online play is an exciting extension of the cooperative play, featured in both games, and adds to the game’s replay value.
If you wanted more of PixelJunk Shooter when you first finished it, then PixelJunk Shooter 2 certainly delivers. It successfully takes the elements from the first game and presents it in new ways, as well as adding to the gameplay without it feeling tacked-on. For a measly £6.29, this game is not only affordable, but great value for money and most importantly, it’s fun. This is what all PSN games should aim to be.