PS3 Attitude’s 20 Days of PSN – #11 PixelJunk Monsters
Any and all discussions concerning the tower defense experience on the PSN begin and end with Q-Game’s visually tranquil yet subtly complex, PixelJunk Monsters (PJM).
Although the nostalgia of Crystal Defenders, presentation of Savage Moon and innovative structure of Comet Crash present notable experiences by their own right, the title of ‘Best Tower Defense Game’ rests comfortably upon the mantle of Pixel Junk Monsters.
Released back in January of 2008, PJM was one of the first games to really impress consumers who at the time were still a bit unsure of the role downloadable titles would play in the industry’s future. If you remember, despite the success of the instant classic Super Stardust HD the early days of the PSN weren’t exactly brimming with fantastic stand alone titles whose relative value could rival that of a full retail game as is the case today.
What sets PixelJunk Monsters apart from the competition is its indomitable union of a low barrier to entry and surprisingly intricate layers of gameplay. New players, even those new to the genre as a whole, can jump into a level with relative ease while seasoned players looking for a challenge are seldom far from one.
The blueprint in place for tower defense gameplay is simple and honestly PJM doesn’t exactly do anything particularly ground-breaking. However the beauty of Monsters is in the execution of the minute. It may sound like a small notion but for the most part PixelJunk Monsters is infallibly fair. Towers and invading monsters alike perform consistently allowing strategy to remain the singular focus rather than the excruciating bewilderment of inconsistency.
Although the structure of PJM is inherently simple in this case its simplicity is a real strength. What the environments, enemies, towers, etc. lack in flair they more than make up for with a clean design. It’s as easy to tell an arrow tower from a mortar as it is to decipher a spider from fire-resistant troll. Furthermore the institution of colored flags to represent the level of each tower is a brilliant feature providing gamers with constant feedback concerning the state of their gauntlet. Effectively you can glance at a single screenshot to deduce the probability of success or failure.
PJM does well to avoid the major pitfalls that have befallen like titles before and since such as unbalanced enemies, the aforementioned functional issues, and haphazard difficulty spikes. Enemies are equitably balanced and provide enough of variety to keep your little Tiki man frantically scrambling about the forest leaving a cloud of dust in his wake.
At #11 PixelJunk Monsters is a must have for tower defense fans and one of the best downloadable games on the PSN. Making the fact that it utilizes only two buttons all the more impressive.
Capping off the top half of our list of the top 20 PSN games is PixelJunk Monsters.