PS3 Attitude’s 20 Days of PSN: #2 – PixelJunk Shooter
Tomorrow sees the end of our ’20 Days of PSN’ feature. Tune in then to discover the best PSN game, but today we can reveal the next best thing. It’s the marvellous PixelJunk Shooter from Q-Games. Read on to find out what makes PixelJunk Shooter worthy of such a lofty position.
The talented team at Q-Games have developed an excellent habit of producing unique and finely crafted gameplay experiences, ones that are only available on the PSN. Monsters made it into our list at #11, and Eden wasn’t far off in the end. Yet, even by Q-Games’ excellent standards, Shooter stands out as something special.
Its title is a little misleading. Your little ship is armed to the teeth, but this is definitely not a crude space shooter. Instead, it is an incredibly smart physics-based puzzler in which shooting is just one of the many tools that you use to manipulate the environment, as you bring a variety of elements into play against each other.
Set in a series of underground mining caves on an alien planet, Shooter has you conducting a rescue mission for stranded miners. Each section is broken down into a series of small levels, each with their own challenges. Miners are carefully placed next to hazards such as magma, ice blockades, gas vents etc., and it is up to you to lift them out of danger using your disproportionately large claw.
Before you can reach them, you have to get rid of the hazards. That could simply mean firing away at a wall to create an opening — a dangerous task itself, if you’re not careful about where you’re shooting — but more often than not it’ll involve playing around with various elements, as if the game was your very own chemistry set.
Magma pools, for example, can be solidified, before being broken down by gunfire, and to do this you have to sprinkle water over them. You will either have to ferry water over using a large sponge (if you have one) or you will need to manipulate the environment in a way that will allow a pool of water to come crashing down on to the magma .
Ice meanwhile can be melted by magma, while water spreads ice further. Gas pockets fill the map causing your ship to overheat; all the same, you can survive if you’re not exposed for long. Allow the gas to touch the magma, however, and you’re a goner. The place will ignite.
This complicated balance between the elements, aligned with incredible motion physics and smart placement, makes Shooter such a rewarding puzzler. Shooter is always reinventing itself too. You are constantly introduced to new challenges and new ways to overcome them as you delve deeper into the caverns.
The difficulty level is also finely pitched between achievable goals and “why am I not clever enough?” challenges. You don’t have to save every miner, or discover every hidden passage and item, so there is always a reason to come back and truly 100% the game.
It’s also a great game to look at, as are all PixelJunk games. The colourful palette is easy on the eye, and the fluid physics are simply incredible. The fluids move gracefully across the landscape and its simply stunning to behold. There is also a fantastically quirky soundtrack to accompany the lovely visuals and refined gameplay.
PixelJunk Shooter 2 is equally good and we could easily have opted for that instead. However, the first game was the one that drew us in. It was a refreshing title upon release, and it still is today. It’s a must buy for everyone.
#2 in our 20 Days of PSN goes to PixelJunk Shooter.