Review: PixelJunk Shooter

PixelJunk Shooter is the fourth game in the PlayStation Store exclusive series from Q-Games and despite it’s name is anything but a shooter. Before the game was released a contest was held for fans to come up with a name. Shooter ended up winning but doesn’t really describe the game. Although at first glance it may look like a classic twin stick shooter it’s actually much more then that. Perhaps PixelJunk Fluid Dynamics would be a more appropriate name, but that doesn’t  flow off the tongue quite as well, no pun intended.
You play as a small yellow spaceship tasked with saving trapped miners and scientists deep inside the plant. The game starts off simple enough, you shoot away some rocks, some enemies and pick up some miners with you handy dandy claw. Slowly the game begins to introduce you to it’s core gameplay element, fluids.  Again, it starts off slowly. Lava heats you up, water cools you down and when the two mix they turn into soft rock that can be shot away with your gun. It’s interesting to note that unlike normal twin stick shooters you only aim with the right stick, not shooting, shooting is controlled with the R1 button which works well since you want to avoid shooting the miners.
Also of interest is that the things you would expect to kill you, like running into walls, doesn’t damage you at all. Instead you have a “Heat” bar. It heats up as you get shot, get close to lava, or fly in steam. If the bar fills all the way up you begin to fall. You can save yourself by falling in water, but otherwise your restarting the level. Luckily you have unlimited lives, which you’ll most make good use of throughout some of of the ore difficult levels.
As the game goes on it introduces new things to you such as ice, steam and the ability to shoot lava or water which can be very fun. The puzzles ramp up in difficulty and their is the occasional boss battle but it all feels to short. While PixelJunk Monsters and Eden were both fairly lengthy experiences, considering the price, PixelJunk shooter feels likes it’s just getting going before it ends. You can tell their setting it up for the inevitable “Encore” expansion packs they’ve done for the last two games and it feels kinda dirty.
Even still the game is a fun romp with some cool technology behind it and if you’ve liked the previous PixelJunk games you’ll probably enjoy this one too.
Developer: Q-Games
Genre: It’s hard to classify. It’s a blend of twin-stick shooting and puzzles.
Time: The game isn’t too long but it’s fairly replayable and you’ll need to revisit each level to collect all the treasures and miners you accidentally killed.
Niggles: I can’t really say I have any. Besides the blatant set up for an expansion pack. The gameplay is solid, the music is catchy and the graphics are interesting.
Get it for the: The thing I like about this game is that it’s perfect for either a casual or hardcore gamer and can be enjoyed by either. Get it for style and unique gameplay mechanics. At $10 it’s a great value.


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