Review: PixelJunk Monsters Deluxe
Release Date: October 1st, 2009
Players: 1-2 adhoc & infrastructure with up to four players per chat room
What I liked:
- A great amount of new content and restructuring of old levels.
- Addictive, fun gameplay.
- New camera for the PSP version feels “right,” moreso than the map-level view on the PS3.
- Nice unlockables and great online support.
What I disliked:
- Knowing what you unlocked after earning medals can be confusing.
- Despite three different difficulty levels users might find even casual to be a significant challenge.
- The unlockable PSP theme is missing icons present in the latest firmware.
PixelJunk Monsters Deluxe had a lot going against it for its October 1st launch… there was a huge amount of games coming out that day (for release on the PSPGO launch) and the $20 pricetag threw some people for a loop, as it was more expensive than the PS3 game and expansion combined (despite the extra content the PSP version offers). Also another tower defense game, Fieldrunners, was cheaper and had more attention as a Minis title.
Too bad, because this is easily the best PSP title available on the PS Store. The objective is simple: protect your villagers from monsters by building towers out of trees along the field. Build air units to tear down flying enemies, and ground units to blow up the crawly critters. Towers eventually upgrade in a number of better areas (power, range, speed of attacks, etc.) by destroying enemies, through gems collected from dead enemies, or by the user dancing at the tower base. Your little guy runs around the map, collecting coins to build more towers and gems to research new towers and build them before more monsters come.
It’s an incredible amount of fun, and for some reason PJM feels better on the PSP than on the PS3. Maybe it’s due to the quick blasts of play (though levels usually last from 10-20 minutes apiece, and you will fail the first time) or the new camera that zooms in on your character, creating a bit more connection to the user with the little guy than on the PS3, which simply shows the whole map with no camera whatsoever.
For PS3 vets, this has a whole new island with two new towers (both of which add a significant amount of new strategy), new monsters (which are shuffled in the old islands and levels), all the content of the expansion pack (Encore), a new unlockable progression system (the fire tower, one that let me beat a ton of levels in the first island, is now locked away instead of readily available which significantly changes the dynamics of play in the first two dozen levels you’ll play), new unlockable content like themes and music, and finally a new infrastructure section that allows you to play online, a first for the PixelJunk series. It’s a shame the unlockable theme is a bit old as its missing a few new icons, creating question marks in their place and not looking all that great, but the other content is great and worth going for. I had a blast with this game, and I can’t recommend it enough for players who want a fresh challenge even if you played both Monster games… and believe me, this game is plenty challenging.
This game was purchased for review purposes.