Review: PixelJunk Shooter 2
The PixelJunk series is what I consider the pinnacle of gaming on the PlayStation Network. The games, for the most part, are always great to look at, a blast to play and packed to the brim with features. PixelJunk Shooter 2, being a sequel and all, does this as well but this time Q-Games have raised the bar.
The story in Shooter 2 starts off right at the point we last left off at in Shooter, you being consumed by a giant enemy
crab worm. Finding your way through this worm will show off some of the new features added to the game. For one, there are some new fluids that can be either your ally or your enemy and like last time are always the key to solving a puzzle. Acid which emanates from the digestive walls of the beast will eat through your ship if you don’t get to water in time. There are also the dizzying digestive gasses which make your ship spin uncontrollably. These new fluids along with the ones from Shooter are used to create some really great puzzle elements which must be conquered in your playthrough. Like before there are also survivors and gems to collect. Thankfully it doesn’t seem to be as much as a grind as last game, which kept me from finishing some of the levels in Shooter. I pretty much just got enough to get to the final boss. I had no trouble progressing this time, and I actually went back after playing and got all of the gems.
You will be in for a change of pace after exiting the beast, as the PixelJunk series goes shmup (shoot’em up). The second world features brand new enemies which offer a bullet-hell gameplay experience. This all culminates in the second boss fight of the game, where you feel like you are playing something released by Rockin’ Android. I won’t spoil any boss fights in the review, but it was really a breath of fresh air for the series. Each of the bosses are truly diverse and use elements learned in each stage. The bosses also have character, something I don’t remember from any boss in Shooter. You will feel like a total asshole after beating the second boss, trust me. If you were wondering the music is once again handled by High Frequency Bandwidth. Every song seems tailor-fit for the moment you are playing. But if you want you could use the custom soundtrack feature, if you do that though you are off my friends list.
The final world brings a new mechanic to light, couldn’t help myself there. All of the levels in the world have areas that are shrouded in darkness. Your grappling hook will not work while you are in the dark so you will have to light it up if you wish to proceed to collect gems and survivors. This can be done in a number of ways, some of which include using the brand new Light Suit or fruit that bear seeds of light. While in the darkness you can be attacked by these smokey enemies which can only be removed from your ship by spinning while in a lit up area. Like Shooter before it, all of these levels can be experienced with a friend locally. And yes you can still be a dick with the Magma Suit, and that is half the fun… right?
If you thought Shooter was a bit short, you are not alone. It was one of the complaints that we had with it. It seems Q-Games noticed this as well and from playing through all the way, I definitely know that this game is longer than its predecessor. The final level in the game took me almost one hour to complete. But if you finish the Adventure mode quickly, why would you do that though as you would miss out on The Road To Dawn, Shooter 2 also comes with a Online Battle Mode.
The battles are broken up into Offense and Defense rounds. While on offense you have a zoomed in field of view and are invisible to the defensive player, that is until he gets you in his radar cone. Your objective is to collect as many of the survivors on the map and bring them into your base before you are destroyed by the other player. This game of cat and mouse is one of the most intense experiences I have had on the PlayStation Network, whether it be a retail game or downloadable. After each player gets two turns at offense and defense the match is over, if there is a tie you go into an extra frame where it is sudden death. When playing you can either choose to play with friends, unranked, or participate in league play. While in league play you can earn credits that you use to buy different weapons or power-ups for your ship. These can range from a Magma Ball all the way to Time warping and switching locations with the other players. You can only bring 3 into a match so you have to choose wisely. By advancing in the league you can unlock new maps to play on as well as earning more credits.
There are almost an endless amount of strategies you can devise while playing. Here is an example of one I used last night while playing with some of the Q-Games guys. I equipped myself with the Reverse Controls and Time Slip abilities, while my opponent had a Magma Ball. I was on defense so I had to try to stop him from getting the survivors. I used the Reverse Controls at the start of the round so he would have a hard time moving about and I could get over to his base quickly. Then when I got there he shot his Magma Ball destroying both of us. Luckily I had the Time Slip, so I used it and was brought back to life just in time to pick up his icon and end the turn. Stuff like this is what makes a game get a perfect rating on the site. The feeling you get after doing something like that is what I play games for in the first place.
I would without any doubt recommend this game to anyone that owns a PlayStation 3. The amount of replay value that you are getting for $9.99 is staggering. I have been playing this game nonstop since we got it and I don’t expect to let-up anytime soon. As I have said before, you will come for the single player but stay for the multiplayer. My one hope is that people will in fact stick around for it months after launch. I know I will be there and I hope you will too.
For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- New environments and fluids, especially the Bees
- The intense online matches and strategies used.
- Putting Proximity Mines in Eric's base
- Mini-games on credits and matchmaking screen
What I Dislike:
- Some people won't like the Hungry Suit
- Bullet-hell sections may be a bit tough for some players
- Shooting myself with a Magma Ball