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smellyelite avatar 1:07 AM on 02.05.2008  (server time)
Pixel Junk Monsters Impressions

I scoured the Playstation Store for months looking for a game to purchase. There were some titles that piqued my interest-Calling All Cars, Flow, Super Stardust HD to name a few. Still, none of the offerings appealed to me strongly enough to justify a purchase. That is, until Pixel Junk Monsters arrived.

Pixel Junk Monsters is a simple game. You build a variety of towers to defend the base from your enemies. Building a tower is relatively painless. You unlock towers by collecting gems from fallen foes and purchasing the tower you want at the base while coins allow you to build the towers you unlock. To create your fortification, you go to a tree and press X to bring up a wheel that displays the towers you unlocked and select the tower of choice, provided you have enough coins to do so. You can also remove a tower to regain some coins to build other battlements, which is helpful in tight situations.

In theory, this all of this sounds simple. In practice, it is quite a feat. The game tends to throw a mixed bag of attackers at you in each level. Not only does this mean you must make decisions on the fly, but also balance the different types of towers at your disposal. Have too many cannon based towers, you say? Airborne enemies will cruise to your base unscathed. On the other hand, building too many anti-air towers will result in ground enemies will loving your pacifistic stand on the battlefield. With that said, balance and strategy are keys to holding a successful defensive position in this game.

The main problem I have with this game is that the difficulty revs up a little too quickly. I made short work of the tutorial stage and first level, but now find myself having trouble on the third stage. I think this would scare off many of the “casual” gamers out there. I mean, after all, don’t developers make shorter games like this with this group in mind? If the developers toned down the game just a bit more, it would be more accessible for the masses. As it stands, though, the game gets too difficult too fast.

For what it is, Pixel Junk Monsters is a breath of fresh air following the high profile titles of last quarter. There are some quirks, particularly the early increase in difficulty, but in the end, the game is a deep, enjoyable affair.

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