Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: PixelJunk Shooter

7:00 PM on 12.10.2009 // Nick Chester

Kyoto-based developer Q-Games has found success on the PlayStation Network with its PixelJunk series, which uses simple gameplay premises and takes them in new directions. 

Its last title, PixelJunk Eden, ranks among my favorite games of 2008. Before then, I spent countless hours playing cooperative tower defense with my wife and PixelJunk Monsters

PixelJunk Shooter, which hits PSN today, easily continues this tradition of taking seemingly simple ideas and weaving them into a compelling and fun game experience. Hit the jump to see why you're probably going to want to go download PixelJunk Shooter


PixelJunk Shooter (PlayStation 3/PlayStation Network)
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Q-Games
Released: December 10, 2009
MSRP: $9.99

The gameplay premise of PixelJunk Shooter couldn't be more simple. With everything based on what's basically a 2D plane, picking up the controller and getting started couldn't be easier. The game has you moving your ship with the left analog stick, and rotating it with the right. Missiles are fired from the ship by simply pressing the R1 button, and holding it will charge a barrage of homing missiles. But the game isn't as simple as it appears on the surface -- it's not just about blasting baddies in subterranean caverns and tunnels. 

Spread throughout the game's areas are stranded workers, and it's your job to rescue these hazmat-suit-wearing scientists and other folk from the perils of these underground dungeons. Saving them is simple -- simply press L1 or L2 to grab survivors using your grappling hook. Of course, it's really not that easy, as beyond the dastardly creatures that infest the caves, you also have to deal with a variety of elements.

Early on in the game, you learn that it's not simply a matter of shooting through a level and quickly snapping up survivors. Pieces of walls must be blasted away to reveal new paths to survivors, or to release water, gas, or lava to allow access to even more areas.

PixelJunk Shooter starts off simple enough, by showing you how the different elements interact. You'll find that water mixed with lava will turn to destroyable rock, and later that lava will melt ice, or that gas (when touched by heat) is flammable. The water and lava splash liked you'd expect, with a fluid system that reacts realistically, making how they flow both exciting and completely unpredictable. Additionally, getting to close to lava can increase your heat meter, causing your ship to stop functioning; a dose of water will cool you right down. 

This elemental gameplay is truly what shapes PixelJunk Shooter, and as the game adds different tricks (in the form of things like the manipulatable, liquid-holding "Fluid Slug"), the game gets deeper and more challenging. The level design is such that it oftentimes feels like a puzzle -- "How can I release that lava to melt that ice without killing that survivor?" -- and while some of them can give you pause, it's never too challenging that it becomes overly frustrating. 

All the while you'll have to keep your eyes peeled for diamonds, sometimes in plain sight, and other times hidden in the environment. Despite the "Save the Survivors" objective (once no more survivors are in a level's area, a gate opens so you can move on), finding these jewels is actually an important objective as well. PixelJunk Shooter uses these gems as its currency to unlock the big boss levels, which adds a bit of replay value to the title, as you'll likely be going back to find treasures you missed.

The game is a bit on the "short" side; there are five stages in each of the game's three worlds, and each world features its own massive boss and clever boss battles. But considering the game's price, size, and quality, the length is almost a non-issue. 

The game can also be played cooperatively (local only), although the stages are identical to those you'd play on your own. Still, the ability to partner up on these levels -- like in PixelJunk Eden -- does makes them feel completely fresh. The main difference is that if one ship overheats or is destroyed, the other player can grapple them to safety or hold down the fort while they respawn.

In fact, I'd recommend playing it with someone -- putting your head together with a buddy to solve some of the game's conundrums is a great bonding experience. PixelJunk Shooter also supports remote play, so alternately, you can hide somewhere in your house and play the game on your PlayStation Portable where no one can see you. 

In terms of visuals and sound, PixelJunk Shooter (like the other games in the PixelJunk series) is brilliant in its simplicity. The game has a flat, almost cartoon-like look that, at first glance, may seem like a simple game you might be able to play in a Web browser. The game looks great running on a high-definition set, with basic color palette that pops, and a physics system applied to elements that gives this otherwise deceptively simple-looking game life. The game's soundtrack, by electronic duo High Frequency Bandwidth, is an odd collection of bleeps, bloops, and beats that is perfectly suited for Shooter's underground adventure. 

In the end there's very little wrong with PixelJunk Shooter, mostly due to the fact that it doesn't really try to do that much. Again, its straightforward design and accessibilty is really what makes it such a joy to play, keeping in the tradition of the PixelJunk series.

Sure, it doesn't quite have the same novel gameplay hook (or even the surprisingly artistic look and sound) of Q-Games' previous PSN effort, PixelJunk Eden. But PixelJunk Shooter is still an absolute blast (no pun intended) to play, with enough charm and originality to make it another strong addition to Sony's already solid downloadable game library. 

Score: 8.5 -- Great (8s are impressive efforts with a few noticeable problems holding them back. Won't astound everyone, but is worth your time and cash.)

Nick Chester, Former Editor-in-Chief (2011)
 Follow Blog + disclosure Tips
Editor-in-Chief @ nick at  more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

Confuseddalek avatarConfuseddalek
I found this weird game called Samurai Heroes for 8 dollars today. Its not bad.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
Got Deadpool, Arkham Asylum and BioShock 1 and 2 all for 30$. Not to bad for going Black Friday shopping late.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
If you haven't played Tales from the Borderlands yet, GO BUY IT! By far the funniest game I have ever played, and the characters and narrative are incredibly well written. Very few memes unlike BL2 by the way.
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
Played all of Life is Strange today in one sitting. Bloody hell. You should all play it. Only game this year to make me cry. Bravo developers. Possibly the most valuable thing I've ever bought for £10.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Last night, got farther than ever in Wasteland 2. This is my third playthrough-once thru beta, once through the orig version, now on Directors cut. Worth the restart, and it speaks highly of the game that I like it enough to do this. DAMONTA HERE I COME!
KeithTheGeek avatarKeithTheGeek
GUYS HELP I KEEP BUYING MORE AMIIBO. Today it was Little Mac, since he went back up on Gamestop's website. I probably would have gotten Captain Falcon as well if I wasn't already running a little short on cash.
BigDoniel avatarBigDoniel
50 hours in and I can safely say that Xenoblade is the best JRPG I've played in years. Should hopefully be finished in time for X too!
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
One job down on day I should have off, now for the other job.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I beat Murasaki Baby on PS Vita. Easy 100% trophy. That ending theme tho.
TheGwailo avatarTheGwailo
I have 34 games in my Steam queue alone, 4 on xbone, and a handful on handhelds. I have 3 days to make a dent. Time's up, let's do this!
Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: To make up for yesterday, I decided to ask a second Community Question today. Have you taken advantage of any Black Friday deals today? If so, what did you purchase? Feel free to share pictures of your spoils, if you have any.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Some Black Friday artwork arrived today ! [img][/img]
Lawman avatarLawman
Black Friday is getting to me. All these games I kinda, maybe want that are at anywhere between respectable and deep discounts, but I'm not sure if I want to bite. I'm wondering if Godzilla's worth $12? After checking review scores, I'm not sure.
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Mission complete![IMG][/IMG]
Serethyn avatarSerethyn
Black Friday slowly seems to creep its way onto Continental Europe, but I'm not complaining! I managed to get my grubby little paws on a new physical copy of The Wonderful 101 for €20! Thanks, America!
Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: Since I missed yesterday, I am going to do something a little different today. Are there any questions you would like to ask me for a change? If so, please feel free. I may add a second Community Question later today, as well.
RexterNathan avatarRexterNathan
Isn't PES 2016 Free-to-Play model just the demo with extra crap thrown in?
Fenriff avatarFenriff
Damn Gumo, you cold as fuck. [img][/img]
Atleastimhousebroken avatarAtleastimhousebroken
While partially responsible for one of the biggest jokes in the metal, Cold Lake by Celtic Frost, Curt Bryant is doing the soundtrack to the game Slain!. I'm digging the shitty garage band vibe.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
How is the Lightening thread STILL GETTING COMMENTS!?!?!? P.S. I am trying to make Chex Mix, but we lost my special recipe I custom designed. sucks man.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -