E3 10: Hands-on with PixelJunk Shooter 2

All this week I am going to be giving ridiculously quick hands-on impressions of all the games I see on the E3 show floor. Since I think everything is a little amazing, they will be rated, from least to most favorite: 1 (A Little Amazing!), 2 (Kind of Amazing!), 3 (Pretty Amazing!), 4 (AMAZING!), and 5 (The Most Amazing Thing I Have Ever Seen!).

Okay, I am going to make it official. Is everyone listening? Come closer. PixelJunk Shooter 2 is my game of E3. Granted, there is still a couple of hours left, and I could see something that blows my mind even more, but, so far, I have fallen madly in love with PixelJunk’s I-didn’t-even-know-this-existed-until-yesterday sequel for the PSN. (And this is coming from someone who thought nothing could top  Kirby’s Epic Yarn or Donkey Kong Country Returns.)

It makes me a little sad, because it seems this clever little shooter is being completely ignored by the E3 masses. It doesn’t help that it is in a little booth surrounded by LittleBigPlanet 2, PlayStation Move, and 3D games, but, still, that is no excuse! This game is better than all of those hype grabbers! GET TO PLAYING IT, PEOPLE THAT ARE STILL AT E3 AND ARE READING THIS ON YOUR PHONE! YOU ONLY HAVE A COUPLE HOURS LEFT!

If you have played the first outstanding PixelJunk Shooter, you kind of know what to expect. You fly a little ship (solo or in two-player co-op) with the left analog stick through a completely 2D landscape, turn it with the right analog stick, fire weapons with the right trigger, and shoot out a grappling hook with the left trigger. That’s it for the controls. But it is the design of everything that makes this game stand out. In the game, water is your best friend. It cools you down from overheating and helps heal you if your energy is low. As you fly through the complex, exquisitely-designed cavernous levels, many different enemies and obstacles await.

What sounds as a simple Defender-clone is nothing of the sort. The levels in PixelJunk Shooter 2 are a wonder to play through. In the demo, one had me flying through the belly of a giant beast, dodging purple, harmful bile, all the while trying to navigate small passages to find hidden stashes of healing water. Another level was all dark, the caverns only being lit up by carrying a giant glowing orb with my grappling hook. This variety and attention to detail really make the game stand out.

Oh, and did I mention the game looks gorgeously retro? Well, it does.

I adore this game.

Rating: 5 out of 5 (The Most Amazing Thing I Have Ever Seen!)

Chad Concelmo