Back in 2009, Q-Games released the fourth major title in their PixelJunk series: PixelJunk Shooter. it was me with positive reviews across the board (a 4.5 out of 5 from our site) and was at one point the most downloaded game on the Playstation Network Store. Fast forward two years and the long awaited sequel has been released hoping to gain the same recognition and hopefully surpass the first. It’s also worth noting that this is the first full sequel throughout the PixelJunk series.
PixelJunk Shooter 2 picks up right where the first one left off and also gives a background story to those who have never played it. Sparing the spoilers, you somehow end up in an alien body and must fight your way out to escape your acidic prison using a variety of suits and fluids all while rescuing hostages. But how does it fare against its predecessor? Can it surpass it and rise to fame? Here are the Hots and Nots of PixelJunk Shooter 2.
Although the game looks almost identical to the first one, the graphics are still eye popping and beautifully colored. The new enviroments you encounter are colored brightly even though your in the body of an alien and blasting away at its insides. Everything from the purples in the acid to the reds in the lava are still just as colorful and eye catching as ever. Its almost as if you’re controlling a painting instead of a game.
Music is Catchy
Once again High Frequency Bandwidth did an amazing job on the game’s soundtrack. It’s just as catchy as it was in the first game and more than once you will catch yourself tapping your foot to the music. It does a good job of setting the tone and the mood of the level just as it did in the first title.
Multiplayer is Entertaining
Returning in this entry is the ability to play the campaign entirely with a friend. This allows for double the alien bashing for you and a buddy. Unfortunately you can only do this from the comfort of your own home and console. There is once again no ability to play through the games chapters cooperatively online. But if you happen to have a friend or family member at home who wants to play, then then this is the mode to go to.
The new addition to the PixelJunk Shooter series is the online competitive multiplayer. But once again, it is unfortunate that you can only play this mode online. This mode allows for a unique twist on the PixelJunk Shooter series. It is a one on one game mode that is essentially a game of cat and mouse with the mouse striving to rescue survivors without being obliterated with homing missiles by the cat. It boils down to an offensive and defensive side. The offensive side must bring survivors back to the designated area to score while remaining undetected and safe from the defensive side. The defensive side must do the exact opposite. Their goal is to eradicate the offensive side and prevent them from scoring.
Along with the competitive multiplayer are two different modes to play in. The first is the Friend mode which allows you to play against your friends in an unranked match with whatever upgrades you unlocked from the League mode. The League mode is the bread and butter of the online portion. In it you can rise through the ranks and earn in-game credits to unlock various upgrades for your ship to help you out with either the offense or defense side. The upgrades split into four different categories. The first is Weapons which allows you to access homing missiles and mines. Second is the Power Ups that give you the ability to do things such as camouflage and revive your ship. The third section is the Disrupters that allow players on the offensive side to level the playing field with their pursuer. The final section is the Hazards which gives you abilities such as changing the fluids in the map and altering gravity. There are more than the ones mentioned here and you can map up to three at a time on the face buttons allowing you to customize the way you play.
Improves Upon Original
With the addition of online competitive multiplayer, PixelJunk Shooter 2 already surpassed its predecessor in one field. It also manages to pass it up in the single player portion as well. Along with a tale continuing where the last one left off, this sequel manages to escape the title of expansion by offering you more than was in the original. Along with new fluid types and combinations, there are also new suits and environments to mess around with. These new suits offer different types of gameplay and give you a new way to play the game. The hungry suit sections (my personal favorite) is like mixing Pacman with Dig-Dug. I’ll just leave it at that.
No Online Co-Op?
With the addition of an online Competitive portion to the game, you would think that they would have added the ability to play the game cooperatively online as well right? Sadly, that is not the case here. They gave you a co-op you can only play at home and a competitive you can only play online. I guess the ability to let you do both online and offline is unattainable here.
Standing at $9.99, PixelJunk Shooter 2 is a must buy for fans of the first one as well as gamers looking for a fun and simple game to pass the time. Its wonderful combination of music, bright and beautiful graphics, and its inclusion of an online portion make this a definite one-up above the already awesome original. The ability to only play co-op offline may be a downer but its nothing that will detract you from the experience.
[Editor’s Note: PixelJunk Shooter 2 was reviewed on the PlayStation 3 platform. The game was given to us by the publisher for review purposes.]PixelJunk Shooter 2 Review,