Take to your pod and rescue explorers and scientists from an untimely, and slightly toasty, demise.
PixelJunk Shooter is developed by Q Games and is available on the PS3 through the Playstation Network. This game is the fourth PixelJunk game from Q Games and, as with all of the other games, takes to a completely different genre. This time around, the developer has decided to take on the 2D shooter genre, and they have done it with style.
The objective of the game is simple. You must fly your rescue pod through the caverns of the planet and rescue the various little people that are trapped within. You have a gun and missiles to dispatch the roaming meanies that inhabit the caves, and a grappling hook with which to pick up the survivors and the randomly hidden diamonds that can be found. Once all of the survivors are either rescued or dead, then a door opens allowing access to the next area. The survivors can be killed by environmental means, by the enemies or even by a stray shot from your gun, so be careful. Gather enough diamonds to open new levels and progress within the game.
These features by themselves would make for an interesting game, but what makes this game stand out from other 2D shooters is the environment. Within the caverns you will come across pools of lava, water and a selection of other substances. Your ship can only take a small amount of heat damage before it is destroyed, so water is essential for keeping your ship cool. The problem arises when you need to get past lava. By getting the water to flow into the lava, it solidifies and cools, making passing possible. This makes for a certain puzzle element in the game.
On each level, the player will have to work out how to rescue the little guys from their impending doom. Sometimes this will be as easy as blasting some rock to allow the water to flow into the lava, or vice versa. Other times, the player may be required to use certain items to transport water to where it is needed. As the player progresses, more hazardous substances will appear, such as the explosive smoke or the magnetic oil. Thankfully, each level should only need a couple of attempts at most to work out.
Graphically, the games bright colours and simple animation makes PixelJunk Shooter stand out. Although not entirely similar to the style of the other games, Shooter is clearly identified as PixelJunk.
The game flows really well and is very simple to pick up and play. Controls are intuitive and make sense, which is more than can be said for a lot of games, and players will have no trouble learning them.
The only downside to Shooter is the length. With only three worlds to work through, you will be looking at only a few hours of gameplay to complete, with maybe a couple more hours for the perfectionists out there. But, although the game is short, there is a great sense of achievement upon completion, not to mention the strong hint that there is more to come.
The PixelJunk games are all great examples of their chosen genres, but Shooter certainly rises to the top of the PixelJunk pile. It looks good, plays superbly and instantly becomes a must have PS3 title.