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PixelJunk Monsters 2

Posted by GG Goblin On June - 15 - 2018

Save the Chibis, save the world.

After some ten years since PixelJunk Monsters inflicted its very own brand of cute tower defence on the unsuspecting videogame world, it feels about the right time for a sequel. Obviously, developer Q-Games thought the same, and so PixelJunk Monsters 2 launched last month and challenged the world to once again put on the mask of Tikiman and ensure the safety of those cute little Chibis. And crikey, those Chibis are looking cute.

pjm1 (Copy)

Anyone who played the previous game, or any other tower defence game for that matter, will pretty much know what to expect. The goal is for Tikiman to protect a tribe of Chibis from the evil monsters that want nothing more than to eat them. The Chibis will all be gathered in a base, while the monsters will slowly approach along paths, and it will be down to Tikiman to prevent the monsters reaching the base by constructing defensive towers along the paths. The monsters will come in waves, and finishing a level with at least one surviving Chibi will ensure at least partial success and lead to the next level.

So far, so simple. The complexity comes with the different types of monsters that will come wandering along the paths. While hugely varied, the monsters come in two types, those that walk along the ground, and those that fly. There are also boss monsters at the end of each level that have both characteristics. Defeating all of the monsters and leaving the level with a full house of Chibis will require some careful placement and choice of defensive tower.

pjm2 (Copy)

At the most basic, there are towers that deal with those on the ground, towers for the flying monsters, and jack of all trades towers that can deal with either type of monster, but are much less effective. The player will have to pay for these towers using coins that are dropped by defeated monsters or occasionally dropped by trees as Tikiman wanders around. More powerful towers can also be built, such as one that fires a swarm of bees, but these tend to cost coins and gems, and the gems are dropped much less often than coins, making them a rarer resource.

It comes down to where the towers are placed. Watching the monsters approach, the player can see the path that they take and can place the towers along that route, thinking tactically and taking advantage of positions that will give the tower as much exposure to the monsters as possible. Towers can have different areas of effect, so being aware of that and covering as much ground as possible is essential. It also helps to take note of different towers that work well together, creating choke points along the path. Of course, all of this planning means nothing when the monsters suddenly decide to take a different path and the player finds themselves having to demolish towers for coins and rebuild elsewhere. PixelJunk Monsters 2 is quite a quick moving game, so don’t expect much time to plan.

The towers themselves can be upgraded to make them more powerful and efficient. These upgrades will cost though, and players will have to fork out some of those rare gems. However, it is also possible to upgrade the towers through having Tikiman do a little dance, which is highly entertaining but takes up time, and time is perhaps the most valuable resource in PixelJunk Monsters 2.

pjm3 (Copy)

The thing is, most of the gameplay is much the same as it was before, but there is one big difference. The game is now presented in 3D, with a glorious claymation-like visual style. Seriously, Tikiman looks great, the Chibis look super cute and the monsters all look monstrous, in a kiddies drawing kind of way. The environments all look bright and colourful, and the levels are pretty big, so there is plenty to enjoy. But that is where some of the problems come in – players are not able to see all of the level in a single glance. To see what is happening, and where the monsters are going, the player will have to pan the camera around. When monsters are defeated and drop coins, the coins can sometimes bounce out of easy view for Tikiman, due to trees and little hills being in the way. And damn if the action isn’t intense with Tikiman having to run around all over the place, collecting coins before they disappear, building or knocking down towers, and even attacking monsters himself. Is there really any time to do a dance?

PixelJunk Monsters 2 features local and online co-op. For the local players though, it can be a little frustrating as if player two wanders too far from player one, they will be sprung back to their side. There are also a bunch of different customisation options in the form of unlockable masks or shells, which helps with standing out when playing with others.

pjm4 (Copy)

PixelJunk Monsters 2 is a great looking game. The visual overhaul is a real highpoint, although in going 3D it has made the game more unwieldy. Otherwise, there is not a whole lot of difference from the first game, which is no bad thing as the first game was brilliant fun. If addictive and super cute tower defence is your thing, PixelJunk Monsters 2 will make you dance.




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