|System: PS3 (PSN)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Q Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 10, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
The deeper you progress through Shooter, the more varied and perilous the environmental obstacles and alien creatures become. You have to be pretty ingenious to get through the cleverly designed levels in one piece, let alone set high marks on the leaderboards. Accruing points, doing so cleanly, and in record time all factor into the kinds of scores you'll be able to post. Those less concerned with rank will be happy know that tough boss battles nicely punctuate each stratum, giving you a quality arcade challenge as well as a change of pace to the puzzle-shooter gameplay.
Music and ambient sounds are always a highlight in the PixelJunk series, and Shooter is no exception. The quirky setting is nicely conveyed through the sound effects and music. The only qualm I had is that the injection of some vocal samples every now and then were unnecessary and jarred me out of the immersion. The visual presentation in PJ Shooter squarely fits in with the rest of the games in the series. Each stratum features a distinct theme and color palette, and the enemy designs are simply, yet attractively created. The most visually impressive element of the game is the way the physics are rendered. The interaction between viscous flows and the way the environment pushes your little shuttle around is natural and sensible. This leads to an excellent control scheme, as well. The PS3 controllers work wonderfully for this title - it's not like struggling through Namco Essentials. Even the spongy PS3 triggers, which I typically loathe, are perfect for PJ Shooter. Navigating the labyrinthine tunnels with the absolutely precise analog sticks is super-slick. If you decide to play the game remotely on the PSP, you won't find nearly the same level of control. But, I always applaud developers for including the option.
PixelJunk Shooter isn't my favorite entry from Q-Games (Eden holds that distinction), but it is one of my favorite games of 2009 - arcade or otherwise. If you are into challenging downloadable titles, PJ Shooter's got loads of personality and oodles of fun. Playing this game alone or with a friend yields hours of engaging gaming, and simply shouldn't be missed in the wake of AAA holiday releases.
CCC Editor / News Director