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PixelJunk Shooter Review

by GaryTun

Q-Games have become synonymous with both invention and quality on the PlayStation Network with their PixelJunk series. Now they reach the fourth in the series with the rather uninspiring title, Shooter.

As much as the title hints at the mechanics of the game, PixelJunk Shooter is probably best described as an adventure game, with the shooting merely ending up a cog in a much larger wheel. The story is functional but frames the action just so – exploration of other planets to harvest their energy reserves is the order of the day in a far off future, but when miners on one of these worlds fall prey to hazardous conditions, a rescue craft is deployed to come to their aid.

It`s probably best to think of levels in PixelJunk Shooter as a series of science experiments, whether it be with water, lava, or later on, noxious gases. For example, chipping away at soft rock with your weapons will release lava and if the player then shoots out a cache of water, when the two meet, it will solidify the lava into deformable rock. Such a simple idea is executed with élan, as the mixtures and their different properties need to be fully exploited throughout the different missions. It really is a great deal of fun trying to figure out the new and interesting ways to tackle subsequent areas.

Of course, during all this the player must be mindful of their crafts shields, which can overheat very easily and if five miners are killed, either by your hand or the topography, they will be thrown back to the beginning of that particular level. Scattered throughout are also gems, required if the player wants to progress. Some of the hiding places are cunning to say the least, and will reward those who care to spend a bit more time than usual exploring a level to hunt them down.

The look of PixelJunk Shooter is reminiscent of 1960`s cartoons, and has a wonderful, almost hand drawn quality to it. The game is, as always, coupled with an exemplary musical accompaniment and although we’ve come to expect this as default from Q-Games, their ability to seek out artists that suit the style of each different title is second to none. This time round High Frequency Bandwidth provide a entertaining mixture of beats which blend effortlessly with the action on screen, and furthers Q-Games’ reputation for treating their soundtracks as lovingly as their games.

Subtitled the Depths of Disaster, it’s a fair assumption that there will be more instalments in the series, and provided they are handled right, will be most welcome additions to the PlayStation Network.