Sunday, 31 January 2010

Pixel Junk Shooter - Review

Format: PS3
Available: Now (Playstation Network)
Price: £6.29
Developer: Pixel Junk
Publisher: SCEE


Pixel Junk have now released four games on the Playstation Network and this, despite being the shortest by some distance, is the best yet.  You control a tiny spaceship through caves of ice fire and water as you try to rescue as many colonists as you can on a distant planet.  Pretty basic premise but when a game is this easy to pick up and play you hardly need a back story.

Controls are simple enough, turn the ship with the right stick and move it with the left, R1 is fire and L1 is grab, we're not talking complex button bashing.  You can bump into the walls as much as you like without taking damage, it's only fire, oil and gas that cause any damage.  As the game progresses you get opportunities to play with the ship taking no damage from different elements e.g. you can pass through fire but water causes harm, which makes for simple if occasionally frustrating puzzles as you figure out the safest way to save the little guys trapped inside the planets tempestuous core.

Remember when you had 'lives' in games?  Whatever happened to that?  Here your ship can get blown up, swallowed by fire, drowned in oil, as many times as you like and you'll never see a 'Game Over' screen.  If you kill five colonists, either with some friendly fire or by an error in timing, the game will kick you out, but that's it.  I had to do it deliberately to see what happened.  I'm all for that though, the days of completing Bruce Lee on the Spectrum on three lives are over!  Thank the gaming Gods.

So far so good then.  It's enjoyable enough fare and for £6.29 it is hard to knock it but it is very short.  Once you get relatively accomplished you can zip through the 15 or so stages in around 10 minutes each and there are only three bosses before the game ends on a 'to be continued'.  To be continued at a price presumably although hopefully as an add on rather as a new game entirely.

However as an updated version of Defender it works well and it's silky smooth to play with simple yet lovely graphics.

★★★