Monday, January 19, 2009

PixelJunk Monsters review

Name: PixelJunk Monsters
System/s: PS3, PSP (Port incoming).
Developer: Q Games.
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: 1/24/08 (Original Game), 5/8/08 (Expansion Pack).

PixelJunk Racers, the first game in this series of games (PixelJunk) was terrible, turning me off to the series, thinking it was all going to be terrible. PixelJunk Monsters got a demo, and I downloaded it because I download most demos. I tried it once, thought it was too hard, and didn't touch it again. My friend bought a copy of the game, and got me a copy. Again I didn't touch it for quite a while, but I finally got into it with my big brother, and soon after realizing how good it was sunk probably 100+ hours into it in around a week and a half.

I've never loved tower defense games, regulating them to casual, and web-games mostly. So seeing pictures, I was completely indifferent, not caring at all. However, after playing the game, I don't think I will ever play another Tower Defense game again. NOT however because this game made me turn my taste for tower defense games sour, but because this game is so good, I will never need to play another tower defense game.

The game as tower defense games go, is pretty simple, and slow paced; also, as opposed to most tower defense games, you appear as a character, rather then just being in control. While most tower defense games throw a lot of goons at you until you die, and then rate you, this game has you try to survive a certain amount of waves. The game also has a very unique art style which is very clean and nice, a bit cutesy for some, but it looks amazing.

The game has a fair amount of levels, which isn't too little, or too much. After completing all the levels, there is still stuff left to do in the game; 'Rainbowing' a level (100%ing it), trying to get higher up on the online scoreboards, try to get some of the trophies, or play it two player.

The full game can be played 2 player hotseat co-op (No online co-op sadly), and it is done extremely well. Overall, I think I played this multiplayer more then any other game this console generation, which is saying something.

All the enemies you fight are well balanced, and are varreid enough that you need to learn each one's strengths and weaknesses, and how to set up to defeat each wave of them. Overall, the balance in this game is astounding, everything just works together how it should.

This game is missing some things I wish it had, like online Co-Op, money trading between players in Co-Op, and online rankings for harder difficulties. But in general it's hard to complain.

Things I Liked:

Beautiful Style:
The art-style in this game is unique and easy on the eyes, everything looks great, and looks even better on an HD TV.

Wonderful Multiplayer:
The Co-Op in this game is brilliantly done, in fact, the game may play even better cooperatively then solo. Playing it co-op really adds to the experience.

Uncanny Balance:
Everything does what it should, and everything is balanced, you need to learn how everything works to see how you need optimize your tower configurations. I was impressed at the balance.

Lots of replay value:
If you don't want to sink too many hours into it, that's fine, you'll still enjoy it, however, after trying it, you'll most likely want to play it for a long time afterwards.

Great deal:
For only $10 ($5 for the expansion pack), this game boasts a lot of gameplay, and a lot of playing time, I think it may be one of the best deals on the Playstation Network©.

Quality product:
Remember playing those old games when you were little, even if they had very little or no story, you'd have dreams about them, and think what it would be like to make your own levels? Well, this game feels like it has the same quality of the games that made you feel that way back then.

Easy to get into:
It's not a casual game per-say, but many people can enjoy it, even if the people don't usually play games. At the same time hardcore gamers will love it as well.

Things I Didn't like:

No Online Co-Op:
This one should be obvious, this game probably lag very little, and would not be effect much by lag, it even has online scoreboards, I wonder why it doesn't have Co-Op online?

Co-Op money system:
As amazing as Co-Op was, there was one problem I found, and that was that you can't share money between players, making it annoying sometimes, you have to just trust the other player will leave you money.

Trophy challenges:
It's nice that they patched in trophies, but I wish more of them could be achieved 2 player, most of them require you to do a separate 1 player only mode, which is kind of strange.

Final Scores:

Presentation - 10: Everything looks, works, and sound like it should, nothing is out of place.

Graphics - 9.8: The only gripe I have with the graphics is that on SDTVs, it can be hard to make out some bosses health, or coins.

Sound - 10: A nice variety in songs, good sound effects and custom soundtracks, makes this work great.

Gameplay - 10: I think this did for tower defense games, what Halo did for FPS for me, it made me like the genre, and even care to look at it, rather then just pass it over. It's simple, but perfected.

Lasting Appeal - 9.5: There is a whole ton of content here, 3 difficulties, 20 levels (+15 more with expansion), 3 unlockables, and the ability to rainbow each level. Sure it doesn't have any type of online, but it does pretty much the best it could without it.

Overall Fun - 10: I know people probably wont take me seriously for giving a game a 10 in the 'Overall Fun' section, but that's just what it's for, how much fun I had with the game, and I had enough fun with it that I think it justifies a 10.

Their next game PixelJunk: Eden is also quite good. PixelJunk Monsters is a downloadable game on the Playstation Network©.

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