PixelJunk Shooter Preview: Hot And Cold-Running Co-Op

Sure we had some PixelJunk Shooter single player impressions, but what about the co-op mode, newly playable at this year's E3? We've got you covered...in hot lava.

What Is It?
Why, it's PixelJunk Shooter, the latest model in the PixelJunk line of quality PlayStation Network titles. Rescue trapped miners while exploring the way lava and water interact with each other...or, in co-op mode, spill lava on your friends for shooting the trapped miners.

What We Saw
I played a good 20 minutes worth of the newly available co-operative mode with one of Sony's crack team of people there to play the game at E3 with me, creating a bond of friendship with what's-his-name that lasts to this very day. I apologize for the name thing, but I have eight new Sony business cards and wasn't going to take the chance.

How Far Along Is It?
Q-Games likes to spring release dates on us. They're the Apple of game development. It could be released tomorrow, or a year from now. They'll wait for the most opportune moment, then wait another few days for dramatic tension, and then BAM...there it is.

What Needs Improvement?
Not Released Yet: They have yet to release the game, so we cannot play more of it. They need to fix that.

What Should Stay The Same?
Classic Co-Op: Q-Games likes to distill the video game experience into small, easily digestible yet highly recognizable chunks, and PixelJunk Shooter's co-operative mode is no exception. The game play lends itself well to classic arcade co-operative moments. For instance, when my ship was about to explode due to overheating in the lava and my wingman shot the ceiling to douse me with water...that's a classic co-op moment.

Classic Anti-Co-Op: Conversely, PixelJunk Shooter also gives you plenty of opportunities to be a dick to your friends. Did your teammate accidentally shoot one of the miners you're supposed to rescue? Shoot open a pocket of lava and watch hot justice rain down, or better yet, uses the sponge of doom! What is the sponge of doom?

Cool (and Hot) Devices: The Sponge of Doom! Probably not what it is called, the sponge is a circular alien creature that you can pick up and carry with your ship's grapple. Pick it up, drop it in some water, and it begins to swell up, filling with liquid that then pours out everywhere once you fly off with it. It also works with lava, so if your friend needs a lava shower in order to get with the program, there you go. Water bombs and the like also feature heavily into the game's fluid dynamics.

Final Thoughts
After playing through some of PixelJunk Shooter cooperatively, I'm not sure I could play the single player game without placing an additional controller next to me on the couch, turning to look at it every now and again, a single tear running down my cheek. One day there will be a PixelJunk game for everyone, and this one just might be mine.