PixelJunk Shooter Micro-Review: Just Add Water... Or LavaS

Q-Games continues its series of deceptively simple PlayStation Network games with PixelJunk Shooter, where danger runs hot and salvation is just a glass of water away.

Okay, maybe not a glass. PixelJunk Shooter is a game about saving miners and scientists trapped beneath the surface of a strange planet, but it's also a game about using opposing forces of nature in order to make your way through a twisted series of underground caverns. You can douse lava with water to create land, ignite pockets of gas with molten rock to unleash destructive explosions; over the course of the game you'll discover new tools to help you harness the elements, all the while using your weapons to take out the various mysterious enemies lurking beneath the planet's crust.

Water and fire are two of nature's most destructive forces, and many have lost their lives trying to harness them. How'd Q-Games do?

Loved
Troubleshooting: PixelJunk Shooter is a puzzle game disguised as a shooter. While there are times when your main focus will be on firing your weapons at enemies to survive, the main focus of the game is using the elements against your environment and each other in order to save miners stranded deep underground. It's this clashing of elements, water and lava, that forms the foundation for the gameplay. Lava cools heats you up, water cools you down, and when the two meet, destructible earth is formed. As the game progresses the difficulty ramps and new tools are introduced, but the relationship between the two is always paramount. It's a simple concept brought to life, and it's a wonderful life.

Bring A Friend: PixelJunk Shooter is a game that begs to be played with a friend. In a world where one stray bullet can mean the difference between freeing a trapped miner and being engulfed by lava, adding an unpredictable human element to the mix can be entertaining, to say the least, and raises all sorts of new questions as you play. Do you take turns saving miners, or is this a competition? Who gets to wear the water suit and who wears the lava suit? Will the player wearing the lava suit bury the other in a cascade of deadly molten rock? Most likely, but all will be forgiven once you realize how helpful it is to have another set of guns during the game's rare but entertaining massive boss fights.

Hated
A Candle In The Wind: Ah, PixelJunk Shooter, you had only just begun when you ended. Three different worlds with five levels each split into multiple stages seems like a great deal, but it's over in a flash. All things considered, four hours for a $9.99 game isn't bad, and multiplayer extends the game's life considerably, but it feels as if there could have been so much more.

Like PixelJunk Eden, the third game in the PixelJunk series, Shooter takes a simple concept and creates a complex, entertaining gameplay experience from it. With Eden it was the pollination of plants, and with Shooter it's the relationship between two opposing elements. Like water and magma crashing together to create rock, Q-Games has married this natural relationship with puzzle and shooting mechanics to create something more enjoyably substantial than its parts.

PixelJunk Shooter was developed by Q-Games and published in North America by Sony Computer Entertainment America for the PlayStation Network. Retails for $9.99 USD. A download code for the game was given to us by the publisher for reviewing purposes. Played through the entire game solo and multiple levels in two player mode.

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