PixelJunk Shooter 2

Quantastic!

Q-Games returns with PixelJunk Shooter 2, their best game yet?
Author: TPS Staff
Published: March 4, 2011
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Single-Player Campaign - Parjanya C. Holtz

PixelJunk Shooter 2, Japanese developer Q-Game's latest entry into the celebrated PixelJunk series, is also the company's first real sequel, finally breaking with the historical tradition of releasing one independent property after another. Those of you who played the original PixelJunk Shooter may remember that its story wasn't entirely brought to a complete and proper conclusion, as right before the credits rolled, audiences were presented with a mysterious, yet somewhat unsatisfying “To be continued...” screen. The good news is that PixelJunk Shooter 2 offers a lengthy and fantastic single-player campaign that's full of memorable bosses and strange, highly unstable worlds, which both fans and newcomers to the series will be able to appreciate equally. The bad news is that should they decide to try out the game's new competitive multiplayer mode first, chances are they will never get to see what happens after they were swallowed by that giant Dune-like worm at the end of the first game, and honestly, that would be quite a pity.


But let's back up for a second, and talk about the excellent single-player campaign first, before beginning to rave about why PixelJunk Shooter 2 may just be the online multiplayer shooter of the year. In the original game, players set out on a rescue mission in which they were required to safely maneuver a small yellowish spacecraft-like-thingy through a side-scrolling, two dimensional environment in order to save every stranded scientist they could find, and look out for the precious diamonds hidden in the planet's many cracks and caves. Things were kept interesting by the different elements players encountered, such as water, magma, ice, dark matter etc., forcing them to think creatively in order to solve a variety of interesting puzzles, the idea behind many of which was that combining one or more elements caused them to react in different and often unpredictable ways. For instance, pouring water over magma would make the magma cool off and turn into solid rock through which players could easily dig through. As the game progressed, the puzzles gained in complexity, yet by the time it was all over one couldn't shake the feeling of not having seen all the creative possibilities.

PJS2 for the most part carries on its predecessor's legacy, yet also manages to create a more satisfying experience thanks to its slightly more complex, and often more difficult (yet never unfair) puzzles. A selection of new elements freshens things up quite a bit, and so do the new suits (abilities) your spacecraft gets equipped with at very specific points in the game. More than ever do players need a healthy dose of patience in order to approach situations carefully, prepared for something unexpected to happen in these very unstable environments at all times. You never know when you may have to deal with an active volcano or angry giant parasite next. And that's precisely what makes the campaign so compelling; you really get that sense of being an explorer in a strange, alien world, and you begin to develop a curiosity for what's to come, what further surprises and mysteries you will stumble upon on your journey.

To be honest, PJS2 isn't all too different from its predecessor. It very much looks like it (a good thing), its main objectives are still the same two, and the electronic tunes are as brilliantly mesmerizing as we've come to expect. It just all adds up fantastically, and the result is a more polished continuation of a great game, one that knows exactly what it has going for itself.
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