Pixeljunk Monsters Review
Most people who are familiar with Real Time Strategy games will have most likely heard the term ‘tower defence’. For those of you who have not heard this term, a tower defence game is incredibly simple. It involves waves of creatures heading towards you, and your sole purpose is to build various different towers in order to defend against these beasties. Pixeljunk Monsters (PjM), the latest game from Q-Games, is an example of how this genre of game should be done.
When you load up PjM, one of the first things that you are likely to notice is it’s graphical style, which is incredibly unique, taking on the appearance of a sort of cartoon watercolour painting. It really does look impressive, if a bit childish. The monsters throughout the game also take on this interesting art styling, and this translates into every aspect of the game, from the animations to the sound effects.
In PjM your objective is to protect your villagers from all manner of nasty beasties by building towers to blast beasties to kingdom come. Towers can be built on any of the many trees that are found in the levels, and different towers cost different amounts of coins. You begin with a set amount of coins, and creatures drop coins as you kill them. The other key item in the games comes in the form of little blue gems, which are used to upgrade your towers and to purchase new tower styles from your main base. Speaking of upgrading your towers, if you ever find yourself with no coins with which to build new towers, you can always just stand on top of one of your existing towers, which will send your character into a lovely little dance which will slowly power up your tower to the next level, increasing its range and damage.
There are numerous different creatures to defend against, and lots of different towers to help you. These range from the basic arrow towers to the mighty mortar towers, and all manner of towers in-between. You will need to use a wide range of towers as you try to defend against fast moving spiders, huge yeti like creatures, bats and many many more different beasts.
PjM is pretty much instantly accessible to both casual and hardcore gamers, although the difficulty soon ramps up, which brings me on to the games first major gripe. In order to progress through the game you have to earn a certain number of rainbows before the next path gets unlocked. In order to obtain a rainbow, you must complete a level without losing any of your villagers – which is by no means easy. Some people may like this hardcore difficulty, but unfortunately a lot of the more casual gamers will likely be put off by this, despite the great sense of achievement you feel when you finally nail a level after the 14th attempt.
If you feel as though you need a helping hand, you can always have a buddy join you for a bit of co-op on the same console, and this helps balance out the difficulty, although certain levels are still killer. Unfortunately there is no co-op mode online
The design of the creatures themselves are very well done, with the animations, graphics and sound effects all coming together to create a great cohesive package. It is seriously hard not to laugh when you hear some of the squeaks as your cannon blows up a small group of scuttling bugs, or when you see the towering yeti creatures shuffle onto the screen for the first time.
It is seriously hard not to recommend PjM to anyone, as it is just such a great tribute to the tower defence genre, and is easily one of the best titles available on the PlayStation Store. If you can look past the hard difficulty, you will be sure to find a highly enjoyable game that will keep you engrossed as you keep going back for one more attempt at a certain level.