Over the last month I have been addictively building towers, that shoot, freeze and destroy monsters. Desperately trying to protect my flock at my base.
I am of course talking about playing the PS3 smash hit, PixelJunk Monsters! The same game that I started over a year ago. Yes the game is THAT fun! THAT addictive!
PixelJunk Monsters is a part of one of the newest and most popular genres of game – Tower Defense.
The main concept involves a map/level, with either a set path (as seen in this game) or one that you determine by the positioning of your towers. The baddies; in this case some visually nasty and cute at the same time, ‘Monsters’, make their way along the path and attempt to reach your base where you usually have a number of lives or your ‘Flock’ which are reduced whenever you fail to destroy a monster. The type of baddie and path they take differs with each ‘wave’ and usually ends with a much slower but also much stronger, ‘Boss’ monster.
At your disposal however, are a number of different ‘towers’ which you must strategically choose and place to try and stop the Flock being reached. Towers are usually purchased with the in-game currency, which after the initial purse is increased after each wave and can differ depending on how many lives were lost or money saved.
If you manage to defeat all of the waves with at least one life remaining, you win that stage and can either try for a perfect clearance (defeating all monsters without losing a single life) or continue on to the next stage.
PixelJunk Monsters follows the typical Tower Defense style well (as first seen, I believe in a ‘stick-figure on notepaper’ type web browser based game called Desktop Tower Defense). Where it really succeeds though is with its twists and unique features.
I have played a lot of tower defense games and while you always have the control and choice over towers, I believe no other game actually puts you in control of a main character. Here you guide your character, or the Daddy of the Flock as I like to call him, around the map, having to walk (or later run, once an achievement is unlocked) up to each area you want to place a tower. The Monsters also drop the previously mentioned currency, or coins so you have to be quick and decisive and always on alert to collect them as they are important for building more towers.
Occasionally the Monsters will also drop Gems which must be collected in order to unlock new towers and to quickly upgrade current ones. Tower upgrades usually increase the firing range or splash damage (explained below) and are needed to defeat the more difficult later waves. Another way to upgrade towers is through moving your character to the tower you want to upgrade and waiting over it while your character seems to pray or chant at the tower. This is a much slower process but can save your gems for other towers, unlockables or special moves. These can be such things as increasing the % of coins you receive between waves or even a remote mine which you can place and detonate to help wipe out a large or strong group of Monsters.
The numerous types of Monsters all have different speeds, strength and can either be ground or air based, meaning not only do you have to choose the best tower to attack each type, but there are even some towers that cannot harm certain types of Monsters at all.
Arrow towers are the fastest shooting towers and will attack both ground and air targets but they are also the weakest. Canon towers are much stronger and slower but have ‘splash damage’ which means they can hurt more than one Monster at a time. The Anti-Air Tower, obviously cannot attack ground targets but they are a must for any flying Monsters. Other towers include an Ice Tower which can help slow down Monsters and even a Hive Tower which uses insects to attack both ground and air targets and gains strength and many more insects with each upgrade.
In addition to the original 21 levels, an expansion pack called Encore was released which added another 15 unique levels (including some surprises for retro gamers and PixelJunk Racers fans) and a nice surpise unlockable after finishing the game.
Other PS3 features include a handy multiplayer mode which allows two players to take part in the action on each level, online scoreboards, user background music from your PS3 library, a brilliant YouTube record and upload option (something more PS3 games will be adding soon) and Trophy support for the gamers who want to beat every last challenge and have the proof of doing so!
Q-Games have done an awesome job with PixelJunk Monsters. They’ve taken the genre of the moment to the next level and helped make a huge name not only for themselves but also the PS3 and PSN game library as well. Beautiful visuals, a wonderful soundtrack from Otograph (so wonderful that it became the first ever soundtrack to be available on the PS Store), simple gameplay with complex strategy, addictive and longterm challenges and a great price!
So head to the Playstation Network on your PS3 and grab this game through the PS Store, or better yet, head on over to Play-Asia and buy online the PixelJunk 3in1 Pack which also includes the original fan favourite PixelJunk Racers and the hugely popular PixelJunk Eden all on the 1 disc for a great bundle price and all with either Japanese or English language options.