I’m going to cut this one quite short today, less than 500 words, because I don’t want to waste your time. Really, I don’t want to stretch this little retrospect out to my usual standard of over 1,000 words.
Pixeljunk Shooter is a quirky, stylistic absolute thrillride through the depths of an independent developer’s imagination and a crazy soundtrack. It may not be as stunning or emotionally involving as Eden, which was quite unintentionally in what it provoked, but Shooter represents the greatest things in gaming. Simplicity, design and pacing. It’s simply in the sense you only ever have a few buttons. You have to use the left stick to move, move the right stick to aim and R1 to shoot. Sometimes you might get special suits which let you fire water or lava or stop metallic goo from eating up your ship, it’s all very cutesy.
I’m not very proud of what the games industry is right now, although I have just cried out in total glee at some moments. Pixeljunk Shooter is just one of those moments, but it seems to stare me in the face with irony. My biggest complaint about videogames is the fact that publishers aren’t willing enough to publish a product without a developer letting people kill or hurt people in any videogame. This usually comes down to shooting. We’re all just 12 year olds spinning on our heads at the moment, and Pixeljunk Shooter almost seems to parody it. There’s no blood or guts, no realistic themes or depressing storyline; just good old fashioned shoot ’em up. Along the way you even have to save people with a giant claw, since it can be played with two players over one system, if one player overheats the other one can pick him up and throw him in a pool. It’s the equivalent of your brother carrying your sleeping body, dumping you in the bath and then slitting three bags of ice over you. Well not maybe.
If your ship gets too hot from lava or shootin’ too much, then it just stops functioning and drops from the sky. One point, lava was coming down, stopping me from getting to my exit. A little pool of water was near the exit, so I charged through the lava, burnt out my engine and heard the sweet sounds of steam. The sound design pretty much sets it apart from any other downloadable shooter, than and the cell-shaded design. Your ship doesn’t exactly have personality, the monsters and bosses you encounter do, but it allows you to just be the observer, the shooting thing that shoots.
Pixeljunk Shooter isn’t a revolutionary title, in fact it pretty much embodies all the simplicities we’ve come to love and glee about. What is though is just a whole lot of fun. There’s no giant space marines with a melodramatic plot, although there is forced plot here sometimes, it’s all a nice clean shooter. Try it out.