Q-Games’ follow-up to their acclaimed 2009 shooter adds some new fluids, a light/dark mechanics, and multiplayer to the dynamic fluid action.
What’s It About?
This will be a spoiler since PixelJunk Shooter 2 begins right where the first game ended, which means that the game begins inside of the gigantic worm-like creature that has swallowed your ship whole. In addition to the water, magma, and magnetic fluids, Shooter 2 adds new obstacles to mess around with like stomach acid, an infestation-style fluid that multiplies, and darkness that really opens up the level design to do a lot of interesting things that keep you on your feet throughout the campaign. You do move on from the creature as you realize that there’s more going on with this planet that may threaten your ability to get out alive.
The action in PixelJunk Shooter 2 is just like the first with a few new suits, some new enemies, and a jump in difficulty that makes getting through the game more of a challenge. The addition of acid and darkness present major obstacles in their episodes as you can’t stay in them for long and must return to a safe place quickly to stay alive, which are water for the acid stages and light areas for the darkness stages. The new suits include a light suit to allow you to traverse the darkness more easily and a hungry suit that eats up rocky earth that adds more of a puzzle element to its levels.
The multiplayer in PixelJunk Shooter 2 is probably not what you’d expect based on your initial assumptions of what it must be. The multiplayer here is a one-on-one battle mode where you’re tasked with grabbing as many survivors as you can over two rounds that feels more like a sport than typical multiplayer. Each player takes turns on offense and defense and the limited number of survivors adds a lot of strategy where you can take them from your opponent as you try to avoid detection. Another interesting element is that you earn money for each victory that can be spent on special items and weapons that can help you win if used well.
Why Should I Care?
PixelJunk Shooter 2 is a blast to play and is an overall improvement over its predecessor in every aspect. The controls have been improved by quite a bit in a way that may not be noticeable unless you go back to the original game and see how sluggish some moves can get. The campaign is similarly split up into three episodes with five levels each, which definitely provides much more of a challenge than the first game offered. It’s not so hard that you’ll ever not be able to get through a level by just taking your time and not rushing through it, but there are times where you’ll trigger events that will surprise you the first time and may take a few times to figure out the best way to beat a level. The hungry suit is probably the worst part of the game, as movement is severely limited in a way that's kind of clunky and gets in the way of the potential enjoyment of its stages.
The Online Battle mode is probably the most surprising part of what PixelJunk Shooter 2 has to offer since it’s not a tacked-on mode and competitive multiplayer isn’t really what you expect out of a PixelJunk game. As I explained earlier, it’s a simple mode based around getting as many survivors to your scoring zone as possible on offense while avoiding detection by your opponent since that causes your movement speed to drop, so there’s tension to the desire to stay hidden. The maps are well-designed enough so that you will have to take chances to grab survivors by hazardous fluids along with shortcuts that allows for some interesting strategies as to how you can approach any situation. The matches are pretty quick at about five minutes for most to finish, so there isn’t much investment needed to get some matches in.
Why Is It Worth My Time And Money?
Despite the fact that PixelJunk Shooter 2 was originally just an add-on for the original at first, Q-Games has done a great job of expanding some extra levels into a full-blown game that improves on every aspect of its predecessor that makes it well worth the $10 that it will cost. The campaign seemed to last a good bit longer than the original did at just over seven hours with a good reason to replay those levels to get all survivors and diamonds that gives it a lot of replay value before the multiplayer factors in. If you enjoyed PixelJunk Shooter, there's no reason to skip out on the sequel.