Review by _Genesis

Reviewed: 01/05/09 | Updated: 07/27/09

PixelJunk Monsters Review

PixelJunk Monsters and Encore Review

PixelJunk Monsters is a strategy game exclusively on the PlayStation Network, as well as the rest of the PixelJunk franchise. PixelJunk Monsters is a remake of the old Tower Defence concept and is very much likely to be like Marmite. You will either love it, or Hate it.

The game takes place on a single screen and can be played either singly or played in Co-Op, and the map contains a number of trees, paths and a small village. Your job is to protect the small village from the attacking waves of enemies by building attack towers of many variations. You cannot attack the enemies directly yourself and without your help the small towns’ villagers are pretty much defenceless. Should an enemy reach the village it will kill a single villager before it disappears. In this way the villagers represent your “lives” and there is no way to replenish them once they are lost. Lose them all. Lose the level. It may seem simple enough, but that’s the beauty of the game.

You begin each level with a small amount of money and you use this to build defensive towers. You can only build a tower in a place where there is a tree and, as the towers are fairly expensive, you can only build a few at a time. Once a tower is built it will automatically attack any enemy which passes within range of it and if the enemy dies it will drop money. Occasionally the enemies will also drop small gems which can be used to develop new types of tower to add to your arsenal, or to quick upgrade one you already have built.

If you place the wrong type of tower in the wrong place, you can be certain that you will if not fail the level, you will at least lose a few lives in that round. Fortunately there is a bar at the bottom of the screen that tells you which type of enemy is on the way and how far away they are giving you at least a fighting chance of getting your defences in place.

The towers themselves can be powered up by standing inside them or by sacrificing one of the gems mentioned earlier. If you place the wrong type of tower you can also sell them to free up both some cash and the tree, allowing you to build a replacement.

The graphics on this game are nothing special, in fact they are rather cartoon-ish, but they do suit their purpose and are not really anything bad. The music is catchy and fits the style of game excellently, however, after playing the game for a couple of hours or so, the music may become slightly annoying... But don't fret!! This game features an in game custom soundtrack so if you have music ripped onto your Hard Disk, you can play some from the XMB!! Huzzah!

The individual levels are tough and as you move up the difficulty levels the number of waves of enemies increases meaning they take quite a long time to complete.
There are twenty one levels available with the purchase of only the game, and the recently released expansion pack has had many more added. These include the odd bonus level which, when completed, give your character an extra skill such as the ability to run faster, or plant bombs.

If you like strategy games then I am fairly confident that you will enjoy this one. It is nice to see a game with such a well developed learning curve. It is difficult but by no means impossible and you will find yourself making steady progress as you develop your tactics rather than relying on luck or throwing your controller out of a window.

I have saved one of the best features of PixelJunk Monsters for last.

PixelJunk Monsters features an in-game video recorder, this allows you to record whatever you are doing in the level and then either save it to your Hard Disk, or, more impressively, Upload it to YouTube instantly!!

This is a very cool feature that developers Q-Games have implemented into this game, and many other developers are beginning to follow suit, and include it in their games, such as Pain.

Overall, this game is extremely fun, addictive and well thought out. It is a must play for any who, like me, enjoy the “Tower Defence” genre of games, and for 3.49 (UK price) it is a bargain!!

I give PixelJunk Monsters a 9/10, this being because of a lack of Online Co-operative play and the in-ability to play Co-operative trophy challenges, however, these are the only two flaws in this PSN title, other than those, it is a fun, addicting game that is great for multiplayer with friends and family.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Product Release: PixelJunk Monsters (EU, 01/24/08)

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