Review by horror_spooky
I'm friends with the monster that's in my PS3
The PixelJunk series of games are games united by similar simplistic graphical choices that give them a cartoon 2D art style. However, each game in the series tackles a different genre. PixelJunk Monsters, for example, is a tower defense game and one of the most entertaining tower defense games I've played to date.
Two players can work together to set up the defenses to ward off the monsters from destroying their bases. The gameplay is simple, but it works. Players are rewarded for building fortifications. Different fortifications and defenses are used against the different types of monsters that attack.
When monsters are destroyed, they drop coins. The coins are then spent on building new defenses and upgrading the existing ones. This basic formula has been used in many games like this, but if it isn't broke, don't fix it.
What helps set PixelJunk Monsters apart from the competition is the co-op play. For both online and offline co-op, PixelJunk Monsters always two people to work together to keep their defenses going against the unrelenting waves of monsters that they have to deal with. Each level brings increasingly difficult challenges, more monsters, more powerful monsters, and other hazards to deal with in order to win.
The game uses an overworld map for the levels. By completing certain challenges, players can access secret areas of the map. This approach is done well, though I do wish that there was a bit more to it. There's not much to discover in PixelJunk Monsters; you pretty much just go from level to level anyway so I fail to really see the necessity of having an overworld map, even if it is a cool idea.
Visually, the game looks great. The art style is simplistic, but functional. The colors are bright and vibrant, and there's a lot of visual variety when it comes to the different levels. PixelJunk Monsters certainly isn't the game you would show off to show people how pretty games can be on PS3, but it gets the job done when it comes to visuals.
The music is also very catchy and enjoyable. Sony sometimes has problems finding the same charm that Nintendo is able to conjure up in its games by blending the visuals and audio presentations, but they succeed in PixelJunk Monsters. The franchise just oozes charm, and PixelJunk Monsters more so than any of the other PixelJunk games that I have played so far.
PixelJunk Monsters can be a pretty short experience, unfortunately. There aren't a whole lot of levels, but there is DLC and the co-op adds replayability. There is a serious difficulty spike that will also turn off other players and I can see a lot of people not pushing through to finish the game.
Overall, PixelJunk Monsters is one of the best tower defense games I've played, even if the genre is still lacking in key areas. The game sets the foundation for something that could be even better, and I hope to see PixelJunk Monsters 2 some day soon.
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: PixelJunk Monsters (US, 01/24/08)
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