PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate Review
PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate from Double Eleven and Q-Games comes to PC on Steam today. The already popular game is owned by more than 1.4 million PlayStation 4 customers. The new version includes notable enhancements while retaining the core gameplay of PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate and PixelJunk Shooter 1 and 2 that it derives from.
Ultimate's gameplay focuses on a highly maneuverable vessel flying through a series of caves rescuing stranded scientists. As you fly through semi-destructible puzzle environments with both sticks, you have weapons on the right trigger and a rescue hook on the left trigger. This control scheme is quite simple, but it is the arrangement and usage of these tools with the environmental building blocks that makes the game increasingly challenging.
The combination of rescue, puzzle and shooter is an engaging combination that requires all of your gaming senses to be active. This immediately sets Ultimate (and the rest of the series) apart from the twin-stick shooter crowd. You are not just dodging bullets and shooting things, though you will do that. You are also interacting with lava that heats up your ship dangerously and water than can cool you down or make the lava stone, which you can then blow up. Eventually, you have ice, stone and a myriad of other basic elements that combine in new and interesting ways.
Ultimate introduces a new art style that is a definite upgrade. You can now choose between the 'Ultimate' semi-3D art style with lighting effects and added depth or the 'Classic' 2D style. This is a personal choice, but the new 3D environments have an enhanced mood, add depth to lava, water and the cave walls and certainly improve the game visually.
Ultimately it is the mashup of styles that makes Ultimate a high-quality game. The game has an excellent and refreshing art style, twin-stick shooter mechanics and just enough puzzle solving to add an extra dimension without slowing the action to a crawl. That being said, if you buy Ultimate, do know what you are getting into: Ultimate has no real story, relies heavily on a few simple mechanics and the online play is not the strongest aspect. No game is all things for all people though, and Ultimate is certainly a quick recommendation for me.
The end result is a game that is a must buy for fans of this genre and a game that needs a look for anyone who appreciates a finely crafted game with subtle complexities and craftsmanship. PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate is available on Steam for $9.99 and is discounted 10% during launch week. There is a 20% discount for owners of PixelJunk Shooter on Steam, and if you own PixelJunk Monster, PixleJunk Eden or Nom Nom Galaxy, you save 5% for each game. All of these discounts combine, so if you are a PixelJunk addict, you can get Ultimate for a healthy discount.