The Pixeljunk brand is a series of downloadable games for the PlayStation 3. Every Pixeljunk title is presented in full 1080p HD and are unique downloadable games for the PlayStation Store. We weren't too impressed with the first Pixeljunk title, Pixeljunk Racers, which was really just a top down racing game with far too many restrictions and some extremely boring gameplay. Q-Games has followed up Pixeljunk Racers with Pixeljunk Monsters, a strategy title, but does the gameplay stand up or is this game another pile of pixel junk?
Pixeljunk Monsters is a strategy tower defense title where you have to create towers to destroy a bundle of enemies from attacking your little team of creatures. Players take control of a character without weapons, in fact the only attacking comes in the form of the towers your character will create.
It all starts off relatively simple, in any given level there are dozens of trees and ten waves of enemies. You'll start off creating one simple tower, which may be sufficient to deal with the first wave of enemies, probably not though. So, more towers will need to be created, but of course, towers cost money. Coins are collected by defeating the waves of enemies, as more enemies are defeated more coins are awarded and thus, more towers have to be built. There are different types of enemies, some ground, some air and also different types of towers. A cannon for example can attack enemies on the ground rather well, but is useless against enemies like spiders, which run rather fast.
Rather than continuously build towers players can upgrade their existing towers with gems, which can be collected by defeating enemies. Gems are quite a bit more elusive than coins though and they have a few different purposes. Gems can be used to automatically upgrade a tower, or when enough are collected more advanced towers (such as towers that shoot ice beams) can be unlocked. While the character you take control of doesn't have any weapons, if you walk him in front of a tower he can dance, which will improve your tower's attacking and defensive abilities. If a tower suddenly becomes redundant there is also the option to sell it as well.
It may sound a little complex but Pixeljunk Monsters is a game that's remarkably easy to pickup. As you progress through the game more towers are unlocked and the enemies become even more complex. It quickly becomes second nature to build specific towers at the beginning of a level and upgrade your towers as you get enough gems. After just a few levels most players will be hooked on the gameplay and it's very difficult to put the game down. The game also includes leaderboards and support for remote play. Two players can also play together offline and complete a level together, which is a handy inclusion.
Pixeljunk Monsters is a clever game that's ideally suited to the PlayStation Network. The game is surprisingly addictive and the fact that it's so easy to get to grips with makes the game an easy recommendation. Pixeljunk Racers may have been a large bore, but Q-Games more than makes up for it with Pixeljunk Monsters, which is easily one of the best titles on the PlayStation Network.