The strategy-rich PSN hit, 'PixelJunk Monsters' makes its way onto the Playstation Portable in a deluxe offering.
So, I’m addicted. ‘Pixel Junk Monsters’ is one of those “nerd” games that keeps you up at night playing “just one more round.” Its sweet and simple gameplay is so addictive that you might just find your relationships and social life taking a back turn, that is, until now. ‘PixelJunk Monsters,’ which started as a PSN downloadable has now made its way over to the PSP, so now you, can take your addiction with you on the go. This means no more lost hours at home playing ‘Pixel’ while you girlfriend/boyfriend wants you to come over, now you can be the light in their eyes and bring ‘Pixel Junk’ right over to their house.... it’s better then nothing, no? Better yet, pick up another copy and the games co-op mode with friends.
Coming into ‘PixelJunk’ as late bloomer, I have to wonder what took so long. The series has been a hit on the PSN, and reviewed by critics. However, it wasn’t until I was tasked with reviewing the product that I found my way into its creative arms. Now for the gamers who have already played ‘Pixel’ on the PSN, ‘PixelJunk Monsters: Deluxe’ for the PSP is an easy win. Even though you have already been through the stages on the console, the portable nature of the Playstation Portable is all you need. This deluxe offering combines the original game and its downloadable add-on ‘Encore,’ along with some new levels, enemies, and towers, making it the “ultimate edition” of ‘PixelJunk.’
The Tiki Hut
Adding even more goodies, there is a ‘Tiki Hit’ off the main menu that brings up some additional content like concept art, and other special features. However, most importantly a ‘Challenge Mode’ that is associated with the mission in the game and playable at any time from this menu. These challenges called ‘Medal Challenge(s)’ have different objectives to complete on each map, like clearing the stage with a certain amount of gems left over, or beating a selected stage without using certain towers. Aside from the endless hours you will pour into the main game, the Medal Challenges offers up even more incentives to keep you playing.
Strategy Defensive Style
‘PixelJunk’ is a simple game to understand and easy to learn, but hard to master. It is basically a RTS strategy game that falls into the subgenre of as a “Tower Defense” game. The object is simple, set up your defences to ward off oncoming enemies. The strategy involved is tower placement and resource management. In ‘PixelJunk’, you need to harvest resources that are dropped by enemies, or found in the environments. Money is used to purchase towers, and gems are used to either upgrade your towers strength or to make a new type of tower. The system is simplified and isn’t overly complex, like other RTS games, which is party responsible for the games wide-reach and overwhelming response.
Keeping it Simple
The simple approach carries over to the enemy and tower variations, ‘PixelJunk’ never needlessly complicates the game and has an appropriate learning curve. The enemies (monsters) and their cutesy looks march on the ground, or come at you by flight. They vary in speed, size and strength. There is an appropriate tower to use against each monster with the biggest separation between ground and air towers/monsters. Towers have a little more statistic grinding behind them with distinct attributes to help you strategically take down the enemies. Speed, power, and range are vary import to keep an eye on, along with a little meter on the bottom of the screen that tells you what enemies are qued up next. Being prepared is very important, as you will likely learn early on in your defensive duties.
In game you control a little pixel-dude who has the ability to convert trees into towers. Each level has different paths carved out of the trees, giving multiple options for defence. Each level is different in the percentage of trees and open spaces. Secondly, the levels can have rivers and ponds, and other objects like bridges to contend with. Each level has a strategic way to leverage the enemies, making for some sweet ambush scenarios. The world of 'PixelJunk' doesn’t really make sense, and that is ok. ‘PixelJunk’ has its own brand of cartoonish artistic flair that makes it all work. The style, music, and quality is on par with your expectations of a PSP title, which is nice considering its downloadable roots.
‘PixelJunk Monsters: Deluxe’ is one game strategy fans should not overlook. Trust me; I am still kicking myself for not checking out ‘PixelJunk’ earlier. It is that good! On the PSP, or in its original form over the Playstation Network, ‘PixelJunk’ is a highly addictive, fun, strategy game that will keep you happily busy for hours on end. The portable nature of the PSP makes ‘PixelJunk’ even more appealing because of the games short mission design and ease of action. This is the perfect type of game to pick up and play when you are on the go... just make sure you have the reserve to power down your PSP, if you have an important appointment to attend. The verdict is easy, ‘PixelJunk Monsters: Deluxe’ is a must have.
Gameplay:10, Graphics:9.5, Sound:9.0, Innovation:8.5, Mojo:10 Final: 9.4 / 10
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 05.11.10