|System: PS3 (PSN)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Q-Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Q-Games / SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 24, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
It seems that both the Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network are coming out with some pretty cool downloadable titles these days. But if I had to pick which one had the most memorable and best quality original titles, I would really have to go with the PlayStation Network.
From Everyday Shooter to Pain, they really have some great content available on their network, and I would be tempted to say that I enjoy their downloadable titles more than the ones available at your local game store. One series that is emerging on the network as a powerhouse on the downloadable front is the PixelJunk series. Last year's PixelJunk Racers was pretty good as a bite-sized slot racing game, and left many wanting more. This year we see the PixelJunk series travel into the realm of bite-sized real-time strategy with PixelJunk Monsters.
PixelJunk Monsters has definitely been on the radar for awhile. The idea of taking the RTS genre, which is usually grand in scope, and paring it down into a casual-style downloadable title was an ambitious prospect. I knew going into this game that it was either going to be a great success or a resounding failure. But the good news is that the folks at Q-Games have proven once again they know how to make a downloadable game. PixelJunk Monsters can definitely be described as a simplified RTS game, but its basic format does not hamper its faithfully-adapted RTS gameplay in any way.
The gameplay features a fort defense system where you act as the guardian of a group of small citizens. Foes of differing size, stature, and weakness will come approach your home base in differing formations, and it will be up to you to construct different battle structures. These battle structures include weaponry like bows, cannons, and anti-aircraft fire to destroy the invading monsters. Each weapon has different targeting and range capabilities, and it will be up to you to use the terrain and your enemy's troop patterns to discern the most effective placement of these battle structures. However, you can't just build structures for free. You start off with a budget, and then you have to earn money by killing the monsters before they reach your fort. You can also earn little upgrade gems that will increase the range or power of your pre-existing battle structure.
The gameplay in PixelJunk Monsters is an absolute blast to play, and the incorporation of the different battle structures and the cost/upgrade system is sure to please die-hard RTS fans. But as I stated before, PixelJunk Monsters is a micro RTS game. So where does it cut corners? PixelJunk Monsters wisely trims the fat when it comes to stage scope and story. Stages are fairly small, require no scrolling and only reach the edges of your screen. There are no sweeping environments, and the game takes what can only be described as a minimalist approach to the different levels in the game. So this is definitely not your scrolling RTS epic akin to Final Fantasy Tactics, but it will keep you interested and strategizing.