Rather than providing the a traditional deathmatch scenario, Q-games has yet again brought us innovation, with a cat and mouse style face off between two players which utilizes a majority of the elements which make single player campaign so great. Each match consists of players alternating between playing defense and offense over the course of two rounds. While on offense, the objective is to fly around the map grabbing survivors and returning them one at a time to your respective home base. Meanwhile the defense is on the hunt to find their offensive opponent, equipped with a special field of view that only reveals their opponent’s location while they are in the line of sight. It adds yet another small twist to the gameplay, since whenever the rescuer is discovered it causes their ship to pause briefly, as if startled like a deer in headlights.
The control of the ships are slightly different from single player mode too, since firing standard shots cause the ship to repel backwards. It makes having an accurate shot that much more important, since firing and missing could give your prey the opportunity to escape. If the defense goes down during the pursuit, they respawn near their base about five seconds later, but once the offense is blown up an icon is dropped. Grabbing this icon causes players to switch roles, and once each has had an opportunity to score points the round ends. After two rounds the match ends, except in the event of a tie, where a bonus round takes place allowing a chance to break the stalemate.
At first, it would seem that the strategy here is still simple, but more is brought to the table than a simple chase and firing rockets at each other. Twenty new weapons and abilities have been included that aren’t seen in the single player. Examples include the power to temporarily invert your opponent’s controls, fire homing rockets, shoot triple rockets, or even launch a devastating lava ball. Other abilities let you invert gravity, the fluid inverter turns lava into water and vice versa, and yet another sends a tsunami of water through the level, sweeping all the survivors off screen. Tricky powers are here too, letting you instantly switch places with your enemy, reverse time by a few seconds for both players, and lay explosive mines in strategic locations. Three abilities can be chosen for use in each battle, and each has limited uses per match, so careful selection creates a layer of depth that will keep you coming back for more, as each new weapon can completely change your strategy.
Online competitive multiplayer includes two modes. The league mode which lets players earn money to buy new abilities with, and a private match mode allowing friends to compete just for fun. If that’s not enough, local co-op makes a return too, letting friends play together whether they’re near or far. Throughout all of it more music from High Frequency Bandwidth plays, maintaining the PixelJunk reputation for having great soundtracks.
It’s difficult to find fault with PixelJunk Shooter 2. The only facet in which the game seems to be lacking is with the story line. It opens with an explanation of current events, and each time a special survivor is found they have a small blurb of text regarding their surroundings, but beyond that the plot doesn’t evolve too much. However, by the end of the game it won’t matter much. Overall PixelJunk Shooter 2 shines in every way one could expect from a downloadable title, and it simply can’t come more highly recommended. If you enjoyed the original at all, just go buy the sequel now. PixelJunk Shooter 2 releases today, and makes a stellar addition to the PSN lineup.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
+ Innovative Fluids, Elements, and Suits
+ Challenging Puzzles