Thunderbolt logo

PixelJunk Monsters

Tower defense games are a dime a dozen on the Internet, and most notably free. Ever since the Flash games boom started, countless titles have taken the mold and made it their own. While PixelJunk Monsters could easily be overlooked as just another tower defense game, you’d be missing out on one of the most complete packages found on the PlayStation Network.

screenshot

Visually PixelJunk Monsters is one of the most darling games on the PlayStation 3. Environments and characters are extremely simple but well crafted. The designs, coupled with developer Q Games’ color choices combine to create an alluring title that will immediately appeal to gamers and non gamers alike. Further cementing the game’s irresistible charm is the soundtrack provided by Otograph. With well over twenty tracks scattered across both Monsters and Encore! (the expansion), music will never become repetitive. Most of the beats have an extremely relaxed feel, which melds seamlessly with the orderly nature of monster waves and tower creation.

Dive into PixelJunk MonstersPixelJunk Monsters soundtrack is also available for purchase on the PSN. Featuring 23 tracks and over 40 minutes of relaxing and enchanting tunes, by Otograph. Totally worth the small price of admission, even if you aren’t into video game music traditionally.Pushing the pleasing aesthetics of PixelJunk Monsters are the very same creatures that threaten your village. Although there aren’t a huge variety of monsters to vanquish, they all remain distinct from one another, not only in appearance but in the specific threats they pose. For example, Golems, while slow and having lots of HP, will require a different type of tower and strategy to the nimble swarms of spiders.

screenshot

As enemies are vanquished in PixelJunk Monsters you’ll have to run through the aftermath, picking up gold and gems. Gold is necessary to fund tower creation, while accumulating gems will grant access to more advanced and damaging tower types. Additionally, you’ll want to spend your downtime between building and dashing for money upgrading your current towers. Depending on the tower type and its current level, the next upgrade could improve one of four different attributes.

Paying attention to resources, your current arsenal of towers and the impending waves of monsters is still only a part of the strategy found in PixelJunk Monsters. Perhaps the most important aspect of defending your village is tower placement. The topography of maps is quite varied, and towers can only be erected where a tree once stood. Tree disbursement will be the first thing you acknowledge once starting a new level, specifically taking into account possible bottle necks for the monster waves.

screenshot

Beyond the core level progression, Q Games has gone a long way to lengthen the games’ lifespan. Most appealing to many players will be the offline co-op, allowing you to defend your village with a friend. If you found the single player fun, you’ll discover the addictive nature of Monsters is multiplied exponentially with the company of a friend. There’s nothing more satisfying than yelling at your friend to build a fire tower in the wake of a gang of impact resistant golems. Better yet when you fail, you’ll have a scapegoat.

PixelJunk Monsters has also seen its share of updates, introducing a slew of features and tweaks to flesh out an already great product. As with Q Games’ PixelJunk Eden, Monsters has seen the addition of Trophies and YouTube support, allowing you at any point to record your game and upload it. In addition to free updates, an entire new island was introduced in the aforementioned expansion. PixelJunk Monsters Encore! not only added an entire new island , but also a new tower and a random level generator to keep the hardcore Monsters player occupied forever, theoretically. Encore! also tweaked the difficulty, catering more to the hardened Monsters fan.

screenshot

Admittedly, PixelJunk Monsters doesn’t offer too much different from many tower defense titles, but what it lacks in originality it more than makes up in polish. The games’ appeal will suck you into its delightful little world of organized chaos and won’t let go until the whole island is safe. Along the way, as you’re cleansing the world of these misunderstood creatures, you may find yourself feeling bad for the adorable little saps.

9 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in April 2008. Get in touch on Twitter @_seankelley.

Gentle persuasion

Like chit chat? Join the forum.