Review: Pixel Junk Monsters 2 (Switch) - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Friday, June 8, 2018

Review: Pixel Junk Monsters 2 (Switch)

by James Charlton

It's Tiki-time!

For me, tower defence games have always been simple throwaway affairs will thousands of incrementally difficult stages. Along come Q-Games and their newly invigorated Pixel Junk series to prove me wrong!

First up, it has to be said this game is beautiful. The graphics sit somewhere between a Pixar animation and claymation, stunningly rendered with colourful textures and great animation. Most of the action takes place from an overhead view, but with a tap of ZR you can zoom into a third person view from behind Tikiman’s (the main character) back. The depth of field effect is used really well, and everything looks so good you can’t help but want to play the whole game this way.

However that is not recommended! The waves of enemies come at you thick and fast, and you really need an expanded view to accurately strategise what to do next. I may even argue that an even more zoomed out view would benefit the game more (Editor’s note: this has been announced by the developers to be part of an upcoming patch).

There are basically three types of towers to build; ground, air, or both. You start off with simple arrows and cannons, but later on get Tesla coils, ice cannons, and even more exotic weapons (no spoilers). Towers can be built with coins, and upgraded with gems, all of which drop on the floor when you defeat enemies. It’s up to you to collect this currency from the floor with Tikiman, making him a very busy guy when things get hectic.

You can also upgrade towers by standing near to them and dancing, which will speed up their natural levelling up process. It’s up to you to decide which towers need upgrading instantly with gems, or ones that can be more leisurely levelled up with the power of dance.

As you could imagine, with so many things for your character to do, things can become very difficult in the later stages. There are no quick-select menus or macros to do things for you, so this very much feels like plate spinning at times. Things do get hard very quickly, especially considering you have to perfect a stage to unlock the other worlds. Completing without a perfect (i.e. one or more of your Tiki children dies) will unlock the next stage in that world, but even if you clear all stages it will not unlock the next world unless you get a bunch of perfect rainbows. The developers basically ask you to read the (optional) tutorials, perfect your craft and get good before allowing you to move on.

The stages are dense and beautifully designed, probably because the developers knew you will be seeing the same stages again and again until you get those rainbows. One downer on that point however is that the loading times are quite long, meaning quick replays are not that “quick” after all.

This game supports both local and online multiplayer, plus global and friend leaderboards. There is also DLC available for purchase from the start, including a Danganronpa pack, so once you complete all the preloaded content, there’s plenty to keep you coming back.

Overall this is a well crafted game that takes a usually stale genre and makes it vibrant and interesting. If you like a strategic challenge, and enjoy thinking on your feet, it’s definitely worth a look.

Final Score: 8.0

Review code provided by the publisher

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