Tower Defence is back again! And in 3D?
One of the first ‘little’ games I really got into on the PlayStation 3 was PixelJunk Monsters. A cute little tower defence game with a cooperative mode, you played Tikiman looking after the village of Chibis.
I bought PixelJunk Monsters on many platforms, with my favourite version being the ‘ultimate’ Vita version. I could keep explaining the game, or I can just show you:
Looking through the Nintendo eShop last night for a completely different game (which I will probably write about tomorrow), I came across an amazing piece of news.
PixelJunk Monsters was getting a sequel! Yes, PixelJunk Monsters 2, already out on Steam and PlayStation 4, is coming to the Nintendo Switch!
I will admit, I feel Steam and PlayStation should have been shouting about this release a lot harder. PixelJunk Monsters is one of those unique gems, a perfect mix of casual but challenging gameplay that kept you coming back.
So without hesitation, I downloaded the demo and began playing. There have been changes, but on the whole the main simple and addictive gameplay is intact. I probably shouldn’t have been up playing Destiny 2 again – I could have been concentrating on this!
The first major change is art style. No longer the cute 2D cartoonish look, PixelJunk Monsters 2 has gone 3D! I was raised eyebrow going in, but it does look great, and the claymation style keeps the cute atmosphere of the original with ease.
So a couple of little things that hit me right away.
Firstly – in the overview/top-down views, you can’t see the whole map. Not a major issue, as you need to learn the maps, timings and attacks anyway. You can move the camera to see other areas, but this was a big change right out of the gate.
Secondly, in the third person view on the Switch, the graphics aren’t quite as sharp as those seen in the trailer but still looked fantastic and silky smooth.
It’s important to note neither point is a negative in my opinion, they just are. First loading the game (especially having just watched the trailer) these just stood out, so it’s a heads up only.
So now good points!
Firstly, it’s back. PixelJunk Monsters 2 instantly felt like home. I more or less inhaled the original game, and it was a perfect handheld companion so I can’t wait to jump in all the way on the switch.
Gameplay wise, very little seems to have changed, but there may be extra surprises as I am just playing the demo.
Secondly, and probably my favourite and what I am looking forward to, your character Tikiman now has new abilities. Being able to build defences out of the surrounding trees and dance their way to new strengths remains. But now you can jump enemies (and terrain if you are stuck), and if you do it just right can Mario jump bounce enemies for a direct hit.
There are also items around the world as seen in the PixelJunk Monsters 2 trailer, such as boulders that can be pushed down the paths. Here the new 3D terrain makes a lot more sense, as you can visualise the rolling path of the boulder even more. Looks like I don’t have as long a wait for Fireball Island as I thought!
The final change I am looking forward to – co-operative play. Just like in the original, you can couch co-op two players, so that will be great and I know just who to play with (Rabbit, I am looking at you). But now you can do online co-op play with up to 3 other people!
Obviously later this year you will need to upcoming Nintendo Online to do this, and the fact is a third party chat app because you must coordinate with the other players. This can be seen as negatives, and couch co-op is just a heap of fun.
But I am looking forward to it because I loved the challenge tweaks of the originals two player mode, so a host of new challenges should await!