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PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate combines Q-Games' two previous shooters into one neat package. While not the deepest shooting experience, this Steam release has a lot of content and some fun suits to fly around in. And with hundreds of scientists to rescue and hidden gems to collect, you'll be at this game for some time to come. Rating: 71%
PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate
PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate
  • Review Score:

  • B
As the old adage goes: Great shooters never die; they live forever on new consoles. After winning over critics and fans on the PlayStation 3, Q-Games' PixelJunk Shooter franchise has spent the last few years jumping from one console to the next. Now, at long last, PC gamers will finally have a chance to finish the fight with all the stages and boss battles that were once exclusive to PlayStation platforms.

Much like the package released last year on PlayStation 4 and PS Vita, this "Ultimate" edition bundles both 2009's PixelJunk Shooter and its 2011 sequel into one seamless game. With more than 150 stages spread out over six different areas, PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate offers players a surprisingly deep experience full of unique power-ups and puzzling level designs.

You play a subterranean vehicle sent to rescue a bunch of unlucky scientists trapped underground. You fly around a large 2D environment breaking down walls, fighting enemies and grabbing each of the stranded men and women. Once you've collected all of the scientists, the exit door will open and it's off to the next stage to do it all over again.

Our subterranean vehicle is equipped with two types of rockets -- the standard vanilla variety and homing. While it's tempting to hold down the fire button and send homing missiles everywhere, players will quickly discover this is a dangerous move. Not only will these rockets speed towards enemies, but they also have a bad habit of blowing up innocent scientists. What's more, launching too many missiles will overheat the ship, leading to certain death.

As our subterranean vehicle takes damage (or flies close to hot, hot magma), the ship's heat gauge increases. Overheating the ship will cause it to explode, usually resulting in a fiery death on the rocks below. Players can cool off by flying into water or simply spending a couple minutes away from the heat.

The fire and water dynamic is introduced early on, but it's far from the only mechanic you'll find in PixelJunk Shooter. As we dig deeper underground, our flying vehicle discovers a number of helpful suits that make solving puzzles a lot easier. One of the first suits has us spraying water and picking up blocks of ice. Similarly, the Magma Suit allows us to fly into hot areas and melt ice.

PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Then there's the Inverter Suit, which suddenly makes water deadly. The Anti-Magnet Suit repels and diverts streams of magnetic fluids, which is more useful than you might think. There's also the Light Suit, which illuminates dark passages. Solving the hundreds of puzzles would be impossible without the help of these suits.

And then there's the Hungry Suit; by far the worst part of PixelJunk Shooter. This onerous suit strips away the ability to fly, forcing the player to slowly eat through walls of dirt. These stages reminded me of Dig Dug, and not in a good way. The Hungry Suit slows down the action and those levels tend to drag on far too long. And without a single checkpoint, I cursed the creator of the suit every time I was forced to start the stage over from scratch.

While they aren't separated in this "Ultimate" edition, it's easy to see where PixelJunk Shooter ends and the sequel starts. Suddenly we go from fighting through underground tunnels to getting swallowed by a giant creature. The final three areas are certainly the most interesting and feature the best puzzles. I was always curious what type of obstacle the game would throw at me next, and I was rarely disappointed.

When not saving scientists (and mining hidden gems), you'll be fighting PixelJunk Shooters' many large bosses. Not unlike the old school shoot-em-ups that inspired this package, these bosses are massive in size and have multiple parts to destroy. Memorizing the enemy's patterns won't be enough, because often the attacks will change halfway through. Fans of the 8- and 16-bit shooters of yesteryear will get a kick out of some of these battles.

PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

And don't let anybody tell you that PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate is a short game. There are hundreds of scientists to search out, including a few hidden characters that develop the story. Players looking to collect everything will be at it for days, while even casual players will get their money's worth. Throw in the two-player cooperative mode and the competitive battles, and the $10 asking price is a steal.

For a game with the word "Shooter" right in the title, I was letdown by the action in this newest PixelJunk release. The two types of missiles get the job done, but they aren't especially interesting. Sadly, neither are the enemies. The different suits help to liven things up, but even that is mostly used for puzzle solving and not traditional shoot-em-up action. If anything, this game should have been called PixelJunk Rescue.

Although it's hitting Steam years after the initial release, Pixel Junk Shooter Ultimate was worth the wait. I wish the shooting was a little deeper and I could have done without the Hungry Suit, but this is an easy game to recommend for both casual and hardcore fans of the genre.
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