Platforms: Win, Mac, Linux, PS3, PSP, PS Vita, Wii U
I’m not sure what it is about the PixelJunk series of games from Q-Games, but they keep drawing me in to play games in genres I’m not a huge fan of. PixelJunk Eden is basically a very very pretty platformer, and I love every minute of it. PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate is a tower defense game, and although I usually find tower defense games to be either tedious, or frustratingly hard, this one is somehow neither.
I figure this probably means one of two things. The first could be that this is just a very simplistic tower defense game, which would make it pretty unsatisfying for most veterans of the genre. The second is that, any minute now, the difficulty is going to jump high enough that it will feel somewhat like getting hit in the face with a rather large brick. For, now, however, I’m having a heck of a time.
Once you pass the tutorial level, you start out with access to three kinds of towers. The first shoots arrows, and can hit either ground or flying units. The second is a cannon, which will hit closely grouped ground units. The third is a turret, which will only strike flying units. Towers can be placed wherever there is a tree on the map, and you can place as many as you can afford.
You can never engage the enemies directly, but because they drop gems and coins when they die, you want to try to be nearby, as those wont stick around forever. If you accidentally run into one of the monsters, you are temporarily stunned and you drop coins which you need to re-gather. Gems can be spent at your hut to open up new kinds of towers. The different colored flags on your towers represent tower level, and if you wish to increase the level of a particular tower, you can do so either by spending gems or dancing next to it.
If one or more monsters reaches your hut, they will take away one of the small people that are standing there – run out of small people, and it’s level over. The bar in the lower left hand corner of the screen will let you know what types of monsters are coming up, but don’t really give any hint to the density you can expect, and in later levels where there are multiple routes, which way they will be coming from.
So far, I’ve experienced up to twenty waves of monsters per level, and some waves have extra challenge, like one I played today where the monsters dropped no gold, so making sure you had enough towers was a lot more difficult. There are just shy of 50 different level layouts, with an island that will randomly generate levels for you. There’s also both local and online co-op play available, so there’s plenty to do here.
For all the game it offers you, $10 is reasonable enough for PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate. But if you’re on the fence, or you just really like a good deal, you can pick it up as part of this bundle with 7 other games for only $2.99*. If you have even the slightest interest in tower defense games, I have no doubt you’ll get your money’s worth that way.
*Although no expiration date is listed as of this writing, no good bundle lasts forever.