Angry Robot

Pixel Junk Monsters!

Okay I am so not one for strategy games, I tend to stay away from them. Real-time, turn-based, whatever I just don’t believe in my mental prowess at keeping the forces of evil at bay with strategic placements from my mind. It’s not low self confidence, it’s just a fact that I’m impulsive and I don’t have the patience to handle long, drawn out battles.

Moving on, Pixel Junk Monsters is on the Playstation Network for the PS3 and even though it is a fairly simple game the graphics are startingly beautiful and unique. They are a mix of bizzare cuteness. Take this Turtle Dude Thing Man for instance.

So the game is simple: defend your home and babies by placing different kinds of towers along a set path that is constantly attacked with waves of monsters. The monsters range from quick moving, low to the ground attackers, slow air raiding monsters, and huge hulking monsters that take lots of firepower to bring down. There’s a wide variety of towers to choose from, which can be upgraded by using gems stones from fallen enemies or standing near the towers and dancing (cute) til they upgrade. Upgrades mean faster rounds with more power. If you save your gems you can buy and research new towers. The more advanced the enemies the more specific your towers need to be.

The thing that got me about this game was that I was totally drawn in even though it was strategy. In fact, when I failed a few of the medium maps I was driven by this crazy need to continue. It was like “okay that didn’t work let’s try this way” over and over again. I had played it for over an hour before I realized how much time had passed. It was crazy! I wasn’t frustrated by my lack of advancement, I was intrigued.

Every so often I get this twinge in my gut to play chess, but I think I suck at chess so I hardly ever indulge. I fire up the ‘ol digital representation and play on normal against the computer. Most times I get murdered by my impulsive short-sighted nature. Yet, every now and then I actually win. The feeling I get from winning chess is unlike any other. Chess for me means I’ve achieved this special sort of higher brain function. Maybe it comes from always losing to my dad and my sister when I was younger. I see a chess board as a battefield, even though it’s not like that at all really. I mean it is, but there are more effective games for emulating battle.

Chess is something else, it is a slow and deliberate attempt by two people to disarm and destroy the most important part of the other’s kingdom: The King. Playing Pixel Junk Monsters had me defending, desperately at times, a whole nest full of kings. Some enemies got through, and some of my kings died, by as long as one was left there was still hope of success. When I finished a map and mastered the way a certain pathway should be defended, I felt that same higher brain function fulfillment. I felt like I was a good soldier, that I was supposed to protect and I did so efficiently.

Very cerebral for a simply strategy game I know. Maybe that’s why I like it so much. This simple game made me feel so good, so intrigued, and I pushed myself to get better and better at it.

That’s what makes a good game. Pixel Junk Monsters is a game type that has been done before, but for me this version swayed and conquered me. Now that’s something to be excited about as a gamer. When a game surprises you with both its simplicity and how much pleasure you derive from playing it.

2 comments on "Pixel Junk Monsters!"

  1. D says:

    Just got a bit curious about the tower defense genre, having heard all about Desktop Tower Defense and how awesome it is (I’m hanging my head in shame right now for never having played it but what can I say, carpal tunnel). There’s some comparison here of different flash tower defense games and this comment points out that it started with a Warcraft 3 custom map called “tower defense”. More here

    So if this game has opened the strategy doors for you, you should totally try Advance Wars. OK I’ll shut up now about Advance Wars.

  2. Nadine says:

    I dunno if the doors have been open, I think I just wanna hang around this one doorway til I master it completely…training that brain muscle of mine…

    Baby steps for me, baby steps. Though it would be killer to play Pixel Junk Monsters on the DS…so killer…

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