Should You Buy PixelJunk SideScroller? Yes

Should You Buy PixelJunk SideScroller? Yes

PixelJunk SideScroller is the latest PS3 title from Q-Games. The Kyoto-based game studio continues to churn out high quality digital games for the PS3 under its PixelJunk banner. SideScroller is a vector-infused side-scrolling shooter.

You shoot at enemies with one of three weapons you have, which you can ungrade through power-ups. The game scrolls as you play. You shoot. If you’ve played classic side-scrollers like Gradius, you’ll be on familiar ground. That’s doesn’t mean this game is a retro rehash–not at all.

Brian Ashcraft, who has found his new favourite shooter: Man, this is a good game. PixelJunk continuously surprises and delights as it effortlessly leaps from genre to genre, producing not only incredibly-polished, but wonderfully-inventive takes on familiar favourites. Yes, this is a side-scroller, but it’s unlike any side-scroller I’ve ever played.

There are the obligatory giant bosses and haze of projectiles, but the game incorporates elements like solids and liquids, fire and ice in a compelling and interesting way that makes the game more than simply shooting at something and having it blow-up.

Yet, even just as a pure shooter — and I love these types of shooters — SideScroller delivers and dazzles. The enemies are familiar, but still fresh. And the giant bosses are… giant.

My favourite thing about Q-Games is the obsessive attention to detail and the way they make everything just so. These titles are made by people obsessed with making high-quality games. It’s at a level that’s rarely seen outside of Nintendo games and every PixelJunk game I fire up, I can’t help but think that I’m playing something special.

The flourishes, from a retro arcade monitor to the “Insert Coin” prompt, create an arcade experience you never had, but only wish you could have. All this, and it’s set to some truly chill music. I’ve always enjoyed unwinding to shooters, and PixelJunk: SideScroller is my new relax remedy. So is it worth picking up? Yes.

Evan Narcisse, non-player who thinks that PixelJunk Eden is a woefully under-appreciated gem of a game with a killer soundtrack: I have a sad, shameful story with SideScroller, which is that I’ve just kinda not made time for it. The last few times Sony’s done media tours in NYC, I’ve had every intention to give a thorough hands-on but have gottten caught up in other stuff. I do know that it’s the game that the characters play inside of the PixelJunk Shooter fiction. I saw it as Chris was capturing the video for yesterday’s piece but was too busy to actually pick up the Dualshock.

Nevertheless, it re-kindled all my old love of Robotron 2084 and Defender. I love the meta-approach to presentation they’ve taken and it seems like the experience should fall in line with the rest of Q-Games’ well-crafted library. Yes, that’s a yes. Yes.

Stephen Totilo, who never met a PixelJunk game he could bring himself to dislike: The thing about games from the people at Q-Games is that they simultaneously exhibit very good, fundamentally-sound gameplay and a modern, stylish appreciation for early gaming aesthetics. With SideScroller they’ve made a game that plays like an 80s or 90s pattern-based fast-scolling arcade shoot-em-up, looks like it’s running in an old monitor full of scan lines and sounds, thanks to the Japanese voice-actress calling out your weapon changes and the excellent, driving soundtrack, like you’re doing something cool while you’re playing the game.

This is the total package of retro-chic style and substance. I only needed to play three levels to fall for what is now one of my favourite PlayStation 3 games of the year. Plus: it passed the wife test. My wife thought it was cool, and doesn’t think that many games that I play are cool. She played it and wants to play it more. Should you buy it? Yes.

Gut Check is an off-the-cuff impression of what we think of a game: what we’d tell a friend; how we’d respond on Twitter or Facebook or over a beer if someone asked us “Would you buy this game?”


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