PixelJunk Monsters 2 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Drew Hurley 17.06.2018

Review for PixelJunk Monsters 2 on Nintendo Switch

Since its initial instalment in 2007, the PixelJunk series has delivered a bevy of basic but enjoyable old-school games. The second in the series - the original PixelJunk Monsters - was an absolutely charming and stunning tower defence game that offered a serious challenge for completionists. Now, over ten years later, Q-Games is back with a sequel that's taking the series HD. For a while, Tower Defence games were super popular, but they have long since gone out of vogue, so is the audience still there for this type of game? Cubed3 finds out.

Tikiman is back; once again working to protect the lives of his chibis from wave after wave of masked monsters. The chibis sit at base camp while the waves of death slowly approach them, and the only way to save the day is to build towers at key points to pick off each enemy before they reach the helpless little creatures.

Each stage is filled with numerous paths from off-screen that each lead towards the home of the Tikiman and the chibis and, as the stage begins, a short animation shows how they will begin their assault; however, this only shows how the attack will begin. As the waves of enemies increase, they will change tactics and direction, meaning that planning for only the single vector can lead to disaster.

At first, Tikiman has only a handful of towers to build, separated into the categories of ground attack, air attack, or both. This is limited to a machinegun style anti-aircraft gun for flying creatures, a bombarding cannon for the ground enemies, and a crossbow for both. These mainstays are worth using throughout the game, like most tower defence titles. However, there are many other weapons to add to the arsenal. Tesla towers can shock all who come too close, Hive towers send bees to pester any enemy, laser towers decimate those in the air, and so on.

Screenshot for PixelJunk Monsters 2 on Nintendo Switch

Building these towers requires two forms of currency, both dropped by the various types of enemies that totter through the stages and balancing what to build dependent on the profile of the enemies on any given stage is quite tricky, often requiring a few attempts on the harder stages. Towers can be upgraded, too, either by spending a bit more currency or through the power of DANCE! By standing beside a tower, Tikiman gets his groove on and slowly upgrades the tower.

Should a level be completed with not a single loss of chibi life, a rainbow is awarded. Each stage has three difficulty levels - so three pieces of a rainbow to collect - and these rainbow pieces act as the gating mechanism to progress onto the next set of levels. Achieving a zero casualty rate on the harder levels is a considerable challenge and one that hardcore tower defence fans will adore. Those who find it a little too challenging would be wise to enlist the aid of friends. PixelJunk Monsters 2 supports co-op in both local couch co-op and online up to four players.

The art and animations are utterly charming. There is a strange claymation and stop-motion style that is a special type of good-looking, and there's the ability to get a better look at the world. While tower defence titles usually consist of a top-down point of view, looking from high above to give the best possible vantage, here the camera can zoom in to follow right behind Tikiman, and this is something well worth doing, seeing the environments and enemies up close and really showcasing the style.

Screenshot for PixelJunk Monsters 2 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Tower defence games may have lost their popularity somewhat in recent years but PixelJunk Monsters 2 shows why it exploded in the first place. It is insanely addictive and just the right level of challenging, although certain folk may find the frustrating elements a little too much to enjoy. Some will find achieving every perfect rating compulsive, while others will find it wholly off-putting. Regardless of the difficulty level, the one thing that really lets it down, though, is the pace during the stages. Occasionally, between waves, it really drags and nothing happens, and there's no way to fast-forward or speed up, leaving huge gaps where it's too tempting to put the game to one side and do something else. If you are making your audience want to do something else, what's keeping them playing?

Developer

Q-Games

Publisher

Spike Chunsoft

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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