July 3, 2012

Review – PixelJunk 4am

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 7:03 pm

Review PixelJunk 4am
Though very nearly missing the boat on the latest release from Q-Games, I’ve finally stolen time with the title in recent days, which has proved a curious and intimidating affair.

Setting aside the presence of a very helpful tutorial for a moment, there’s a point at which the player begins their first performance, where music tracks begin to play and the trippy visualizer takes over the television screen, and the terrifying realization that one must find a way to create can feel a bit paralyzing and confusing.

Not unlike a frightened animal, I began flailing my limbs, which armed with a PlayStation Move controller exposed the interactive potential to manipulate the audio. Initially, the experience is similar to prehistoric man striking at objects with a leftover dinner bone to find a marvelous world of sounds all around. As a modern man, armed with said Move controller, I was no less perplexed and fascinated by the possibilities – the great discovery of the potential to create coupled with the terrible burden of making some sense of the opportunity, emerging from the cave with fresh experience for the trouble.

While I’m fashionably late to the party, PixelJunk 4am has picked up a bit of a reputation for being a terribly difficult game to review – fair enough given that there is no scoring system or end goal in the traditional sense. But the actual playing of 4am isn’t nearly so hard to nail down, so maybe that’s a good place to start.


November 4, 2011

Review – PixelJunk: SideScroller

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Mister Raroo @ 1:00 pm

Review PixelJunk SideScroller
Way back in 1990, when I was but a freshman in high school, I received R-Type for the TurboGrafx-16 as a Christmas present. As anyone who has played the game knows, it is an absolutely punishing horizontal shooter. I lost count of how many times I blasted off to destroy the evil Bydo Empire only to be met with failure, and I’m not too ashamed to admit that I never cleared the final stage. Nevertheless, I refused to give up, and in fact, the game’s extreme difficulty level may have made me love it more.

R-Type requires players to methodically conquer each stage one small step at a time. Getting just a tiny bit further in a level is cause for celebration. The more I played, the further I eventually progressed, learning exactly where on the screen I needed to position my humble spacecraft at any given moment. I can’t think of any other shooter in which so much trial-and-error, memorization, and perseverance is required to succeed.

“But Mister Raroo,” you might wonder, “Why are you spending so much time talking about R-Type in a PixelJunk: SideScroller review?”

Because, dear readers, playing SideScroller is very much like playing Irem’s masterpiece. SideScroller is clearly a love letter to the classic horizontal shooter genre of yore, and it contains elements that bring to mind games like Gradius and Darius, though more than anything, I couldn’t help but think it would fit most comfortably in the R-Type family.


September 18, 2011

Review – Star Fox 64 3D

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 1:49 pm

Review Star Fox 64 3DS
Nintendo and Q-Games have joined their power rings together to bring the definitive version of Star Fox back for the 3DS. It’s a sensible partnership considering that the N64 release owes its existence and primary ideas to the original Star Fox on the Super Nintendo, and the unreleased Star Fox 2 – titles forever linked to Q-Games president Dylan Cuthbert.

This remake is also a beacon of hope for a series that has often appeared to baffle Nintendo, and in many ways was left keeping company with Metroid on the outer rungs of Nintendo’s famous franchise list.

Depending on your feelings toward last year’s release of Metroid: Other M, you may or may not agree that Star Fox has received far less respect over the years, often acting like a square tube Nintendo frustratingly attempted to squeeze through a circular hole – whether calling team Star Fox into service to make Rare’s Dinosaur Planet more marketable with Star Fox Adventures (2002) on the GameCube, or attempting to force the series into a more robust but less focused action game with Star Fox Assault (2005) on that same system.


June 9, 2010

PixelJunk Rhythm

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , , , , , — Aileen Viray @ 4:12 pm

PixelJunk Rhythm
Coming late to the PS3 scene, I wasn’t able to participate in the excitement of some releases that would have otherwise been day one purchases for me, one in particular being PixelJunk Shooter. Luckily, the PlayStation Store included the whole PixelJunk series in its “Spring Fever” sale on the first weekend of May, when I coincidentally had a sudden breakout of unemployment calling for a mix of vacation and celebration, leading me to purchase the whole series.

From the first five minutes of playing Shooter, I found myself especially drawn in by the art style and music. I plowed through the game, bobbing my head up and down while a rhythm of satisfaction came from destroying cavern walls with missiles and a personal mission that my subterranean ship would never leave any survivors stranded in those underground areas.

I became an instant Q-Games Fan.


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