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PixelJunk Monsters/Encore Review

A very addicting game

PixelJunk has been a stalwart series of games for Sony's PlayStation Network. Always full of innovation and fresh ideas, PixelJunk has carved a name for itself as a unique powerhouse on the PSN. Monsters was released back in 2008 (for North America) and was developed by Q-Games. Rooted with the primary focus of tower defense Q-Games also threw in a great mix of strategy and rpg elements. I will tell you right now, Monsters is fun and easy to get into, but difficult to master. You shouldn't be surprised to find yourself playing a stage 5 or more times later in the solo game. As you will struggle quite a bit to finish and meet your next stress-filled stage.

The very first stage is treated as a type of "tutorial" level. Although there isn't much in the way of the game teaching you how you should do things. Which is part of the long lasting appeal of PixelJunk Monsters. It lets you play and figure it out on your own; something that is rare to see in modern gaming. One of the beauty's about Monsters is the ability to learn from your mistakes. There is always a better strategy that could be enforced. Pay attention to the map and your surroundings, because you need to see every possible point of entry those evil creatures will be coming from.

These aerial baddies are pests

When you have the routes figured out you then need to then figure out what towers to build, where to build them and how devoted you are going to be about leveling that tower up. These three factors better be decided on quickly, because you don't have that much time. The enemies will already be coming for your village of helpless citizens. There is a wide array of towers to choose from; arrows, cannons, anti-air, ice, fire, Tesla, hive, mortar, etc. Each one has its pros and cons plus what it can attack. Arrow towers can attack ground and air enemies, but cannons can only attack ground. With that in mind arrow towers are weak, but shoot relatively fast in comparison to the cannon towers.

Each tower also has five levels. Green, Yellow, Red, Purple and Black. Each level improves one attribute of your tower. There are two ways to level up these towers as well. You can either spend gems that you have collected from trees or fallen enemies or you can dance by them. Dancing adds experience points to the towers bar, while using a gem will jump it to the next level immediately. There is a catch however, Yellow takes one gems, Red takes two gems, Purple takes three gems. So managing your gems becomes a crucial live or die plan. One other thing about gems, they can also be used to buy locked towers (Fire, Hive, Mortar, Tesla and more) or use gems to buy a higher percentage of coins at the end of each wave of baddies.

I SAID THIS WAS A NO-FLY ZONE!

As for the towers themselves, I hope you didn't think you could build them anywhere on the stage you wanted to. You still can build them anywhere, you know, as long as there is a tree there for you to build on. You see towers need trees to be built. Here is the great thing though, the trees also make the routes the bad guys have to take to get to your village. So design a defensive strategy that places the right towers in the right spot to lead to quick victory.

As the stages go on you can fully expect the difficulty to increase. New variants of earlier enemies will start coming for you in either double health or shielded variants. Arrows work perfectly for the original ant type creatures, but later on they gain shields and arrows do nothing against them.

Score: 8.5/10

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