3 min read

What makes Pixel Junk Shooter so great?

Pixel Junk Shooter is literally - a scroller shooter. But how much of it's compelling experience is made by great connection between game mechanics and visuals. Curious? Read on.

I really enjoy my time spent on playing Pixel Junk Shooter. I haven't finished it yet, currently I'm in 3rd stage. I'd beaten two interesting bosses and got addicted to the game mechanics. From developer perspective, meantime, I started asking myself a question: What makes this game so great?

[YouTube ref: Pixel Junk Shooter]

I found this game by reading various reviews and watching movie clips like that one above. First thing I noticed, was how well game mechanics and visuals are connected. Literally it's just a scroller shooter, but much of its spirit is made by fantastic 2d fluid simulation presented visually in very attractive way. If you're a programmer interested in further investigation, take a look at below movie, it shows similar concept:

[YouTube ref: Fluid Physics Demo in C#/.NET Framework]

Above clip shows an application developed by Microsoft MVP Rene Schulte. Rene published .NET Framework sources on his personal pages. He's programmed basic example of technology that can inspire for Pixel Junk Shooter alike physics in games. The only technical problem left to do, is that in PJS you have different fluids interacting between each other (liquid fire, lava, water, oil, etc). Skill to master by a smart coder, I believe.

Aside of fluids, I can't stop thinking on Pixel Junk Shooter without connecting it to old Amiga games. Sometimes it's really abstract but it triggers my imagination for potential sequels.

For example, shooting part of game's mechanics remind me Cannon Fodder. I dream to play Cannon Fodder with two analogs. It should be so much better and PJ's Shooter shows that well. In Cannon Fodder though, encounters were more dynamic and not so much was to rescue:

[YouTube ref: Cannon Fodder]

Some of game's mechanics remind me old games from Psygnosis (currently and for long SCE Studios Liverpool). Take a strange combination of Lemmings or maybe rather Benefactor, put it together into a scroller shooter action game with puzzles strictly related to fluid physics.

If you take a look at this game that way, you will immediately start dreaming on more Lemmings/Benefactor alike features. I did, I believe that many ideas should fit well into Pixel Junk Shooter. Imagine situation that little folk you have to rescue moves, and moves in very stupid/uncontrolled way. Imagine situation that you're bound into a conflict between two sides and rescue good and leave bad guys. Even better idea, there are two bands of miners who fight/compete for something, you have to rescue both groups before deadly lava will kill them all.

Take a look at Benefactor and imagine adding there shooter and physics:

[YouTube ref: Benefactor]

Maybe some of that mechanics will appear in further levels of Pixel Junk Shooter. I'm not sure now, as currently I'm fascinated with maxing up results on these first 15 levels. I'm pretty sure though, that this game will surprise me even more. If not, then it's definitely worth further experimenting and development. I'm really glad this game showed up. It proves well my theory of evolutionary design

I hope and expect good sequels and clones of that concept in near future. It's rather obvious that games where mechanics are strictly bound to physics seem to be 100% success warranty. I can't recall any example where it was not.

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