Impressions: Pixeljunk Monsters Ultimate HD (PSV)

Many years ago, the first truly great PS3 tower defense came out and it shot the Pixeljunk brand to household status among gamers. This wasn’t their first successful game, but it was their first true hit. I remember how much time I sank into this gem of a game, and thus hearing that it was finally(and long overdue if I might say) going to be coming to my Vita was a thrilling notion.

It’s hard to really write a lot about a game this elegantly created. It’s a very simple tower defense… you run around building towers to keep enemies away from your home, and the enemies drop money you can use to make more towers or gems you can use to upgrade them or ‘research’ new tower types. Tower types mostly run the standard categories, things like slowing, splash damage, anti-air, etc. However, one of the things that makes it interesting is a few unique towers. My personal favourite is the hive tower, which spawns a swarm of kamikaze insects that do great damage to the attackers at an unlimited range. The overall number of towers is fairly limited, but the variety these towers offer is more than sufficient to really create your own style.

What really makes this game so elegant is the absolutely perfect difficulty and incentive curve. First and foremost, for completing a level perfectly, you get a rainbow. Who doesn’t love rainbows? But more importantly, completing levels is generally an easy task, even as you get further on in levels. So you are able to open up levels, get practice in a variety of stages, and learn the game in a very steady way. But when you’re ready, you’ll start getting perfects on levels, and then you unlock more levels, more towers, and it just opens up an addictive challenge that will keep you occupied for many hours.

I’ll just come out and say it: the game is adorable. The graphics may not win any awards, but the art style certainly deserves every bit of accolade it can be given. As a tower defense, you’ll be spending a lot of time idly watching the game… so it’s important for it to have some visual appeal. And in this TD you can spend a near-infinite amount of time because not only are there a wide variety of levels that will take you a very long time to complete, they also put a random level creator in. This is an incredibly value-packed title, and if you want something to satisfy you for a good long time on your Vita, you can’t beat this.

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