Although it is visually striking, this sci-fi action game stumbles from significant resource issues and difficulty spikes that limit its replayability and appeal. At first glance, PixelJunk Raiders seems like a quirky action adventure, as you beam down to the planet's surface, hunt for relics and survivors, and fend off hostile forces. It's fun to sprint into a camp, clear out the invaders, and rescue the survivors that wave gratefully and sometimes give gifts in return for your help. These allow you to upgrade some of your character's innate skills and abilities. What's also very cool is that while the game will generate some missions for you, you can also create your own through keywords, which will spawn new levels based on the terms used. These stages can be shared with friends, allowing them to explore your footsteps, especially if you like the items and the challenge found in that mission. Similarly, with the State Share feature, you can place imprints of mines, minions, or other items to help you and your friends get past tricky battles.
Unfortunately, the cleverness of randomly generated missions is overshadowed by larger issues. For example, while State Share initially seems helpful, you have no idea what's been placed by other gamers, so you're gambling time and resources for something that may not help you at all in the middle of a fight. See, players have to balance attack and defensive moves, because acting too quickly leaves you vulnerable to being hit, and since you're frequently swarmed from all directions, this means getting overwhelmed. But here's the trick: Unless you have an ability to scavenge loot from your fallen corpse, you lose everything you've ever gathered. Since you don't have storage on your ship, you're a walking chest that's one outmatched fight away from a tragedy. This can leave you woefully underpowered against stronger enemies, especially if you fall on a difficult stage or boss battle, making replaying or grinding through stages for gear very unappealing.