PixelJunk Shooter is a deceptively simple and extremely habit-forming game -- one of the best downloadable titles of the 2009. The controls, which make use of both thumbsticks and just two buttons, are immediately accessible, and the play is surprisingly forgiving -- you’re only penalized for getting struck by hazards such as lava, explosive gas, or enemies; not, thankfully, for smashing into cave walls, which happens a lot.
What’s more, the puzzle elements are simply terrific. Figuring out how to, say, move water from one area to another to solidify molten rock and then shoot through it to get to stranded explorers is both fun and challenging. Plus, finding and exploring hidden areas filled with treasure prompts a surge of endorphins not dissimilar to, say, finding a hidden vine or 1up mushroom in a Mario game. There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking here, but sometimes the simplest games are the best.
Online interaction: There is support for online leaderboards, but not online play.