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PixelJunk Monsters Set to Launch Next Week

Dylan Cuthbert's Avatar + Posted by Dylan Cuthbert on Jan 16, 2008 // President and Executive Producer, Q-Games Ltd.

January is a MONSTER month; at last you will all get to play PixelJunk Monsters! So here’s another note from us here at Q-Games in Kyoto, Japan with some hints and tips to start the ball rolling. Believe me, once you start playing this game, say goodbye to any other titles you thought you might be playing for a few weeks – this is going to keep you coming back again and again until your eyelids start fluttering uncontrollably. Of course, that might not necessarily be a good thing!

Anyway, let’s dive into the scenario – you have to protect your island and its villagers from the monster horde and you begin roughly in the center of the island where there are about 20 villages to defend in 3 areas; designated easy, medium and hard. In each area there is a special end stage that gives you some kind of ability or power-up when you complete it.

If you save all the little villagers in a particular stage a rainbow will be displayed and collecting these rainbows allows you to unlock new areas to explore.

For the easy set of levels there are ten waves of monsters. There are quite a few types, but to begin with I feel it’s a good idea to warn you about the spiders – they are FAST!

When monsters are killed, they drop coins for you to run around and collect and this money lets you build more towers. Occasionally they will drop little gems that are pretty important.

The gems have two purposes: the first is that you can use them to upgrade existing towers, up to four times each. The second purpose for gems is to allow you to research new types of tower to build:

Pixel 1
Ice Tower: Slows down monsters within a small splash area – handy against spiders. This can slow down whole groups when it is upgraded.

Pixel 2
Fire Tower: Basically, a tower that fires napalm – once it fires it keeps firing for a while but doesn’t track the monsters so is good for taking out long lines of enemies. It takes a while to reload though, which can let monsters slip through

Pixel 3
Tesla Tower: This tower charges up and fires out simultaneously at all the monsters nearby with electric plasma, it can be tricky to place but at the same time it can be really effective when used by skillful players.

PixelJunk Monsters - Laser Tower
Laser Tower: This fires out a straight and very long single laser shot and is only effective against flying monsters; if you can place this tower where it can catch the monsters in a line it is very powerful as the laser will go through all of them

PixelJunk Monsters - Hive Tower
Hive Tower: You can only build one of these but it creates little flying creatures that will congregate around you and attack any monsters nearby. This is a very esoteric tower.

PixelJunk Monsters - Mortar Tower
Mortar Tower: Basically a very powerful cannon, this has huge range and an equally big explosion – upgrading one of these babies all the way will make you pretty formidable.
Working out which towers are most efficient against which enemies is the key to this game – but it’s not as simple as it sounds!

We’ve put a lot of effort into the design and balance of the various stages and each one requires you to try out different strategies and combinations of towers, and this is where the game is thoroughly addicting. Some might initially think the game is hard, but that’s just because we have tuned it to give you that Tower Defense-like “just.. one.. more.. go” experience. Before you know it, it is 5 a.m. in the morning!

On a final note, did you all see the new Earth Visualizer that we made? If not, definitely check it out by downloading the latest firmware update. We’ll keep trying to think up other cool demos or visualizers that show off the power of the PS3.

Feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try to reply to some of them as always. Good luck getting all the rainbows!

//Add Your Own

72 Comments

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1

+ bignobes on January 16th, 2008 at 12:10 pm said:

awesome!!this game looks so cool.,..i loved pixel junk racers….and i love games like this also, so im sure with you guy’s talent that this game will be a for sure winner…..thaks for making such old school fun games…..do you think you could give me a hint as to what the next Pixel Junk game will be or perhaps just what yalls next project is? thanks alot!


2

+ StalkingSilence on January 16th, 2008 at 12:13 pm said:

Cool, Q games made the earth visualizer? Thanks for adding cool, free content to the PS3.


3

+ ftwrthtx on January 16th, 2008 at 12:13 pm said:

I gotta have this one. Will we be able to use custom music, or are we limited to what is in the game?


4

+ StalkingSilence on January 16th, 2008 at 12:15 pm said:

oh btw, the single selling point for me on this game: Remote Play via PSP.
Now if only some of the game was transferable to PSP to use w/o network connection…


5

+ juanleche on January 16th, 2008 at 12:24 pm said:

Will this game support 1080 either natively or thru upscale, so that all HDTVs can view this game in HD?


6

+ Loucetios on January 16th, 2008 at 12:26 pm said:

can’t wait for this game, definate buy from me!


7

+ Raziel Dune on January 16th, 2008 at 12:33 pm said:

man i’ve been craving some form of tower defence ever since i saw this game’s trailer and now its coming I WANT IT NOW! lol


8

+ Zaku on January 16th, 2008 at 12:37 pm said:

Nice to see Remote Play supported for this :) Look forward to playing it.


9

+ Shinogu on January 16th, 2008 at 12:41 pm said:

I heard some 1UP guys compare this positively to Desktop Tower Defense. Do they play similarly?


10

+ artofwar420 on January 16th, 2008 at 12:46 pm said:

NIIIIIIIIIIIICE. I love tower defense games.


11

+ CircleOfFire on January 16th, 2008 at 12:49 pm said:

The question on all the European lips is…Will it be released in Europe at the same time?


12

+ TTP on January 16th, 2008 at 12:52 pm said:

Wow didn’t know you guys also created the waving cloth background of the XMB (just read this on the linked Gamasutra page).

Can’t wait for PixelJunk Monsters. Bring it on! (And add an ONLINE co-op mode in the future please :P)


13

+ tdh on January 16th, 2008 at 12:58 pm said:

I already wanted this, but REMOTE PLAY seals the deal! I’m going to go add $10 to my wallet right now so I’m primed for when this comes out! IGN lists Jan 24th as a release. I was hoping for this Thursday since I took the day off.

Taken from IGN:

“With meticulously hand-drawn 2D art, PixelJunk Monsters recreates the look of a classic with crisp graphics designed for optimal viewing in Full 1080p HD.”

Man I <3 my PS3. Setup a DNLA server so I can stream DivX videos right to my TV/couch or PSP/bed. Remote Playable inexpensive downloadable games. Custom sound tracks would be sweet as hell. I can’t playing Super Stardust HD since the update.


14

+ Loucetios on January 16th, 2008 at 12:58 pm said:

Can you put the game on the Psp instead of remote play?


15

+ reson8er on January 16th, 2008 at 1:07 pm said:

Wow!

Firstly, thank you for the Earth visualizer, its my wifes favorite, and I love it too :)

Secondly I think this will be a great game. I must be honest and say that Pixel Junk Racers was not really my style of game, so I never purchased it, but MONSTERS looks great. I downloaded the trailer in the Japanese Playstation Store when it debuted just too see what it was like :)

I look forward to playing Pixel Junk MONSTES!


16

+ endekks on January 16th, 2008 at 1:11 pm said:

Dylan… Thanks for the update. I hoep you are able to read this message and give some feedback.

I live in Japan and purchased the JP release of the game as soon as it was released. I have been enjoying the game but I have a question which will be preceded by a few remarks.

First of all, it is quite fun. The presentation is quick and easy to use. The sound design (an oft overlooked aspect of gaming) is stellar (and coming from me, that is a compliment ^___^). The controls are easy. And it is very addictive.

Those points made I must say that a few points irritate me.

First of all, I know you gave mention about the “one more go” aspect of the game, but I feel as though there is not a lot of latitude in how to play many levels. Having replayed some levels (many many times) I get the sneaking suspicion that they were created to be won in a *very* specific way – especially if you’re trying to get the rainbow. Taking into consideration three variables (what type of tower to build, where to build it and when to build it) all lead to many combinations which will often times flat out not work unless done in a very precise manner for all three variables. (And that doesn’t even get into the aspect of whether or not you should spend gems on upgrading towers or researching new technologies – or dancing in front of towers.) Getting all the way to wave 18 or 19 only to have a couple of spiders break through and get a villager, meaning you have to instantly restart for the rainbow can get very frustrating – especially since it means you have to experiment all over again with what / where / when combinations. Even after getting a rainbow on some stages I have gone back to try different strategies and have often found that the one which netted me the rainbow seems the only real way to get the rainbow.

Secondly, I do understand that getting a rainbow for a perfect level should be difficult. Of this there is no doubt in my mind. If getting rainbows in two or three attempts for most levels was an easy task, then the game would have next to no longevity for the average player. They would beat it utterly and move on to something else. Unfortunately the fact that attaining a certain number of rainbows is required to unlock access to main path levels (not just “side path” levels) game progression can hit a brick wall once a player meets the medium difficulties. I’ve managed to gain access to all the medium stages, but have not been able to get enough rainbows to reach the hard stages.

If these rainbow “barriers” had been put into play for access to extra stages, then I would understand their inclusion, but to place them there just to even gain access at all seems a bit demanding. Beating the stages alone can often be a daunting task, so to have the additional obstacle of perfecting levels to continue seems a bit too much to me. I am no stranger to strategy games, so it’s not that I am just not “getting” the game. In fact, of the friends I h


17

+ endekks on January 16th, 2008 at 1:13 pm said:

In fact, of the friends I have with PS3s and this game (several of whom work in the gaming industry – so gaming is in their blood) have shared these sentiments with me.

So these lead to my questions:

1) Have there been any adjustments from the JP release to the US release? I know licensing and publishing issues cause delays for game releases, but given the gap between the game’s debut in Japan and its upcoming launch in the US has me curious as to whether or not there have been adjustments to gameplay mechanics or so – especially when you take into account that full English is an option in the JP version.

[SPOILER!!! Seriously, if you aren't the developer and don't want to know an aspect of the game, then do not read the following paragraph.]
2) Knowing that the first unlockable gives you the ability to run while holding X- which makes going back to some levels and playing them again easier, do the other unlockables also assist in the replaying of stages? And if so, can you divulge details as to what they are? Obviously I know of the first ability. I have not, however, been able to gain the subsequent unlockables. I am currently trying to even just beat the last stage in the medium area (so.. many.. flying.. enemies) and am curious to know what my reward might be.

I know these may be taken as harsh criticisms, but I do not intend them to be that way. I honestly do enjoy the game – and I do love a challenge. Tough strategy games are definitely high up in my list of favourites. However, when it seems (to me and the others I know who play the game) that the strategy seems to be limited to placing specific towers at specific place at specific times with specific upgrade instituted at specific times for stages which *appear* to be reverse-engineered for those placements, then it is more just a game of trial-and-error, which is not so much my cup of tea. And I hate saying that because I recommended this game to my friends back in the US who do not have JP PSN accounts because I really do find it to be a lot of fun. I would just hate for them to garner the same frustrations with the title which I am facing now – which have essentially put me to the point where I haven’t been motivated to continue playing the same levels over and over again in so many different ways only to have two spiders get my villagers in the last wave. (Last easy stage, I’m looking in your direction.)

Sorry for the long-windedness, but I wanted to make sure that my points were seen as genuine critiques and not just whiney rants about why I think the game “sucks” – because that is far from what I think about PJ Monsters.


18

+ Neil on January 16th, 2008 at 1:15 pm said:

You guys are doing a fantastic job. I really like the visualizer and plan on purchasing Pixel Junk Monster next week.

Make sure to bring over the theme (currently in the JPN PSN store) to the US and Euro PSN stores as well as it’s one of my favorites.


19

+ endekks on January 16th, 2008 at 1:16 pm said:

PS – Sorry for the typos, but it is already 6AM here and I was up late on a project. ^___^


20

+ OrganicShadow on January 16th, 2008 at 1:30 pm said:

Aww, all tease and no release date for us? :(

i am cry


21

+ RandomEarthling on January 16th, 2008 at 1:36 pm said:

I love the Earth Visualizer that came with the last firmware. It’s nice not having a ton of color and wavy lines filling the screen when I listen to music. Very cool indeed.


22

+ ISEMAN on January 16th, 2008 at 1:37 pm said:

Can’t wait!!! I got my wife addicted to desktop tower defense, so getting her to buy into this one will be a breeze!


23

+ kassatsu on January 16th, 2008 at 1:47 pm said:

FYI to whoever uploads the media, the share link for the PJ Monster video points to some lady giving standup about pets.


24

+ not-buying-incognito on January 16th, 2008 at 1:52 pm said:

is this game for my 5 year old???
just give me IN-GAME-XMB
and IN-GAME-MUSIC


25

+ Dubbedinenglish on January 16th, 2008 at 1:54 pm said:

You guys are responsible for the Earth visualization?!?! Then Awesome work on that, I had to add more music to my PS3 just to view that for longer.


26

+ sequoia on January 16th, 2008 at 1:59 pm said:

Nice to know this game has a co-op mode, definitely picking this up, looks like a lot of fun.


27

+ chase on January 16th, 2008 at 2:01 pm said:

not-buying-incognito
lol
in march


28

+ djis_theman on January 16th, 2008 at 2:09 pm said:

To post #24- You know, you don’t have to be rude and sarcastic, nobody cares if you want in game xmb, we will get it when we get it, so instead of downing a game just because of this why don’t you go cry in the Playstation General Forums like everyone else. Oh, and just because it is colorful it is for a 5 yr old? Meh… you amuse me.

To the OP- Awesome game, I can’t wait for it to hit the psn. I love these kind of games and expect it to be great, it really looks to be so.


29

+ jake484 on January 16th, 2008 at 2:28 pm said:

@Dylan Cuthbert

Is this also release to the EU store next week ?


30

+ EvoAnubis on January 16th, 2008 at 3:08 pm said:

I’m telling you right now Dylan; it better be one hell of a demo attached to it. I loathed PixelJunk Racers.


31

+ Jackal888 on January 16th, 2008 at 3:38 pm said:

This game looks like a lot of fun.I hope PixelJunk reaps success from this title. Thank you for the visualizer, I love that thing. It was popular at a party I had. People were all asking about it so you did something right.

Please people,I rather listen to good sound design and great game music than hear my own soundtrack.I do not play games to listen to the radio.


32

+ Kittonwy on January 16th, 2008 at 3:41 pm said:

Great job with the game Dylan, it’s too bad you don’t post at Tokyopia anymore, now I’m the only PS3 fan left on the board and everybody hates me. T_T


33

+ Daver on January 16th, 2008 at 3:43 pm said:

This game will be amazing!!!! cant wait to buy it!!
oh and btw this vizualizer was also very nice… keep em coming :)


35

+ Spaceghost4284 on January 16th, 2008 at 4:17 pm said:

I will never buy this game, it looks stupid. However, that Earth visualizer looks really really cool and I will make sure to check that out!


36

+ Jeigh on January 16th, 2008 at 4:26 pm said:

Oooo! Fun! Nevermind spaceghost- he’s a complete tool, obsessed with aesthetics and polygons over fun and creativity.

I look forward to this! :D


37

+ driffter on January 16th, 2008 at 4:38 pm said:

Price???????????


Dylan Cuthbert's Avatar

38

+ Dylan Cuthbert on January 16th, 2008 at 4:45 pm said:

to poster 16/17 (the really long one :-) )

Basically, yes, the later items you get will help you enormously, just as the dash does.

As for difficulty, this game can seem tough, but all I can say there is that it has a continuous learning curve that doesn’t rely on twitchiness or reaction time – the more you play it the better you become, almost continuously. And later on you’ll wonder why you found some of the earlier stages hard.

But that’s the nature of Tower Defense games in general – they all seem pretty tough at first. I think it is a trait of the genre because they give you such leeway in how you set up the battle.

As for the comment regarding there only being one way to complete levels, you’ll discover that’s only the case for one or two waves and everyone ends up finding their favourite combination of towers. (In the office we have people who swear by tesla towers, and yet my wife loves the fire tower – my wife isn’t a gamer but she completed it fully just recently – all rainbows). She wouldn’t get off the damn thing every night. (I wanted to play Assassin’s Creed, which, btw, is a great game if you switch off the HUD)

Thanks to everyone else for your comments, it’s great that the response to the visualiser was so positive.

And, as far as I am aware, PJM will be out on the EU store simultaneously (next Thursday).


39

+ tirminyl on January 16th, 2008 at 5:30 pm said:

I have certainly been counting down the days to the release of this in the US store. I simply cannot wait to get my hands on this!

Also, GREAT move with the Remote Play feature. This really extends my future purchase. I wish more PSN games and PS3 games have more Remote Play features. And thank you for the visualizer, it is simply amazing. I read your interview a while back discussing how it came to be and you mentioned you had more…hopefully Sony lets you release more heck, maybe even allow it as a changing background on the Home screen. Just a thought, take care!


40

+ Shane-O-Mak on January 16th, 2008 at 5:31 pm said:

Could you make more visualizers please? How about one that has like a pool of water rippling and changing colors to the music with the famous Sony rubber duck floating around in it? Or some that are customizable using the buttons on the sixaxis to change the colors or other effects? Can’t wait to see what you come up with. Keep up the great work!


41

+ tehuber1337pwnage on January 16th, 2008 at 7:04 pm said:

AHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHA IS THIS GAME SUPPOSED TO BE GOOD OR SOMETHING!!!!!!!!!!!!! IT LOOKS LIKE THAT NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM ROFFLE SONY BLOWS


42

+ bAss_ackwards on January 16th, 2008 at 7:07 pm said:

This is going to be awesome! I cannot wait until next week to buy it!


43

+ Ghostm on January 16th, 2008 at 7:13 pm said:

You cant beat Remote Play. That’s an awesome feature. I’ll definitely give this title a shot. Just because it has Remote Play.


44

+ Lemondish on January 16th, 2008 at 7:35 pm said:

Speaking of the Earth Visualizer, is there any chance we can see that as a background for the PS3 system, much like the default flowing wave effect?

I found PixelJunk racers to be a ton of fun, can’t wait for this one ;) Great work guys, loving these retro remakes and small bitesize fun


45

+ jerrt on January 16th, 2008 at 7:41 pm said:

this is truly good stuff. i might just have to pick this up.


Dylan Cuthbert's Avatar

46

+ Dylan Cuthbert on January 16th, 2008 at 8:25 pm said:

>>44 Lemondish

We are working on “other stuff” for the OS but it’s all top secret, sorry! Sony has some great stuff in store this year though so keep your eyes peeled.

>>40 Shane-O-Mak
I would have loved to have done some more stuff with the duck/bath but other people seem to have taken over that franchise now so it no longer feels personal.

As a little sidenote, the PixelJunk series director and studio director here at Q-Games, Kentaro Yoshida, was my collaborator on the original PS2 duck demo when we were working at Sony back in the day. He has quite a history as he was one of the main guys who worked on the entire Panzer Dragoon series of games. (including the first Saturn version and all the way up to Orta)

>>32 Kittonwy
They’ll come to their senses at some point during this year. ;-)


47

+ OmniCloud on January 16th, 2008 at 9:02 pm said:

Ok…i like the response you gave to endekks in post #16 (& #17!) so I’ll take your word for it on the replay and deepness of the game.

However, is there a map editor for this title? Or rather, will you guys release enough maps every month or so so gamers don’t really feel the need to make new ones?

I dunno, with this type of game, it could be a really great feature and selling point…


48

+ Kxpuc27 on January 16th, 2008 at 9:13 pm said:

took long enough i’ll take a version of a game without english and just menu’s if it means i get it early and i’ll just download a “more complete” version later with the words to replace it


49

+ Reluctant Hero on January 16th, 2008 at 11:07 pm said:

Thanks for the updates Dylan. I’m really looking foward to PJ Monsters next week!


50

+ endekks on January 17th, 2008 at 2:35 am said:

Thanks for the reply. I am glad you didn’t take offence, as none was meant.

I may dive back into it again tonight – if I have any effing time for it – and see if I can earn more of those unlockable abilities.


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