Title: PixelJunk Shooter Developer: Double Eleven Platforms: PC, Mac, Linux Price: $14.99 (currently on sale for $8.99) ---
Originally released in 2009 on PSN, PixelJunk Shooter has finally made its way to PC four years later. The "Shooter" in the title might give you the wrong impression; there are enemies to fight, projectiles to avoid, and bosses to defeat, but the core gameplay is far more puzzle based and fascinating than simple combat.
Controlling a small rescue ship, your goal is to descend into the subterranean caverns of an alien planet and rescue the scientists trapped within. Your vessel is armed with rockets (able to be fired straight or as homing missiles) and a grasping arm to collect the trapped NPCs, diamonds scattered around each level, and other items found through the world. Insectoid creatures threaten your ship, from simple stalactite-like turrets to larger magma-spewing beasts, forced you to avoid their projectiles and destroy them with your own. But the focus isn't on shooting; it's on the wonderfully entertaining dynamic fluids, how they react and interact with each other. Magma overheats your ship, water turns magma into stone, gas erupts when it comes in contact with magma, a mysterious black fluid is attracted to your ship, and more aspects constitute the fluid-based puzzles. Not only is it fun figuring out how to best use the fluids and tools at your disposal, it's also just satisfying to watch the fluids splash and slosh realistically around the caverns and tunnels you traverse.
You'll be avoiding massive magma floods, use the lava to your advantage to melt through ice obstacles, outrace exploding gas and erupting volcanoes, and more; you can even tackle these challenges with a friend in co-op. PixelJunk Shooter is available on Steam.
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