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Wii U eShop Review

Double Eleven / Q-Games

Genre: Tower Defense
Players: 1-2

EU Release Date: 2016-05-19 / Price: 8,99€
NA Release Date: 2016-05-19 / Price: $9,99

Website / Trailer

Tested: EU (PAL Version)

Waves of hungry monsters are approaching Tikimans islands to eat his children! Defeat them before they can reach your tiki hut where your children want to play peacefully. This game was a hit on the PS3 downloadable store, and now it's out on Wii U. Is this version still a hit? We'll find out!

Review: PIXEL JUNK MONSTERS ULTIMATE (Wii U eShop) WiiUDS_PixelJunkMonstersHD_01_mediaplayer_large

The main game has 3 islands to play through with 47 stages to beat. Each island is like a world map on which you can move around to select a stage. But first you have to beat a stage to open up paths to the next ones. The first stage is a tutorial that explains everything you can do. Stages are singlescreen-sized topdown environments with a view of the path the monsters will follow, your tiki hut base with 20 children that you have to defend, and trees on which you can build towers. Each monster gobbles up one of your children, so essentially you have 20 "lives" before you have to restart a stage.

You start with a certain amount of gold, and with it you can transform trees into defense towers like cannons that are slow and hit multiple monsters at once but only ground units, or arrows that are faster, have a wider range and can hit both ground and flying enemies, but only one at a time. Walk Tikiman around the stage, and place the towers strategically so that no monster can reach your children. Usually you have to defeat 20 waves per stage and as you defeat monsters they drop gold and gems. Gems are used to level up your towers instantly as opposed to stand on them doing the tiki dance, waiting for a level meter to fill so your towers get more power, speed, or range. They can also be used to unlock more powerful towers like lasers and fire. It's wise to save those gems to get better towers and only waste them on instant level ups when things get overwhelming.

Review: PIXEL JUNK MONSTERS ULTIMATE (Wii U eShop) WiiUDS_PixelJunkMonstersHD_05_mediaplayer_large

There are dozens of different monsters. And as you make progress they can come with special skills. There will be enemies floating in on balloons so you need archer towers to make them pop, or monsters dashing through on fire where you need the ice tower to extinguish them and slow them down. Most of the time the last wave in each stage is a boss monster that takes many hits.

Different environments and new towers make sure that the game keeps being fresh and fun. Also, there are three difficulty settings you can change at will. If you beat a stage on Normal the stage shows an icon with 3 trees and if you beat it on Easy you'll get only 1 tree (Hard mode needs to be unlocked first). Now, if you beat a stage without losing a single child, the stage icon will show a rainbow as well (on Easy the rainbow has a little cloud), so the icons tell you exactly what you've done. Completionists will have a real challenge beating every stage on the highest difficulty without losing children. It took us around 25 hours just to beat the 47 main game stages on Normal. If that is not enough for you there's also a challenge mode: 24 additional stages that need to be beaten under special conditions. In one stage you are not allowed to level up any tower, in another stage you have to end the stage with a certain amount of gems left in your wallet. It's a nice twist and mixes things up even further. So in total there are 71 stages. But wait, there's also a secret island that generates randomized stages for an almost unlimited amount of replayability!

Review: PIXEL JUNK MONSTERS ULTIMATE (Wii U eShop) WiiUDS_PixelJunkMonstersHD_04_mediaplayer_large

However, the best part of this game is the two-player co-op mode. Let one of your friends or family members play as another (blue) Tikiman, and divide your work to have another layer of strategy. There will be more monsters, but with a second player you can be at two places at once which deepens the experience and is a lot more fun than playing alone. It's one of the nicest co-op games you can play on your Wii U period.

The game's presentation is quite good, there are no loading times at all, the graphics are nice enough and the design is cute, but there are some oddities and flaws as well. In the boot-up screen the game is called "PixelJunk Monsters Ultimate" while elsewhere it's just "PixelJunk Monsters". So what game is this exactly?  The soundtrack is weird as well, but we got used to it. It's pretty unique and there's a huge amount of different songs so we're ok with that. On the disappointing side are the local leaderboards. Despite them being rather useless, you're only refered to as "player1" and "player2". It's lame that you cannot enter your own names. Now onto the most glaring issue: one of the rewards you get for beating the game is a concept art gallery and music test. While unlocking this is pretty nice, the fact that one of the pictures in the art gallery is always softlocking the game is not. It should be an easy fix though and we hope the developers will update it.

Review: PIXEL JUNK MONSTERS ULTIMATE (Wii U eShop) WiiUDS_PixelJunkMonstersHD_02_mediaplayer_large

PixelJunk Monsters is Wii U's best tower defense game to date. It changes up just a few things from the classic formula but ultimately these work really well. It's a very balanced realtime strategy game wrapped up in a colorful and content-rich package. The multiplayer co-op mode is the cherry on top and we think the price is very fair as well.


Written by SKTTR, 27th June 2016
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Thanks for the support! Excellent review as always dude. Wink
Aqua Cherry Blossom
on June 28th 2016, 2:21 pmAqua Cherry Blossom
Nice review lol. Smile
on June 30th 2016, 11:56 amSuperVash
Amazing review @SKTTR! I'm thinking about downloading this game tomorrow.
on July 2nd 2016, 12:35 amStaroceancrazy
Awesome review @SKTTR! Very Happy
@SKTTR Keep up the hard work dude. Wink
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