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General Description

PixelJunk Shooter 2 is a 2D action game developed by Q-Games and released on the PlayStation Network in March 2011. Players assume the roles of the explorers from the first game just as they've been devoured by a giant subterranean worm. Players must explore the inside of the worm, battling foes and manipulating various fluids as they attempt to rescue the stranded survivors within. Players eventually escape the worm and adventure through two more areas which constantly introduce new elements and challenges.

Players fly around levels freely and can use a grappling hook and gun to interact with the environment. The game introduces a handful of different fluids that all interact with each other in unique ways. Water and magma are the basics introduced at the beginning; one is safe for players to pass through, while the other is lethal. When they make contact the magma is cooled and forms solid rock. These and many other elements are combined to form challenges that act as clever puzzles and challenging tests of the player's reflexes throughout the game. Each area requires players to deal with these elements and the other traps that litter each level in an attempt to rescue the many survivors scattered about.

The game's biggest strength is in problem solving. The game's puzzles never cease to impress, mixing together imaginative ideas with common sense concepts to challenge players in new ways in every single level.

Grade by Game Type Overall Grade
C- C-
Ratings at a Glance
Creativity: 5 Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc.
Business: 2 Developer: Q-Games
People: 2 Year: 2011
Problem: 5 Genre: Shooter/Action
Simulation: 0 Strengths: popularity, creativity, problem
Popularity: 8 Platforms: PlayStation 3
Extra: 0  
Rating Details

Classroom Facts

The various materials that make up puzzles usually work together in predictable ways. Water cools off lava but explodes with magma, and if gasses come into contact with fire they ignite. Many combinations aren't intuitive but make sense once you've seen them; for example, when poisonous fluid comes in contact with water it evaporates and a poison gas fills the air.

Creativity & Imagination

By the Player:

PixelJunk Shooter 2 takes place through a series of levels in a predefined order, but the game is very much about exploration. Players are required to explore every level fairly thoroughly, since they can't move on until every survivor is rescued (or accidentally lost). Each level also contains diamonds which are hidden more carefully, a reward for players that search a little more thoroughly.

It's true that each level needs to be explored by any player that wishes to complete it, which limits a certain sense of "player freedom." But that doesn't change the fact that players still need to explore. It's mandatory but players still choose how to investigate each area, and discoveries manage to feel personal despite the game's linearity.

By the Developer:

PixelJunk Shooter 2 has a remarkable visual design based around sharp, colorful levels and fantastic boss designs. The PixelJunk brand games are also known for their distinctive soundtracks, and Shooter 2 is no exception, featuring memorable tracks from musical group High Frequency Bandwidth.

The game builds on the mechanics of its predecessor almost perfectly. The first handful of stages quickly reach the complexity of the first game, and novel new ideas are introduced in nearly every stage following. Rather than adding new features for its own sake, new substances and enemies are always very carefully designed to add a subtle change of pace and a new type of challenge. As always, the new PixelJunk game is filled with clever ideas from start to finish.

Business Skills

In the game's multiplayer mode players collect points which can be used to purchase new items for use in battle. Players can also gamble a certain amount before each game; if players win they earn more points towards moving up to the next rank.

People Skills

The game's competitive multiplayer mode pits players against each other in small arenas taking turns playing offense and defense. The player on offense tries to secure as many of the survivors scattered about as possible, while the defensive player tries to stop him. The game is mostly a test of the player's knowledge of the weapons and environments that are currently in play, though obviously skill and reflexes piloting the ship are integral too.

The main game can (and maybe should) be played cooperatively by two players. Working together can make large parts of the game much more manageable. Competitive multiplayer supports online voice chat, but cooperative mode is local multiplayer only.

Problem Solving

Players need to examine each new area carefully and figure out how to avoid the various traps and enemies that each contains while moving quickly enough to rescue the local survivors from these same traps. Players can shoot missiles and use a grappling hook to grab items and certain surfaces, and learning to pilot the ship smoothly requires some finesse as well.

As players learn the details of how the game's fluids and mechanisms work the puzzles quickly grow more complex. Some stages offer variant suits - one can dig through dirt, and another switches the effects of water and magma on the player's ship - and others offer gigantic, complex boss battles. These punctuate the game's already highly varied level design wonderfully.


PixelJunk Shooter 2 is not a simulation game.


PixelJunk Shooter 2 has been highly praised for its distinct visuals and soundtrack, consistently clever level design and challenging difficulty level. Its high difficulty has been decried by a handful of publications.

Controls & Options

Standard audio and visual options are available.


Shooter 2 was rated Everyone by the ESRB with a descriptor for Mild Fantasy Violence.