Full Flow: PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate Out Now

The PixelJunk Shooter [official site] games are home to my favourite fluid simulation systems. In a time when digital boxes, barrels and bodies drop, flop and break in fascinating and convincing fashion, liquids are still depicted as still, glassy surfaces far too often. The two Shooter games – collected together in the new Ultimate release which marks the sequel’s first appearance on PC – are 2D arcade/puzzle games that combine the physics of Thrust with superbly realised lava, water, oil and acid.

PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate arrived on Steam yesterday for £6.29. Rather than treating the two games included as separate entities, Ultimate stitches them together into “a seamless campaign stretching across 150 levels”. If you already own the first PixelJunk Shooter, you’ll be able to carry your progress across to Ultimate.

I’ve only played the first game but I loved it so much that I completed it at about 3am the morning after I bought it. Sometimes it is a straight up shooter, although it’s a slow-paced and floaty one that requires close control and planning rather than twitchy reflexes. Most of the time, you’re working out how to get from start to finish, figuring out which materials and fluids might combine to create a safe passage, and then working out how to bring them together. It’s rare for a game with puzzling at its heart to make for a good spectator experience, but Shooter is delightful to watch as well as to play.

Let’s do a quick roundup of the best fluid simulation in games. I’ll start with my two favourites and you lot take it from there:

1) PixelJunk Shooter
2) Vessel

21 Comments

  1. Yachmenev says:

    Pixeljunk Shooter is an absolute lovely game. Not only is the gameplay, with the fluid and physics great, but the art and music is something special also.

    The ultimate shooter, for that price, is something everyone should have in their Steam library.

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    Harlander says:

    It’s good to see the long-dormant caveflier genre get some attention again.

    • Jekhar says:

      Dfinetly, although in this one you’re not constantly fighting gravity. If you let go of the control stick, you just hover in midair, unlike in Thrust and similar games. If you compare this to later 3D installments, this is more Descent than Lander (Psygnosis). I’m talking just about movement mechanics, mind you.

      • bonuswavepilot says:

        Aw maaaan! I mean, it looks pretty fun, but I am ever seeking a game with Gravity Force’s always-fighting-gravity mechanics… Maybe I’ll just have to make the bloody thing myself and be done with it. GF remains my favourite couch gaming experience to date.

        • Jekhar says:

          Hell yeah! Gravity Force and Turboraketti were on heavy rotation in my amigas floppy drive! Nowadays i play Gravitron 2 or Retrobooster, they’re somewhat similar (and both on steam). On the 3D front we’re stuck with (the excellent) Lander, i don’t know any newer titles.

  3. Jay Load says:

    What does Ultimate add that’s not in the first one?

    • Telkir says:

      As the article sort of suggests, there were actually two Pixeljunk Shooter titles, but the sequel had only ever been available on consoles until now. The Ultimate edition takes all of the content across both games and turns them into a single, seamless game.

      I own both for PS3 (100%’d the first, didn’t finish the second) but I can see myself buying this again for Steamy justice…

  4. Kollega says:

    I remember being interested in PixelJunk Shooter when it was first making waves. And I would buy it now if not for the rapidly sinking value of my country’s national currency.

    • saturnine says:

      Are you Malaysian too? It’s a steal at RM14.95 for me, but then again I already own the first Pixeljunk Shooter and another Pixeljunk game on Steam so it’s 35% off…

      • Kollega says:

        I actually live in Kazakhstan, but at the current price of $6,29 it’s 1700 tenge in local currency, which is enough for the day’s three meals – not an exorbitant amount of money, but not chump change either. A few months ago, the price would be only 1100 in local currency.

  5. Sam says:

    Pixeljunk Shooter is lovely. I get the feeling it didn’t sell great on PC which is a real shame as it’s an excellent game and the whole doing interesting things with interesting physics systems is very much in the style of PC gaming. I wonder if the name misled people? It’s really not a Galaga clone.

    Bestest best fluid simulation must be From Dust. Water, sand, rock, and lava simulation layers that interact in fun ways. Still the best dynamic water animation system I’ve seen. It’s limited to forms that can be expressed as a height map, but you rarely notice that limitation and it is just so pretty.

    • welverin says:

      Yeah, Sidescroller was the real shooter of the bunch. That was also fun and hopefully it will make its way over as well.

  6. brucethemoose says:

    3) From Dust

    While not perfectly accurate, water flowing over the landscape and taking bits of Earth with it is pretty cool.

    • theslap says:

      How I wish From Dust was more than just a game engine demo. Loved the graphics and loved the physics but where is the gameplay?

  7. Razumen says:

    This is great news, though at first I thought they were making a third game on PC, so sad…

  8. theslap says:

    I already own Shooter 1 and 2 and several other PixelJunk games on my PS3 so I’ll probably hold off buying it on Steam until it is on sale this Christmas or Spring. The seamless combination of the two does sound intriguing though.

  9. smuppet says:

    This is worth it just for the multiplayer from Shooter 2. The 1 on 1 battles are some of the most tense in any game I’ve played, but sadly the community was pretty much dead from launch on PS3. Hopefully it’ll be better on Steam

  10. cloudnein says:

    Are there levels that have gravity, a-la Thrust? The physics are lovely but gravity is not your constant enemy like in Thrust (and Gravitar)…

  11. Shadrach says:

    4) Puddle

    Was quite fun I thought, but hard oh so hard. Then again, I frustrate easily.