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