Pixeljunk Shooter 2 is punishingly hard, often irritating, and significantly less fun than its predecessor .
If you played the first game, you should still have a good idea of what Pixeljunk Shooter 2 has to offer. You pilot around a little ship, and with it you can shoot stuff and pick up stuff like treasure and survivors. You sometimes pick up power-ups and objects that modify your ship so that you can complete special challenges on a level. You shoot walls and manipulate your environment in all sorts of ways to solve puzzles and then you head for the exit. The basic formula works very well.
There is a fine line between challenging and punishing. The former can be fun, but the latter often isn't. The difference is often subtle and Pixeljunk Shooter 2 crosses that line too often. The ship that you command essentially goes down in one hit, and there are no checkpoints within a sublevel. The game also has ambush style encounters on almost every screen and a significant amount of trial and error. In addition, there are a lot more environmental hazards that will kill the survivors that you need to rescue. These hazards sometimes build up in a manner that forces you to race through the level as fast as possible, causing you to make all kinds of mistakes. The first game had the same basic mechanics, but it didn't have as many traps or as many enemies, and they weren't as deadly. Some games actually benefit from being really hard for some reason, but not a game from this series. The somewhat easygoing vibe communicated by the music and the graphics don't work well with a really high level of challenge.
I would be unfair to the game though if I said that it doesn't have any redeeming qualities, because it does. It still has charming graphics and another great techno soundtrack. It has a few wonderful levels and a lot of satisfyingly challenging puzzles. It was at least a fun enough game for me to finish, which means that it can't be bad. However, I must say, I came close at least a couple of times to swearing it off completely and deleting it from my hard drive. Some prefer extremely hard, punishing games. The relatively low score that I give to this sequel is as much an indication of my personal preference as anything else. It is possible that you will enjoy it more. If you have played enough games, you probably know what your tolerance for punishment is. Me – I wish that Pixeljunk Shooter 2 had been more like the first.