PixelJunk Raiders Review: One Small Step for Stadia

Before we get to the review we feel that it’s important to start with a short explanation of Stadia . Stadia is a game streaming service that allows you to play games directly from your mobile device to a computer or a TV screen. It works just like other game streaming services like PlayStation Now or Nvidia’s GeForce Now, but it’s different in one way: instead of streaming the game, the game’s data goes through a cloud server.

PixelJunk Monsters was one of the earliest titles in the PixelJunk series. It was released for the Sega Saturn and PlayStation in 1996. At first glance it looks like a side-scrolling shooter, but it’s actually one of the first real 3D platformers. It teaches you all the basics and how to control your character to navigate your way through the levels and defeat the bosses. It’s pretty easy to play and has some very nice graphics for its time.

Ever since Stadia was unveiled at Google I/O 2018 as the company’s answer to the next generation of gaming, the audience has been divided into two camps.  One side wants to get Stadia in their living rooms, and the other is skeptical of the service’s chances and the content it will offer.  This review will go over the Stadia games that are available, and will attempt to answer the question: is Stadia a service worth investing in?

Google Stadia has not been in the news lately for the right reasons when it comes to launching games. Whether it was the announcement that Ubisoft and Take-Two were being charged more than a few fees for recent ports, the announcement that the first-party game division would be shut down for good, or the cancellation of deals with companies like Kojima Productions, it’s been a tough few weeks. But the Stadia team has promised that games from third-party developers will continue to be available, and a new exclusive,PixelJunk Raiders, has already been released for Stadia Pro members. Unfortunately, this new addition to the genre-orientedPixelJunk series is not a killer app that has yet to escape the tangerine cloud platform. PixelJunk Raiders is good and showing signs of something more. However, the game cycle immediately feels dated, and despite the exclusive and cool feature that only Stadia can offer, it doesn’t feel like an alien world worth exploring.

PixelJunk Raiders Overview: One small step before the stairs

In the third-person game PixelJunk Raiders, a quantum anomaly has caused a rift in space from which aliens of all shapes and sizes emerge. In the beginning, you’ll see a lot of octopus-like aliens coming at you or even shooting at you when they get close. Later, giant sandworms and some Giger-inspired humanoids appear to destroy the planet Tantalus, a dark and contrasting home for other helpless life forms. Your job as a mercenary is to fight for their safety, cleanse the camps of renegade aliens and restore peace to every area you visit. Since each level is procedurally generated, taking into account various planetary details like loot, number of survivors, and enemy difficulty, you always have a rough idea of what to expect, even if failure can mean never returning. However, this structure is also one of the game’s biggest shortcomings, as regardless of threat level or complexity, saving the surviving Tantalians is a common shortcoming. You don’t escort survivors, you don’t ask them to help you in battle before you send them home, you don’t do anything at all except walk up to them and press the button when the immediate area is clear of enemies. They don’t move, and since these survivors are involved in all missions except the boss fights, it quickly becomes tedious to linger here. PixelJunk Raiders is structured like an arcade game, so it intentionally lacks the narrative drive of those survivors. They don’t recognize their stories. Although they give you short missions before you can rescue them, these missions involve going to a specific location on the map and collecting an item, meaning that periods of fighting enemies near your survivors are interrupted by periods of fighting enemies far away from your survivors. It is this diversity that we are talking about here. word-image-11866 It’s a shame that these survivors turned out to be such an uninteresting subject, as some of the systems in the game are much more entertaining. Updates come early, often and in various forms. You can unlock permanent skill changes, such as. B. regain your loot like in Souls after you die, increase your maximum health, or add new attacks to your melee arsenal. New cosmetics can be unlocked by completing contracts, but these are limited to saving a certain number of survivors. The stat gain resets when you die, but otherwise you retain everything you’ve earned, so it’s one of the smoothest RPGs I’ve ever played. Weapon deprivation means you always have to stay one step ahead of the alien hordes, and that’s very satisfying. You have to use what is around you, and what is around you is influenced by the other players on Stadia. With State Share, you can share a link to a procedurally generated level that contains, for example, all the traps and tools you left behind. B. Mines, stepping stones and medicinal smoke nests. It’s reminiscent of what Kojima called the early days of rope play. However, this game andPixelJunk Raidersactually refer to the asynchronous multiplayer mode ofDark Souls, in which players who never meet can still help each other on their journey. It’s a nice idea, but it doesn’t make the worst parts ofPJRany more fun. Going back and forth between settlements to save 10+ survivors in each level doesn’t get any more exciting because someone left extra stuff for me. At least the boss fights are improved by it. These levels are typical, with bosses you have to beat three times between waves of smaller grunts, but loading up the boss fights with all sorts of tools and sending them to a friend has great potential, if only because it unloads those bosses and almost speeds them up. Crowd control is a guide as the levels get harder and harder, and it’s not long before they really push you to the limit. This is the best part of the game, because even though the survivors aren’t interesting, at least the action of checking the box that says you saved them is a real challenge. PixelJunk Raiders gets really exciting as you fight for the last life points in hopes of finding a key item to rid the area of the last of the colorful aliens. A nice synthetic soundtrack helps give the game its intended retro-pulp-fictional aesthetic, though the barren worlds don’t have the same effect. PJR is much more similar toDeath Stranding than I thought. It’s about traversing an arid land from one colony to the next, with little meaning in between, and a lot of crap when you get there.

PixelJunk Raiders – Overview – Bottom Line



  • Difficult encounters with enemies after some early breezes.
  • A cheerful retro-fantasy music sets the right scene.
  • Good character development divided into several development trees


  • The central circuit of lifesaving action is the routine
  • Boss fights stay with the models
  • Procedurally generated levels that are not worth opening.

PixelJunk Raiders is almost a good game, and certainly not terrible, but the best parts – the roguelike system and some challenging melee combat – are still better done in other games of the genre, and those games aren’t built around saving survivors who act more like statues. With a greater variety of missions and landscapes, this indie game could be the killer app Google needs, but as it stands, it’s a small step for Stadia and a big leap for no one. [Note: Google provided a copy of the game PixelJunk Raiders used for this evaluation].

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