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FEATURED VOXPOP oblivion437 Update: I was unfortunately not aware of Shamus Young's severe criticism of Fallout 3 available here to link in the original piece and I regret that.  It dovetails rather nicely with what I've written and it's much better executed than my piece.  I strongly recommend anyone...

PixelJunk 4am Review

danielrbischoff By:
danielrbischoff
05/24/12
PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION
EMAIL TO A FRIEND
GENRE Action 
PLAYERS 1- 2 
PUBLISHER Sony 
DEVELOPER Q! Games 
RELEASE DATE Out Now
E Contains No Descriptors

What do these ratings mean?

Move with the music.


I played trombone from 4th to 11th grade. I had fun, but I eventually put it down in favor of writing. Still, I remember making music fondly, relaxing and entertaining at the same time. I keep thinking I should pick up a different instrument and try music again.

Unfortunately, I think the latest experiment from Q-Games may have staved off that desire for a little while. For all of its visual flare and music-based gameplay, 4am is more of an instrument than a game.


I suppose the best way to play PixelJunk 4am would be with a solitary Move controller. You can play with two Moves, cooperatively with another person or use both yourself, for different techniques. Most of your time will be with one controller, though, as two wands might be more trouble than they're worth.

Holding down the Move button and moving the controller from one side of the TV to another adds in building blocks of the musical mix. You can "pull" loops in for different tracks including Bass and Rhythm. Other motions add reverb and more.

Playlists consist more apparently of different visualizers than they do song tracks. The set of tools let you alter, twist, bend, and completely remix the backing track, but I honestly had more fun with a completely different aspect of the game. Creating a visual and musical mixture can get too abstract after a while.


Of course, I'm assuming garnering the accolades of your fellow 4am-ers helps make the gameplay stay entertaining, longer. Playing with an active PSN connection allows you to stream your session to anyone caring to watch. Feeling more voyeuristic, I spent most of my PixelJunk 4am time watching (and listening) to others playing the game.

It got to a point where I would look out for specific PSN IDs. It was like browsing radio stations by online handle. 4am conveniently allows you to follow certain users so you can see when they're broadcasting. Some of them are so brilliant that I felt like putting down that trombone all over again and defer the musical talent to better performers.

The Live Viewer allows anyone to tune in and watchers can shake their controllers to offer up "kudos". As a performer, you'll see your kudos and viewer totals every once in a while so you know what kind of audience you're reaching.


In the end I think PixelJunk 4am's watchable performances are a fun distraction. Picking up the controller and experimenting with the music can result in some great sounds, but maybe streaming a performance isn't your thing. I'm more interested in listening to someone else's performance in the background, since using the Move controller as an instrument can get tiresome.

So in scoring PixelJunk 4am, I have to take into consideration that's it's not quite the game you're used to playing on the PS3, or any platform for that matter. There's little else like it (maybe Electroplankton?), so I have to rate it against itself and the amount of enjoyment I got out of it.

PixelJunk 4am is a wonderfully stimulating experiment, but it's not for everyone.

Copy not provided by publisher.
PixelJunk 4am
fullfullfullhalfempty
  • Listen in
  • Play around
  • Put it down
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