As with prior games in the PixelJunk series, Shooter comes with shared-screen co-op. The levels do not change significantly, though each level with a magma suit will also contain a water suit for the second player. This does affect gameplay slightly. In the single-player game, an overzealous player might overdo the magma a bit and accidentally roast an unwitting survivor, while in co-op the second player can (with some quick reflexes) prevent disaster. The player manning the water suit can also splash some cool, refreshing H2O on their partner, saving them from an untimely heat death. Likewise, an overheated player may be snagged by their partner's grappling hook, though they will need to be taken to a source of water to get back in the action.
Navigation through the levels with two players is relatively simple, though tight corridors and areas that require liberal use of the dash technique can be a little rough. There is collision detection between the two ships and it’s possible to bump another player, which can throw them off course. Unfortunately, the two players are also leashed to one another, which can cause some annoying issues. While it never came up in an actual game session, it is indeed possible to trap a player in one of the many crevices strewn throughout each level.
It’s very easy to delegate duties between the two players. Since the game mechanics are so simple, it makes a great introduction for casual players to the twin-stick shooter. My wife took point on rescuing survivors and carving a path through the level while I protected her by shooting every enemy in sight. This worked to great effect and allowed us to blast through levels much faster than I could on my own. The lack of online co-op doesn’t really sting too much, though it would be nice to have for those times when a willing partner isn’t available.
The biggest problem is that the co-op really doesn't add anything to the experience. Sure, it's fun and a good pair of players will blast through the game easily, but there's no real reason to do it other than that you can. The aforementioned delegation of duties isn't because of any kind of necessity, it exists largely because you are left to invent a reason to bring the other player along. The shooting never gets out of hand to the point where you'd need the extra firepower, and stray bullets can mean the death of off-screen survivors, a threat made doubly so because of the extra player.
The Co-Op Experience: Players work together to rescue people in an underground world filled with dangerous lava, rushing water, and other creatures. Players are able to revive fallen team mates by grappling them and dipping them into water to "cool off."
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.