Like any good SHMUP you can play PixelJunk SideScroller in co-op. You’ll be playing through the game’s single player levels just the same, though players have to share from the same life pool. This means that the difficult game is even more difficult because you’ll be continuing twice as much. Players also contribute towards the same point total and a separate leaderboard.
Co-op is pretty much exactly how you would expect, and it is a bunch of fun with a friend - but it’s equally, if not more, frustrating. This is mostly due to the enviornmental dangers with players getting hung up or killed. The other weird thing with the co-op mode is once you start it - there’s no way to turn it off without actually exiting the game. We even tried turning off the controller for Player 2 and the game still refused to let us jump back into single player.
While PixelJunk SideScroller is a solid SHMUP, I can’t help but feel it’s a bit inbalanced. The game only offers three areas with four sub sections each capped off by a boss. If you managed to beat those areas on the normal difficulty, you’ll unlock a fourth. The problem I had was the difficulty separation between Casual and Normal was quite great and with that came a lot of frustration.
Fans of SHMUP up games will have a decent time here and the visuals and style alone almost make the game worth it. Co-Op adds a bit to the mix, though it seems to be a bit of an afterthought. It’s a bit disappointing as the PixelJunk series have added some unique twists to co-op gameplay with each successive game. That’s not to say what SideScroller offers co-op players is bad, it’s just not anything special.
The Co-Op Experience: Team up with a friend locally in this old school style shoot em up. Players share a life pool and combine for score.
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.