I'll cut right to it, if you liked the first PixelJunk Shooter, you're going to like PixelJunk Shooter 2. I never played the first game, but I read several reviews of the first installment to prepare for the sequel. The problem I ran into is that each review I read sounded like it was a review PJS 2. I read our own Mike "pheriannath" Katsufrakis' Co-Op Review of the first PJS and it was like he was reading my mind (while using a time machine back in 2009). Pretty much everything he stated in his review applies to the sequel. The setting has changed, but the gameplay remains the same, with one horrible exception, which I'll get to later.
For the uninitiated, PixelJunk Shooter 2 is a twin stick shooter that charges you with flying a tiny spaceship around hazardous environments while rescuing scientists and miners on the planet Apoxus Prime. Your ship is armed with bullets and homing missiles. Tap the trigger to fire, hold down the trigger for full-auto homing missiles. Be careful, though, as full-auto can quickly overheat your craft. Once you overheat, you burn, then crash. You have a grappling hook that can pick up survivors, treasure, and power-ups. Your hook can also be used to intact with the environment, like pulling plugs and switches. There are baddies to blast, as well.
Co-op buddies using water to cool the liquid hot magma.
If you played to the end of PJS you probably have a good idea where the second game takes place. Since I'm not ruining anything that you won't see in the first thirty seconds of PJS 2, you begin the game by getting swallowed by a giant creature. The creature's gastrointestinal tract is the first area of play. The game is comprised of three areas divided into five stages each. Each stage has several rooms or maps to play through. I found that later stages could take anywhere from twenty to forty minutes to complete the first time through, depending on how bad I was flying or how tough the enemies were, but I'll get to the difficulty later.
Here's a solo player using the grappling hook to rescue survivors. How do they all fit in there? Oh, and he's in what looks like a stomach. Gross.
What really separates the PixelJunk Shooter franchise from other twin stick shooters is the liquid physics and puzzles. The first game used water and lava to great effect for puzzles and environmental hazards. The sequel has some new tricks up its sleeve, with stomach acid, green and purple goo, and black magnetic liquid adding to the mix. Each of these liquids behave differently when they come in contact with each other. Much of the game's charm comes from using them to your advantage. Adding water to a lava flow creates a layer of breakable rock. You may harness the magnetic liquid and pull it over your enemies. When water touches ice it begins to freeze, forming new barriers. There are a handful of suits for your ship that change the gameplay. The Hungry Suit, Water Suit, and Anti-Magnet Suit are just a few. You'll see ports in the levels if a suit is available, simply fly into it and you're ready to go. The environments have a lot of things to play with -when they are not trying to kill you.