Review: PixelJunk 4am Is Good Anytime (PlayStation Network)

Just make sure you’re not expecting a traditional game experience.

Dylan Cuthbert and his team over at Q Games aren’t known for making routine downloadable game experiences.  Each one they’ve produced stands out in their own right, like the twin-stick shooting fun of PixelJunk Shooter 1 and 2, the sheer addiction of PixelJunk Monsters, or the crazy old-school-ness (that is a word) of PixelJunk Sidescroller.  But even with such an offbeat resume, there’s no way you could see something like PixelJunk 4am coming.  It’s as funky a game experience as you’re likely to find this year, if not really about being a game itself.

The routine rules for gaming don’t apply in PixelJunk 4am.  In essence, you’re given multiple scenarios in which you can use the PlayStation Move controller to shift music tracks and guide on-screen happenings, thus shaping the way the music plays out as you progress.  You can change up a number of things and create a virtual display at the same time, while learning new tutorials that might make you more of a music master.

Now, if you don’t have a PlayStation Move controller, you need to go out and get one, as the DualShock 3 isn’t supported with this game.  That’s for the best, though, as this is the sort of game that really brings out the best in the peripheral.  Every motion you make and button you press seems to have some sort of functionality when it comes to putting together your own tunes, and it almost feels magical – in a way, anyway.

The music itself is great to listen to, no matter how you shape it.  PixelJunk 4am contains multiple tunes to play around with, and even with the somewhat limited soundtrack (you can’t add your own, and no additional downloadable tunes are available – at least, not yet), you can always learn a new thing or two.

In addition, Q Games has interlaced the entire experience with beautiful visuals which you twist around any way you see fit, depending how your performance goes.  Some are better than others, as we preferred the crazy art stylings of colorful paint brushings to shifting music bars, but one’s bound to become your favorite in no time.