Monster Madness

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Monster MadnessWS000000Monster Madness
Hi everyone, the response to my blog entry in August was great, and I finally have some spare time. So here’s an entry about our latest PixelJunk title: PixelJunk Monsters!

Everyone here at Q-Games loves real-time strategy games, from Warcraft through to Command & Conquer and Company Of Heroes, etc., but the Japanese public simply don’t buy that genre yet. So one thing I really wanted to do with Monsters is take the simple RTS concept of building and researching and having base defenses (a concept that has been used in Warcraft tower-defense mods and more recently in its Flash incarnations) and wrap it all in a completely different style and mode of gameplay that the Japanese public (and hopefully the West too, of course!) would really get into.

RTS’s are historically controlled by a roving cursor (either a mouse, or an analogue controller) and right from the start I decided to take that away and replace it with a cute character you control. You run around as this little defender-of-the-forests type chap, collecting money and building defensive towers along the paths to your base. You can only build towers where we have placed trees in the stages, which gave us enormous control over the design and balancing of each map. As a result we have over 20 very different stages, all of which are unique and addictive to play.

Another major help in the design was the addition of gems that the monsters sometimes drop; using these gems you can research more advanced towers, or upgrade existing ones. If you like though, you can upgrade existing towers by doing a little rain-dance-type performance in front of them too. The longer you dance, the more powerful the towers become!


Out of all the games I have made over the years, PixelJunk Monsters was probably the hardest to balance and tune! In the end, it took a whole team of planners (Japanese for game designer) to play the game non-stop for a month and record their data into a database from which we adjusted money/gems/toughness of enemies etc., accordingly. They were all thoroughly addicted by the end of this process and even after completing the game in its entirety numerous times they still boot it up for “one more go.” The online rankings are going to be pretty competitive for this title and there are separate tables for cooperative and single play. The cooperative mode actually gets people to talk to each other as they play, and seeing as girls love this game (no, honestly, they do!), Monsters could become an important tool in every lad’s arsenal!

On a completely different (but important) note, some people might be looking for flashy graphics with thousands of polygons and in-your-face transparency/effects everywhere but if every game is like that things begin to look the same; so for this title we have purposefully gone for a style that hearkens back to the pre-PlayStation era. By using a ton of meticulously hand-drawn 2D art instead of 3D modeled graphics, we have tried to re-create the feel of some of those older classics (we still go overboard on shader effects though, as they are so much fun to program!).

Our next title will be yet another completely different style (as was PixelJunk Racers). In fact, this freedom of style and expression we are discovering is one of the great things about developing indie games. With your continuing support (i.e. please keep buying our games, they only cost approximately 1.5 beers!) we’ll continue fiddling and experimenting with new concepts and styles for as long as we can come up with the ideas and cash to support them!

PixelJunk Monsters will be available on PlayStation Network globally in January.

Comments are closed.


8 Author Replies

  • we need PlayStation Network Store in Mexico, Please!!!!!!

  • If it’s cheap enough I’ll give it a play. Oh yeah…FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Very nice preview Dylan, thanks for give us so more information. The game look really, really nice, I love this tower defense games!

  • Will there be a demo? I think I remember one for PixelJunk Racers. I probably won’t buy it unless I get a chance to play it first :)

  • @aeneima – Stay on target…er…topic.

    OT: I like the art style, but will have to wait and see for the final game.
    Looks interesting though….

  • Sony … If i wanted this game … and i am from Bahrain … and Bahrain dose not have Store … what the hell can i do ???

  • hhmmm..I love strategy games and if this game does indeed have Multiplayer, im down for a good time for $10 cause I can always use a fun but casual game. Keep us up to date.

  • My sisters will probably love it. (Me too)
    Worldwide launch date? Please! I always hate it when the web says aka pain is out and I want it, but I cant! And when its out I don’t care. Comeone!

  • it looks nice!! again it looks different
    thats why a i like sony, they are trying new things
    ill buy this game
    cant wait for echochrome too :)

  • WHAT IS THIS CRAP??????!!

  • Actually sounds really good.

    Little games like this make it fun =] I will be happy to pay for this game.

  • This looks really interesting. One of the things I love about PSN is that it affords developers the ability to go in totally unique and unexpected directions. I didn’t really dig the PixelJunk Racers demo, but this looks really intriguing. The art style in particular looks great. Can’t wait to see what’s next!

  • Sounds interesting, but no vs. mode online?

  • “wrap it all in a completely different style and mode of gameplay that the Japanese public…would really get into.”

    That’s interesting that the Japanese market was hugely considered in the making of this game? Why is that?

  • What are the chances we’ll see some concept art from the game or production stuff on the PSN as wallpapers or themes? I’m really enamoured with the art. It sort of has that cute, warm SNES look to it but it’s high resolution.

  • @ Neil

    Never mind I just answered my own question. You guys are based in Japan. For some reason I thought you were a European company.

  • Consider it bought. Great work guys.

  • Tell Sony to make Playstation Cards in the US and I will buy your game and many others.

    @Jeff Rubenstein

    That’s a suggestion! Make PS cards so I can give money to you!

  • Interesting game to bring to the PSN. Can’t wait to see this.

  • RAD!! I can’t wait to play it. Seems like just what the doctor ordered for those days when I don’t feel like playing any online games or finishing any hard-to-beat PS2 games I am slacking on.

    How many stages?

    Also, 1.5 beers is $10? Where? A 12 pack of Busch(here in tx at least) is about $8. :)

  • Sounds intriguing.

  • I already know I’m adding this one to my collection, Racers was not my thing (quality though!) but I love the mini RTS idea! There is a little flash game out there called Tower Defense that will give people an idea of the basic concept. I am anticipating VERY ADDICTIVE game play with your already demonstrated high quality!

  • Sounds totally awesome. I cant wait!

  • I love tower defense games and if this one offers some kind of online component with better gameplay. You surely have me interested.PSN is not always about realistic graphics.

  • I’m still not entirely sure what’s going on in the game, but it looks like a very quaint, old-school game. What do you do with these towers…? Do you command other creatures? At the very least, I am intrigued. Just a shame, I have to wait until January to find out. I’m glad to see that you’re once again attacking the concept of “modern gaming” and doing it through an RTS title no less (people have been asking for them). I’ll be looking forward to it.

  • Please tell me this has online play?!

  • Totally awesome. I really can’t wait for this!

  • love Tower defense games…first day buy Dylan

  • why can’t this game come out tomorrow. why do i have to wait for it. oh yeah does it have online play

  • Looks VERY interesting, I look forward to more posts with some more gameplay specifics :)

    I’ll do anything to get my wife to pick up the controller with me. So far she only likes tp play Piyotama. :(

  • i like the 2D Graphics, Im buying it as soon as it comes out. i like how they are doing these simple games. Everyday Shooter was awesome!

  • Turret Defense!

    Haha wow I took me a couple minutes to figure out what kind of game this is. Does any remember Starcraft Turret Defence? Basicly like that. Mobs run through a maze and you have to kill them with your turrets before they reach the end.

    Simply fantastic. Can’t wait. :)

  • NICE……I will definitely be checking this one out..

  • Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!

    I love my PS3 man!

  • Very nice idea Dylan. I really love the way you treat us in Q-games. I personally am really glad that SONY supports creativity, even when it isnt, like you said: 1000000 polygons in 3D. I mean, everyone loves classic/oldscool gameplay, and with the new fresh breath you guys give to the game, Success is assured!

    1 question: is this also a little experiment to make the RTS genre a bit more popular in Japan?


  • Nice! . But how can i buy it if there’s no PS store here in Mèxico?

    Please Sony release the Ps Store in México or at least the Playstation cards.

  • dammmn, I’m really excited about this game, the only disappointment is that it isn’t out sooner, I have been looking forward to this game for awhile now X_x

  • Sounds like a fun game. I like TD games, and this one looks like a fun, japanese take on the genre.

    It’s good to see developers realizing that graphics don’t really sell games, gameplay does. Bejeweled has sold more copies than Resistance, likely, so I think developers need to take a look at that concept and start focusing on gameplay first and second, then everything else.

  • looks really fun. hope it supports 1080. Also, does it support multiplayer on one console?

  • @reson8er

    I hear ya, I’m constantly trying to get my wife to play games with me and so far Piyotama is all she likes. I could see her getting into this though. Nice work Q games!

  • Ok, well, if this is going to be a TD like warcraft homebrew i have a few questions.

    1. Will there be multiplayer maps like wintermaul and Maffa? from my experience these are the most fun PvE TD maps there are.

    2. Will there be PvP TD maps like WMW or line tower wars 7?

    3. will user be able to make their own forms of maps. be they great or greatly dissapointing?

    i ask these because direct communication with others in a competative enviornment prety mush makes TD the most addictive games that they are.

    its a definite buy for me anyways but thats cause i’m a TD whore.

  • STEP 1 of my PSN Downloadable Games World Domination Plan:


    …You now have a Tower Defense game.

    Personally I would liked to have had someone who has already proven their ability in making Tower Defense games provide us with one, but this is nonetheless a good start at doing what I said on my list from here:

    (Comment #44, or just do a search for JDPoZ)

    Now just make sure it’s online/offline 7-player competitive/co-op and of course… doesn’t suck. Like the duck game…

  • What’s up with the devs not commenting on stories anymore? Neither Jaffee (on Tuesday) nor Dylan are responding to us…

  • Hmmmm, very different to pixeljunk racers, i knew you were doing different games but i had no idea this varyed, should be alot better than racers. Which was okay, but glaringly flawed after roughly an hour. The great thing about this style is no matter how bad ur game is, cos ur next one will be completely different people will always give you another chance.

  • On a side note, tell me it doesnt have really cheesy voices going ‘BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME’
    Or i will acctually bludgon myself over the head with my controller.

  • Hey everyone, thanks for all the comments (I spotted the comment about devs not responding but here in Japan it is only just morning so I have only just had the chance to read through everybody’s responses)

    I’m amazed at how positive everyone is – we have really gone out on a limb with this SNES-like style (because we like it!) and I wasn’t sure how it was going to be received.

    The game supports cooperative play (which I think is a first in a tower-defense type game?) and crisp full-HD 1080 at 60hz. Also, the soundtrack is unique and original.. quite weird and ambient though, a style not many people have heard before.

    We also support PSP remote play and it is probably one of the first games that supports this really well – ie. it is totally playable through your PSP, even at low bandwidths.

    Oh, don’t forget dual-shock 3 support too, for those really early adopters out there.

    There’s an article going up on (n’Gai) today which hopefully has some illustrative/concept artwork and also keep an eye on for more info about this game and the third title (and eventually fourth and fifth of course). We will be posting a movie on there today or tomorrow.

  • Will there be a demo? I loved how I was able to test out PixelJunk racers, unlike the other PSN games.

    Unfortunately I won’t be able to buy the game, why you ask? Because there are no Playstation Cards. Sony promised them in E3 2005, and we Americans haven’t heard of them since. Unlike the Japanese who will be getting Playstation Cards later this year (article from Kotaku). I’ve asked politely for months, but nobody from sony has ever responded. I know Jeff supposedly reads the comments, but nobody has ever responded to me. Microsoft and Nintendo have had their version of the Playstation Card out since their respective launches, but sony is not even talking about them. All I’m asking for is a comment on the Playstation Cards, it’s fine if you say “we have no idea” but I get the feeling I’m not nor ever going to get a response. Thank you

  • I’m not sure what the schedule is with pre-paid cards but I agree, credit cards only is limiting. I’ll be interested to see how well they are adopted in Japan.

  • Dylan you rock, I’m just glad somebody finally responded to me

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