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PixelJunk 4am review

PixelJunk 4am review

In the grand scale of ‘things we’re not entirely sure how to review’, PixelJunk 4am sits right up there with the best of them. It’s not as confusing as Linger In Shadows, and it’s not as downright ‘huh?’ as .detuned. Still, PixelJunk 4am makes us think of a world where we’re asked to review things that are hard to review, and we don’t like that world because it’s so damn warm right now.

Anyway, 4am is a music visualiser with Move-controlled interaction, allowing you to switch between four choices for four tracks (rhythm/lead etc), add reverb, distortion and a number of other effects and throw in a few one-off beats and other such noises. You do all of this with the wagglestick, flailing around, smoothly sweeping for some effects, hammering the top, bottom and sides of your ‘3D canvas’ (i.e. the space in front of you in your smelly little room) and generally looking the fool, as is the case with oh so many Move games. But the result is some relaxing, chilled out beats. Though no disco, unfortunately.

The music you produce is mainly automated, so you’ll never make something that sounds genuinely terrible, but it does mean quite often you’re not sure what you’re actually doing. While standing around and waggling the wagglestick (probably while in your pants, let’s be honest). But there are no goals, no scores, nothing to aim for beyond your own personal satisfaction – those looking for traditional things like a scoreboard are looking in the wrong place.

There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, it’s just something worth pointing out. If you’re determined to be top of every leaderboard then you’re best sticking with… whatever it is you damn kids play these days, with your scores and your hula hoops and your wireless radios.

But there is one element that’s sure to tickle the gland that so requires the validation of others and the need to make a number go higher. You see, others can watch your ‘show’ livestreamed through the PixelJunk 4am. There’s a running tally of your ‘crowd’ measured, and the fact you’re always reminded what your biggest ever crowd was is sure to make some people compose their ambient sounds for a lot longer, if only to make said number turn into a number that is also a number (but a bit bigger).

Those watching the show can also give out kudos by waggling their own wagglestick at home, though this is all the interaction they can be involved in with the work of others. It’s a brief distraction and sometimes interesting, if you get to watch some kid in Moscow making the most beautiful sounds you’ve ever heard, but that doesn’t exactly happen all the time.

And then, of course, you can use PixelJunk 4am as a straight-up visualiser with music on your hard drive, which is a nice feature but certainly not something worth paying £6.49 for.

Then… well… what are you supposed to say beyond that?

40% (taking into account the whole ‘is it actually something you can review normally?’ factor, of course)

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  • Jeremy Ricci

    What an absolutely god awful review. It reads like a personal blog, not a review from a member of the enthusiast press. Maybe leave your motion controlled hatred and vitriol at the door next time you’re asked to do something you don’t like. Goodness…

  • Joey

    You just got scolded!

  • Ian Dransfield

    Hang on, where’s the hatred of the motion control in the review? At least criticise something that’s there, not something you’ve imagined.