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Pixlgun 3D review: Cool blocky graphics, but gameplay is lacking

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Pixlgun 3D is a Minecraft-themed (though not affiliated with Mojang in any way) first-person shooter for both iOS and Android that recently updated with multiplayer, perhaps explaining its meteoric rise to No. 1 at the App Store (at the time of this review). But be warned that multiplayer is only offered over local Wi-Fi.

Pixlgun 3D (iOS)
7.3

Pixlgun 3D

The Good

<b>Pixlgun 3D</b> lets you play a survival first-person shooter against AI using Minecraft-like graphics. It also has tools for creating skins for your desktop version of Minecraft.

The Bad

You'll always have to play the tutorial level to advance. The sequence of maps is always the same. There is no multiplayer via the Web. Continue-elixirs and items in the store are too expensive.

The Bottom Line

Pixlgun 3D will be fun for Minecraft fans who have a lot of opportunities to play on local Wi-Fi with friends, but the single-player game is repetitive, and there are much better first-person shooters available.

If you don't have friends sharing the same Wi-Fi, this means you'll be playing the campaign survival mode. In this mode you enter a series of levels where you'll need to kill every zombie on a map in order to move on to the next map. In the beginning, you start out on a small tutorial map (more on this later) with only a handgun and limited bullets, but as you play, you'll find more ammo and new weapons to help you in your mission.

The look of Minecraft, but as a first-person shooter (pictures)

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Zombies and other enemies come in a variety of forms, mostly sticking to the Minecraft model, with slow walkers, cube-shaped slimes, and creatively designed Creepers. Though the monsters and maps are made out of blocks like they are in Minecraft, the graphics are very smooth and responsive as you play.

The problem with campaign mode is that it's always the same. You'll always start with the tutorial level no matter how many times you play, and you'll always see the maps in the same sequence. It would be better if you could choose to start on the second map, the graveyard, after your first run, but ideally, the game would also let you play through levels randomly as you go.

Still, the campaign mode in Pixlgun 3D is pretty fun, but it's far from being one of the top first-person shooters in the genre. The only reason I can see for its sudden rise on the Most Popular list is the addition of multiplayer, but, like I said before, you'll need to be near your opponents sharing the same Wi-Fi signal. The developers of Pixlgun say worldwide multiplayer will be coming soon, but as it is, getting all your friends together for a multiplayer game will likely be challenging.

One major annoyance in the game is once you die, you'll have to start over from the beginning unless you have an elixir to continue. The game gives you one elixir for free, but you can buy more (along with other items) using real cash in the in-game store. A single elixir costs $1.99, so unless you have an unlimited supply of money, paying that much for each continue is going to get expensive extremely fast. The other items in the store (weapons and upgrades) are equally as pricey and not worth the money.

Design your own Minecraft skins
Pixlgun 3D has a bonus feature that lets you design characters for the PC edition of Minecraft. There are a number of premade skins you can use, such as a zombie, a spaceman, or a mummy, or you can create your own from scratch.

The skin maker comes with paint tools that let you first select a body part of your blocky player, then draw individual pixels or fill in colors. When you're done, you can upload the skin to your Mojang account and play with your new skin in the desktop version of the game. Unfortunately, you won't be able to use the skins in Minecraft Pocket Edition.

In the end, Pixlgun 3D is a pretty good FPS survival game, if a bit repetitive. Until worldwide multiplayer is added, the main reason to download this game would be to get some practice or for creating skins for Minecraft on your desktop. But if you're looking for a solid first-person shooter, there are better options out there.

Pixlgun 3D (iOS)
7.3

Pixlgun 3D

Score Breakdown

Setup 7Features 7Interface 8Performance 7