Who doesn’t love to shoot things? Who doesn’t love robots? What about shooting robots? A lot of them? Why am I asking so many questions when you’re dying to know what this is all about? Shoot Many Robots. How many of you have dreamed of the chance to be a gun-toting and beer swilling hillbilly that goes on a rampage against robots who have brought about the apocalypse? Okay, so probably not many of you, but damn if it isn’t fun regardless.
You don’t necessarily get a lot of info on what’s happening within the game; it all starts with a quick tutorial level where the robots have destroyed your house and your favorite pickup truck; luckily for you you’ve got the next best thing – a house-truck combo RV! Beyond that, players only really know (and have to know honestly) is that hostile robots have taken over and it’s up to you to fight back and shoot as many of them to pieces as you can.
Gameplay consists of the tried and true side-scrolling shoot-em up style. It brought back memories of playing Contra and Metal Slug for me, which those are great classics in my mind. The majority of the game is spent running to the right side of the screen shooting as you go – it’s pretty straightforward honestly. You run, jump, slide, and…well, run, jump, and slide. Shooting is already included – those are the rest of your activities. The thing that did elicit a chuckle from me was the method of recovering health: P. Walter Tugnut (you) will crack a beer and drink it, restoring his health. While it’s a stereotype I’m very familiar with, it’s still funny to see and it’s definitely a tongue in cheek approach to humor.
The game is broken into sections with each section containing a variety of levels as well as different enemies. Unlocking the later levels requires stars which are gained from the ranking system that awards players at the end of each level. Get a better combo within levels and increase the number of nuts you receive from enemies and get a better ranking. Not too mention more nuts, but more info on that later.
The combo system is based on how fast you can kill enemies, but it’s flawed in its own ways – there isn’t a continuous stream of enemies on screen at all times for most levels. It’s very common to run around for a few seconds without any action and in that short span expect to lose most, if not all, of your combo meter. There is a bonus to the combo meter though – get a high enough combo going and you’ll start cracking out critical hits every shot. This can be a life saver in some situations when robots, both large and small, start to overrun you.
Speaking of the nuts, this game uses them just like Ratchet and Clank – they are currency for upgrades. It’s an interesting upgrade system where you purchase new items and weapons that give you bonuses as well as penalties. Many of the items end up being the same thing over and over – just redone with a new name, a new coat of paint, and even better stats. Weapon wise there are two sets – the primary weapon (with infinite ammo) which is broken down into a number of guns including shotguns, assault rifles, and even warship cannons. Heavy weapons take a different turn – anything from RPGs to freeze rays. You’re also given ways to customize your appearance, all of which will defer bonuses to you in different forms (and penalties). There are things to cover your chrome dome, backpacks for extra ammo, and even new pant and pant-like accessories. The only thing I truly found myself disgusted at in this aspect was the ability to purchase nuts and items using real world currency – cheaaaaaap way of doing things.
Graphically the game is both lighthearted and intense. It’s lighthearted based on the cel-shaded graphics – the colors are bright and vivid, the robots stand out against the background, and the explosions are fun to watch. It’s also intense though because the game has a lot going on at any given point. Explosions throw up smoke that clouds the screen some, parts are flying around, and enemies can spawn from random spots. It’s hectic, but fun as hell.
There’s a bonus part to this game as well: cooperative play! Yay! You and a group of buddies can all join up either online or off for this side-scroller and take on the robots as an army. From my experience, it seemed like there were more robots to shoot just having 2 players alone, but I might be mistaken. Regardless though it was a huge help to have a second player – it’s always better to have someone else around to soak up some damage for you. At the end of the level the game will divvy out the nuts to each player based on their kills and skills. Do better and earn more for those precious upgrades.
Shoot Many Robots is a great game that conjures up the spirits of its predecessors in the same genre (though it is nowhere as difficult as Contra thankfully). Priced to sell, the game has lots of replay value in attempts to get perfect ratings and the achievements, the co-op is great, and the game itself is just fun to play. Why not swill some cheap beer and go shootin’ some robots?Note: Shoot Many Robots was reviewed on Xbox 360. A digital copy of the game provided by the publisher.