Shoot Many Robots (XBOX 360) Preview
Shoot Many Robots is a download only title developed by Demiurge Studios and published by Ubisoft. It is the first original title to be released by Demiurge Studios who previously worked on titles such as Rock Band, BioShock and Mass Effect.
This game is arcade style shooter with a very retro feel. It instantly takes us back to the lost fortune we spend in the local arcades in the 1990s and the plot is unashamedly non existent, centring around the protagonist of Shoot Many Robots, P. Walter Tugnut, a hillbilly who has been stock-piling his RV with guns, ammo, and beer awaiting the robot apocalypse. The "P" stands for "Pickles", but he doesn't like his given first name and instead goes by "Walter".
One day, a previously dormant Chernobyl-style factory begins producing robots on its own. This is the day that Walter has been waiting for his entire life and he sets off in his RV on a robot-killing rampage, hoping to save humanity from an onslaught of robot menaces.
The game is a 2D side scrolling platform game in which we are attacked by a variety of robotic foes from either direction.
There are five distinct environments in Shoot Many Robots, and each environment has multiple Missions that take place in them. The environments are Farmlands, Cliffs, Oil Fields, City and Factory. In these environments we play on of the two basic mission types, "Run-n-Gun" and Survival. Run-n-Gun is a linear-style gameplay where we fight robots and trying to reach the end of the level. Survival mode takes place in smaller levels and pits us against waves of robot hordes. Each of these mission types appears within Adventures, and Adventures have three difficulty modes: Normal, Hard, and Insane.
During the missions we can collect Power Ups which are dropped randomly by killed robots. They drop more frequently when the Combo Meter is higher and grant temporary abilities or refill consumable items. Multiple Power Ups can be picked up at the same time and their perks stack on top of equipped items bonuses. The Power Ups are Speed Increased, Critical Hits (increased damage), Melee Damage (increased melee damage), Secondary Ammo (secondary weapon ammo replenished) and Health.
As well as the Power Ups dropped by the occasional scrapped robot, all killed robots drop nuts. These are the game's currency that can be used to buy new Weapons and Gear. They are also tied to the point system in which players are awarded a 1-5 star rating based on how many nuts were collected in the level. More nuts can be gained by keeping the Combo Meter high throughout a level. The meter multiplies the number of Nuts dropped by robots up to 5 times.
Loot crates are hidden throughout levels that randomly drop Weapons, Gear, or Nuts. Finding a crate unlocks the ability to purchase the item in the store. Loot crates can also be dropped randomly by certain robots.
Walter refills his health by drinking beer. By default he can carry up to 3 beers, but some Gear can expand the amount that he can carry. Health regenerates partially if we don't continue to receive damage and in co-op, we are able to revive his teammates if they become incapacitated.
All this robot killing gets better with practice as killing robots gives us XP and XP makes us stronger, and the stronger you are, the more robots you can kill. It's all one big cycle of robot murder. We level up by killing robots to gain experience. Levelling up gives us more health and increased damage, as well as granting access to new Gear and Weapons, which affect various stats and sometimes allows the use special abilities.
The controls for all this robotic murder are a little out of the ordinary. Firstly and most oddly the X button for the 360 game pad controls shooting, as opposed to the trigger, the right trigger makes us slide and the left trigger allows us to aim without moving. This brings us to the second control nuance, that of aiming. While aiming up, down, left and right poses no issues aiming off the vertical or horizontal axis is a bit tricky. The crosshair naturally moves towards the axis and aiming at a 45° angle take some time and practice.
Other than the adventure environments we are also able to access Walters RV between missions. This gives us access to the Guns & Gear menu, allowing us to take advantage of our newly collected nuts to buy equipment. We can also access the map and this allows us to replay a mission or move on the next environment.
Equipping items like a tutu, or paper bag affects our attributes, and some even give us special abilities. Using nuts dropped from dead robots, we can buy bigger guns and better gear of which there are hundreds to unlock!
Two weapons can be equipped at one time: primary and secondary. Primary weapons have unlimited ammo and secondary weapons have limited ammo. Secondary ammo can be replenished at certain checkpoints, as well as in Power Ups that are dropped by killed robots.
As well as requiring nuts to purchase weapons we also need to achieve a required level through XP or get a set of weapon blueprints which are dropped in loot crates and at random by certain robots. Finding a weapon blueprint makes it available for purchase in the store.
Gear can be equipped in three slots: head, back, and legs. Equipping gear items affects our attributes, and some gives us special abilities. Using nuts dropped from dead robots, loot crates, and mission completion rewards; we can buy new gear in the store. Gear blueprints are dropped in loot crates and at random by certain robots. Finding a gear blueprint makes it available for purchase in the store.
The game has a competitive co-op mode. We can team up with up to three other players to take on the robot armies but we are also competing for the best performance, since at the end of every mission each player is awarded nuts based on how many robots they killed.
Full DLC plans have not been officially announced yet; however the first content pack will include a robot chosen from the Design Many Robots contest.
Graphics and Audio
The graphic style of Shoot Many Robots is a cartoon 2D side scroller, with areas of the mission maps repeated. The graphics make an attempt at a comedy styling, as an example our character drinks a beer to replenish health and this attempt at humour is accompanied by a burp sound effect.
Other sound effects are mainly weapon focused. Each weapon doesn't really have a unique sound; more like all the gun types seem to have the same sound. Background sound effects are limited and the game features no audio dialogue.
The game music is a rock guitar based riff with a distinct country music feel that fits well with the hillbilly protagonist. Unfortunately the music only lasts for about 1 minute then loops.
This retro platform shooting is only 800 points per download. Certainly for a particular mindset but a bargain if you are looking for some mindless four player fun or a trip down memory lane.