It’s not too often you see a game inspired by the likes of Metal Slug or Contra that really brings something new to the table. That’s because developers usually try to channel in the “classic” feeling of the game without implementing any ideas of their own, worried that it’ll change the nature of the game too much. But leave it to Demiurge Studios to show a little boldness with Shoot Many Robots, a game that combines retro-fitted run-and-gun shooting with the modern day appeal to make it stand out in today’s offerings.
Robots have overrun the world, and they’re wreaking havoc on any remaining humans that stand in the way. This includes P. Walter Tugnut, a survivalist who finds his home compound surrounded by the little buggers. Unwilling to simply stand back and let them take over, he grabs his gun and does what he does best, blasting them to pieces while keeping a steady supply of ammunition — and beer — to keep him alive.
As I stated earlier, Shoot Many Robots really knows how to nail down the feeling of an old-school shooter. The controls here work very naturally and even come with a function where you can hold down the left trigger to stop in your tracks and aim with precision. What’s more, a melee attack has been included, which not only knocks robots back before they get too close for comfort, but also deflects bullets at those who fired them at you — always nice to have, especially when you’re surrounded.
Shoot Many Robots adds an appealing customization shop, which can be located in the convenience of your trailer. Here, you’ll not only find an array of new weapons to keep robo-apocalypse from happening, but you’ll also be able to dress up your character in many ways. Think you’d mess with a guy wearing a Scottish hat and a ballerina tutu, as he’s carrying a shotgun? Ha, hardly.
Along with weapons, Walter can also call upon alcohol to stop the dwindling of his health, though there’s only so many bottles he has on him. Thankfully, the game comes with checkpoints, so you never run desperately low, save for the later levels in the game.
The single-player campaign is suitable, and the game also comes with a survival mode, so you can challenge waves of enemies and see how far you get on the leaderboards. Obviously, in a case like this, it’s “the more, the merrier." Shoot Many Robots pleasantly supports co-op for online and local with up to four players. The sessions can get truly chaotic, especially when the screen fills with enemies, but it’s all in the name of fun — and this game provides a lot of it.
Though the graphics probably won’t win any awards, Demiurge has packed them with just the right amount of Southern hospitality. The character animations are good, particularly the robots; the background settings really paint a bleak picture without getting too serious; and the cel-shading seems just about right, save for a couple of moments when characters go too dark. This is a well put together shooter.
As for the audio, you’ve got some decent Southern rock music (which picks up during boss fights and ambushes), along with occasional voice samples and plenty of robot noises. They’re repetitive, and some of the jokes are a little corny, but it all fits in properly with the tone of the game.
If you’ve been itching for a challenging shooter to keep you on your toes, or if Hard Corps Uprising is driving you too crazy for its own good, Shoot Many Robots should be the next addition to your digital library. It’s great fun, alone or with friends, and it’ll put you in a happy-go-lucky mood — even if you aren’t swilling a beer.
[Reviewed on Xbox 360]