Shoot Many Robots – Indie Game Review

Games like: Abuse, Sunset Riders, Gunstar Heroes

Shoot Many Robots is a side-scrolling run-and-gun developed by Demiurge Studios and published by Ubisoft released in April of 2012. Seeing releases also on the Playstation Network, Xbox Live Arcade, and mobile devices such as Android and soon on iOS. Receiving lower ratings on other popular gaming sites, Shoot Many Robots doesn’t hold well here either.

Purchased during the Summer Steam sale, Shoot Many Robots is a game that I have been looking forward to for some time. Run-and-guns being one of my favorite genres, I was more than happy to pick the game up for a measly $6.49. The game installed quickly after the download and I was up and ready to start shooting some robots; or rather shoot many robots.

The name of the game is kind of confusing to start off. Shoot many robots? At first glance, I was planning on shooting all the robots but according to the title I would only be shooting many not all of them. Sadly, at some points in the game, you are just shooting many robots, not all the ones you want to.

That's one big damn robot.

That’s one big damn robot.

Shoot Many Robots starts off with a nameless hero, sitting in his trailer, gearing up for the robot apocalypse. It’s up to you, you crazy hillbilly bastard, to bring the robots down and save the world. Along the way, you travel to different parts of the country making your name known in the robot community picking up stranded nuts to purchase new weapons, armor and power ups. There are two different types of levels: those platforming levels that run left to right with a boss battle at the end or a single stage there you fight wave after wave of robot hordes lasting as long as you can. Throughout most of the levels are checkpoints that you will respawn back to if you die midway through. At the checkpoints, there are also health and ammo crates that will replenish your levels. Drinking alcohol will also increase your health during battle which is a new idea for alcohol consumption in general. Usually I drink to get drunk.

After each level you can upgrade your weapons and armor... from your trailer.

After each level you can upgrade your weapons and armor… from your trailer.

Collecting the leftover nuts are used as currency in Shoot Many Robots. During the levels, there are also gold stars awarded to hitting a goal of nuts picked up. These stars are used to unlock new areas in the game. There are five total for each level. This will create replay value, not because you want to shoot to hit five gold stars, but you will be required to have “x” amount of stars to continue to the end. I want to go back and replay levels because I enjoyed the experience, not because I have to. Don’t make me do things!

Most levels have check points to respawn to if you die.

Most levels have check points to respawn to if you die.

The game is a straight PC style shooter. Requiring the use of the mouse for precise aiming much like Abuse, it’s sci-fi brother where you are shooting many other robots not related to these robots. There is no option for using a gamepad, and at first I thought this was probably the best idea. When the PC takes a genre, it’s all about precision. The use of the mouse is not as necessarily as I would have hoped due to the fact that most of the guns you use don’t have the accuracy that you would expect from this type of control scheme. Keys A and D are used to move your character back and forth, the Spacebar performs a jump, pressing it again will perform a double-jump (OH NO!) and the S key is for a slide move. During the beginning of the game, you run through a simple tutorial learning your way around the keyboard. This was the only time I used the slide move. Not once did I feel like it was necessary to slide either away or towards my enemies.

Collecting gold stars will allow you to open more areas to explore.

Collecting gold stars will allow you to open more areas to explore.

The right mouse button is set for a melee attack that can be used to fend off unwanted robots who come too close for comfort or to hit slow moving bullets back to their attackers. There are actually very few different types of robots that you slaughter throughout the game and a couple of these can fire back. The ones that do, typically have the slow moving, big bullet like you would see in most run-and-guns. By timing your punch correctly, you can hit the bullet back to the shooter in an attempt to kill them with their own ammo. This is the one feature that I was not expecting. Hitting back enemy gunshots is a nice addition to the game and I would like to see more in other games. One of the things I do like (or don’t like sometimes) in run-and-gun games are really the only defense is to get out of the way of enemy fire or kill them before they kill you. I think this is a step in the right direction for this type of genre.

Opposite the endurance levels, there are boss battles at the end of some stages.

Opposite the endurance levels, there are boss battles at the end of some stages.

The visuals are sort of cel-shaded along with the backgrounds and robot enemies. The game is designed loosely to make the player platform but falls short in creativity. The double jump does nothing to help this due to the majority of platforms being within a single jump distance. The music, on the other hand, is a surprising mix of blues electric guitar and more intense orchestral sounds during boss battles. The guitar reminds me of some Stevie Ray Vaughn sitting by a campfire picking away with some beers and friends. Very cool.

Other than requiring the player to go back and replay previous levels to gain enough stars to open new areas, there isn’t much replay value. Sure, the more nuts you pick up, the more you level up your character, will allow you to use different weapons. And there is a wide variety of weapons from simple hand guns to assault rifles. The weapons vary in the amount of ammo it holds (how many times you’ll be reloading) and the accuracy and power will vary. I’m fine with this, but if I am a level eight and the weapon I can use is less effective than a level four weapon, what’s the point of leveling up and spending so much to purchase the newly unlocked weapon? There isn’t one. Sometimes the accuracy is so bad on some weapons that having the ability to use the mouse and point the gun fire in a certain direction is pointless. With this, I don’t understand why there wasn’t gamepad control. I would have liked it more if it played similar to Sunset Riders or Gunstar Heroes. A very missed opportunity here.

VICTORY! For what?

VICTORY! For what?

There isn’t enough here for me to suggest Shoot Many Robots. The story is fun and the action can be there, but the redneck character you play, drinking alcohol to increase health, and the pointless nature to upgrade your weapons doesn’t hold me enough to play through the entire game.

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