The clue is in the name…
Would you really be surprised to find out that Shoot Many Robots, developed by Demiurge, is a side-scrolling shooter that revolves around shooting many robots? Those of you out there who are hoping for some hidden depth, or that the title of the game is perhaps somewhat ironic, will be sorely disappointed as the games’ title really does tell you exactly what to expect. But now that you know what you are in for, we can get into how much fun Shoot Many Robots is.
Shoot Many Robots is a strange combination of Metal Slug style gameplay combined with a setting that is almost Borderlands in it’s execution. The story, for what it’s worth, involves a robot apocalypse and a rather upset red-neck. It doesn’t really get much deeper than that, but if you are thinking of picking up this game for the deep and emotional storyline, then you are seriously barking up the wrong tree.
Anyway, after a short introduction, the action begins with the player moving from left to right and shooting many robots. The controls are fairly straightforward, if a little fiddly in some instances, with precision aiming being particularly difficult. There is a button assigned to chug a beer, which replenishes health as it is needed. Otherwise, there is not much more you really need to know, other than that you have to keep shooting the damn robots.
There is a reasonable variety of different robots that will come for you in the game, with the sole objective of ending your rampage and possibly destroying your mobile home. For the most part, these machines really only resemble moving weapons, which is a shame as I always imagined that a robot apocalypse would involve the uprising of everyday robots rather than what amounts to a purpose built robot army. To me this seems more like a robot invasion. But maybe I am looking too deeply at a game with very little depth. Still, they all look suitably grungy, like they have just walked out of a wrecking yard, and there are the occasional boss robots that are quite impressive.
The player moves from level to level thanks to their handy mobile home, which also acts as the base from which the player can upgrade their weapons and clothing. This is perhaps one of the most impressive aspects of the game, as there are simply hundreds of things to collect and unlock. The player will find items as they work through the levels, which can then be purchased from the mobile home once the player reaches the required level and has collected enough of the nuts dropped by fallen robots.
The player can carry two weapons, a primary weapon with unlimited ammo, and a secondary, more powerful weapon with limited use. As the player gains levels, more of these weapons will become available for purchase, allowing the player to match their weapon to their play style. The majority of the weapons come in the standard forms that we would expect, with the occasional exotic weapon such as freeze rays. Some of these armaments perform better than others and just because something becomes available, it does not mean that the player should buy it. Personally, I found the flame thrower particularly useless during single player, with robots still managing to inflict damage after I had happily set them alight.
Beyond the weapons, the player also has access to a massive collection of strange and wonderful clothing. The cool thing about the clothing is that each item adds or takes away from various stats, or even adds new abilities – much like in a classic RPG. And I said there was no depth…
Whilst the level designs are moderately interesting, with the occasional survival-style level showing up for variety, there is very little that can be done about the repetitive nature of the game – shoot robots, shoot more robots, shoot even more robots. It is enjoyable to begin with, but the fun begins to wear thin after a very short while. What does help with this, however, is the addition of friends. Really, what can’t be made more fun with friends?
The ability to team up with up to three buddies and face this robot apocalypse certainly ramps up the fun. In fact, the game appears to be designed for co-op play, simply because the levels get very difficult very quickly if playing alone. Obviously by adding more players, the game becomes easier, partially due to the fact that players can revive fallen comrades if they are quick enough. It also makes weapons like the aforementioned flame thrower more attractive, as players can take on different roles through the levels.
For some gamers, all it takes is a ton of robots to shoot to make them happy. Shoot Many Robots is fairly mindless in it’s gameplay, but there is hidden depth with the RPG-style equipment management and brilliant co-op fun with friends. It is all well polished and solidly built, so if you are looking for some simple arcade action with buddies, Shoot Many Robots will hit the spot. Solo players however will find that the robots get repetitive way before humanity is saved.