Let’s just get this out there: I love shooting things in games. They could be robots, people, chickens, etc. When things are running and jumping in your general direction, it’s enjoyable to knock them down a few pegs in order to make you feel better about yourself. The difference between a bad day and a less bad day could be a few rounds of a shooter. Shoot Many Robots is effective in what it is trying to be, a side scrolling death barrage. The problem is that it is so goddamned cheesy.
Shoot Many Robots exists in a world of cowboy lore; complete with terrible twangy music and all the “yeeeaaahh haws” of a western movie. I guess I’m making it sound like the game is bad. It isn’t a bad game, but the levels and their accompanying sounds are all very repetitive; and when that repetition includes cowboy stereotypes it can border along the lines of annoying. Maybe that is what the game is trying to do, but that doesn’t make it any better. Shoot Many Robots did borrow a lot of look and style cues from Borderlands.
This is a side scrolling shooter, and your main foes are the various types of robots that roam the innards of a wasteland. The difficulty of Shoot Many Robots can border along the lines of frustrating, and there does not seem to be a way to choose the difficulty at any point in the game. The difficulty level does appear to be consistent though, and there aren’t huge awkward spikes of very tough and then laughable enemies.
Apart from having robots with chainsaws on their heads just running at you, most other enemies will shoot some form of missile at you. The small red missiles cannot be shot down, but can be swatted away. The larger, foe seeking missiles can be shot down. The difficulty with any missiles is having them being shot at you while a bunch of enemies are running at you. There are also other enemies that that are weaker if you shoot them from behind, and also larger boss enemies that I found easier than a barrage of the smaller ones.
Weapons are numerous and gradually unlocked. Players can carry two weapons at a time; one standard and one heavy. You have to both find the weapon in the levels by picking them up, and then you also have to buy the weapon in the store which is accessible between levels. The standard weapon can be anything from a machine gun, a shotgun, or a flamethrower. Each weapon has a description that tells you about rate of fire, damage, and range. The heavy weapons consist of rocket launchers, turret guns and the like. Heavy weapons carry less ammo and so using them for bigger enemies the majority of the time is advised. The worse weapon to use was the flamethrower. Why would you use one of those against a metal robot? This question is never answered.
Apart from weapons, clothing items can also be picked up. Each piece of clothing has a different function such as increased capacity for ammo or increased health. It should also be noted that this isn’t sweet looking armor, but odds and ends that make your character look silly such as a beer caddy hat and snow vest. Each person can wear some form of top, bottom, and hat.
Health is increased with each level obtained. Health that is lost in battle can be regained by drinking a beer. Yes, a beer. You can pick these up at every checkpoint during the level or when enemies drop them as well as ammo. During your travels in your RV you will come across quite a few levels with pretty much the same look and feel but with two different modes overall. Each level is either a side scrolling linear level or a survival type level. Linear style levels have checkpoints with health and ammo replenishment, where as survival levels have waves. The challenging part of survival levels is you have to survive at least one wave with minimal health and ammo drops, with each additional wave being a bonus.
Although the levels are limited, they are clearly made to be replayed. Each level has a number of stars to obtain, with stars being earned by killing a set amount of enemies. Killing enemies repeatedly in quick fashion gains you a multiplier. Earning more stars will allow you to unlock new levels faster, as new levels have a set amount of stars needed to unlock it. Playing each level repeatedly will give you more weapon/gear drops, and beating them will probably make you feel better about yourself.Unfortunately the only thing that will keep you replaying this game is the co-op. As soon as you start playing you’ll realize it was made for the co-op. It’s the same reason why I wouldn’t want to play Castle Crashers by myself; it would just get boring after a while.
The bottom line is that Shoot Many Robots is a fun game, but isn’t destined to be played by someone by themselves for more than an hour or two at a time. This game is definitely worth a play through (or two with a friend).
[Images via Ubisoft]