P.Walter Tugnut, a skin head with a gun and wearing a green body warmer, or is it a barrel? No it’s a jet-pack. In this game you can choose any number of outfits for the hyper-violent Tugnut. What’s caused this red mist to descend on the presumably previously pacifist Tugnut? A giant robot destroyed his house and had a disturbing sexual encounter with his truck. Within the first minute of this Shoot em ‘up platformer you learn all this character motivation and are sent on your way with a gun and a jump button.
As far as a story goes, well there isn’t really one. Everything you see in terms of plot is just there to give you an excuse to blow away these maniacal mechanical meanies. The levels range from a city street to a mining town to a large industrial factory. There’s little to no difference in these levels other than the different skins on the platforms and new backgrounds.
It’s quite easy in this line of work to just be cynical about everything, and here at PixelBedlam we pride our selves on it, but sometimes something so simple and innocent you have to concede your liking of it. Finding the difference between a game that has copied another and one that has taken inspiration from something is one that’s nearly impossible to explain, for me personally it’s whether the newer game has been successful in pushing forward the first game or implementing new improvements.
To say this game is 100% original would just be a flat out lie, I’m sorry to put this in because it sounds so negative. However the reason I bring this up is to give you an idea of Shoot Many Robots heritage in its run and gun platforming nature. Contra is the first and most obvious example to bring up, the controls are vaguely reminiscent of that era of gun platforming with the player able to point the gun in one direction but not necessarily be moving that way and a real push for co-op play is apparent in both.
More recently the Metal Slug series has leant inspiration to Shoot Many Robots with it’s platforming, shooting and quantity of weapons to point at, what is in no uncertain terms, cannon fodder. Where this game separates itself is in the way it uses all these traits.
Firstly the platforming in this game is to be used not just to get around but as strategic hold points. Normally you would hope just running and gunning would get you through a level in a game like this, but in Shoot Many Robots you need tactics. From an outside perspective watching trailers and seeing screenshots this might not be apparent but when you have a tidal wave of crab like robots swarming you, you do feel the need to get to higher ground or set up a defense point with a co-op buddy. These little touches make this game what it is, a game that on the surface is painfully simple to just pick and play, but if you scratch away at it you’re given the opportunity and option to turn it into a much more complicated and rewarding affair.
The hub area of this game is Tugnut’s RV, a place where you can check the map to choose your next location to blow apart or a wardrobe which acts as your shop. Throughout the levels items are dropped, these can be guns or clothing. Picking up the item doesn’t give the item outright, you now need to have enough coins and be at the right level to unlock it. This sounds daunting, but with the amount of killing you are going to be doing, farming XP and money isn’t an overly complicated task.
The guns have their own stats and you will spend your time comparing Damage Per Second and Ranges of each, but more than anything you will be looking at the one line descriptions of the weapons. This game is funny, and to say that about a computer game is rare, I played this game co-op with my girlfriend and not only did she manage to follow the game and it’s mechanics really quickly for a relatively new gamer but we also both sat there laughing constantly at the descriptions and the pure insanity of it all. Over sized weapons are not the only thing to make this game funny, your costume will bring tears to your eyes like you’re wearing red speedos in a bull fighting ring. Every item of clothing has different beneficial stats from jump height, weapon strength, ammo capacity or the ability to glide or baseball slide. You end up ignoring how stupid your character will look and just putting on the best clothes available causing you to wear such outfits as a tutu and a soldier helmet. By far my favourite item so far is the head attire you can acquire called the “Fruit F*****” which is a tiny robot that sits on the back of your head humping your skull, it squirms around your scalp making it’s move all the while giving you an insane damage increase to your guns.
Multiplayer is a must for this game, playing single player is a lonely experience and can be far too difficult. Where the game comes into it’s own it giving you more enemies than you know what to do with and allowing you to have someone in local and online co-op to get your back. Every so often levels are broken up with a Survive Level where waves of enemies just keep coming, these levels give the players a chance to work together but also build up big XP bonuses. Boss fights come and go and to be honest they are a slight let down, they are just memorise the pattern and rinse and repeat like many modern platformers. After playing various platformers recently I’ve grown tired of the “Memorise my attack” bosses that for some reason are a hang over of the 90’s and crave for something a little more original.
Whenever I talk about this game it makes me happy, just the thought of how superficially simple this game is should be a large selling point for many. There’s no blood or real human violence so hypothetically I would say this game is suitable for kids, but with some of the item names and descriptions I do worry about it’s level of appropriateness for the more sensitive generations. Overall I rate this game highly, with a level of quality that rivals Castle Crashers I think this game should be on many people’s top 10 XBLA and PSN games ever.
Insane But Requires Tactics
Fun Costumes and Weapons
Boss Fights Can Be Rinse and Repeat
Managing Stats Can Be Confusing