It’s exactly what it says on the box. The robot uprising is both terrifying and inevitable, so when a horde of heartless steel killing machines comes for humanity, there’s only one thing to do. Shoot them. Shoot as many robots as you can!
Shoot Many Robots is a high-energy sidescrolling kill fest staring Walter Tugnut, a redneck survivalist with a trailer crammed full of beer and Second Amendments. This white-trash Rambo is the one man prepared to take a stand against the machine army when it comes, and that’s a good excuse for a lone protagonist to unleash a six-pack of whoop-ass in this game.
It’s all played for low-brow laughs, and there are many “Nut” jokes. Nuts being the game’s currency (And a euphemism for male genitalia). There’s a belly full of trailer park humor; Tugnut uses beer as a health power up for example, and Honkey tonk music plays during the adventure.
There are RPG elements, especially in the Loot system. Tugnut can be customized in both appearance and playstyle. He carries two guns, a main weapon that has infinite ammo, and a Heavy Weapon that has a finite amount. New weapons are unlocked as he levels up, and these must be purchased with the aforementioned nuts. Sadly, sometimes this feller ain’t got the nuts fer the big guns.
Walter also has a variety of items to equip for his head, torso and legs. Some of the clothing provides him with special abilities or attacks, and other items will boost basic abilities, like damage and ammo capacity. While it’s no Skyrim in terms of customization, it does mean that in multiplayer, everyone will most likely have a distinct-looking character. These customized builds also let players build Tugnut to suit specialized classes for teamwork, or to deal with specific missions.
Walter receives little gold stars for performing well on each level. The more nuts he earns, the more stars, and he needs to earn a certain amount of them to unlock more levels in the game. In order to access the later parts of the game, players will have to replay early levels for better scores.
The levels have a bit of variety to them, but not much. It almost always involves running from left to right and killing everything you see. Boss fights pop up to add in some tension and variety, and these do help reduce the repetition. There are also survival missions where Walter must fight off wave after wave of enemies in a small location. These only require Tugnut to survive a single wave, but bonus waves can be played for additional nuts and stars.
As a single-player experience, it gets dull and repetitive after a couple of hours. However, it’s clearly intended for multiplayer. There, players have the chance to show off their loot, and tackle the more difficult missions in order to gain more stars, thus unlocking yet more missions to play with friends online.
Even when playing with friends, there’s still a lot of repetition, especially in the enemy types. Swarms of small chainsaw bots attack, and they are backed up by flying bots, and a humanoid robot that shoots missiles. Yet after a few levels the enemies tend to just be tougher version of already existing enemies. Better loot is needed to take out these more powerful enemies, but players don’t need to change tactics. Blasting a swarm of level one chainsawbots with a level one machine gun is pretty much the same thing as blasting level 18 bots that have more hit points while your level 18 machine-gun does more damage.
But there is enough variety in Shoot Many Robots to hold the attention of action RPG gamers looking for some silly fun. A neat feature is that Walter can punch missiles back at the robots that fired them. There are several enemies that he can use this technique on, and this adds some variety and strategy to the frantic fights. He also gains new abilities from different pieces of clothing and when this combined with the arsenal of weapons, players can re-invent their Tugnut over and over again. From a pudgy fairy princess with a shotgun, to a football player with a flamethrower, the lack of mission variety is largely compensated for with the customizable loot. He even gains the ability to float or glide from certain items (Yes it’s fun to watch a gun-toting redneck fly around with fairy wings).
Shoot Many Robots is the first original game by Demiurge Studios, who’ve previously worked games like Mass Effect, Rock Band and Borderlands. Fans of Borderlands will be happy to see that Shoot Many Robots has a few similarities to Borderlands, including the cell-shaded wasteland graphics, extensive loot system, and multiplayer shooting.
Shoot Many Robots is out now for Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network at the price of ten dollars, or 800 Microsoft Points.