Shoot Many Robots describes its premise quite accurately in its title. They're added role-playing elements of collecting loot and leveling up, but beyond that the game doesn't stray far from its primary gameplay focus of fighting wave after wave of robots. Developed by Demiurge Studios and published by Ubisoft, Shoot Many Robots allows for four gamers to join together in the battle against the robot apocalypse. The gameplay can best be described as a combination of platform movement with a heavy emphasis on running and gunning through each stage. Beyond the simple premise of taking place after a robot uprising, the game lacks any sort of proper narrative. However, shooting robots and collecting loot provide entertaining distractions that easily take the place of a story.
After a short introduction to the world of Shoot Many Robots, gamers are placed within a RV and given a map of missions ranging from normal, hard, and insane difficulty levels. Each area of levels require a certain number of stars to be able to play through them. Every level completed is scored from one to five stars based on the number of nuts picked up from destroyed robots. More nuts drop from robots if gamers keep up a score modifier in the level, which requires moving quickly from one enemy to the next. The other motive to finishing levels is the gathering of loot that either drops randomly from robots killed or found in crates along the way. The five slots of loot include a default gun with unlimited ammo, a special weapon with limited ammo, and armor pieces for the character's head, body, and torso. With the maximum level set at 50 for characters, gamers may find loot that requires additional leveling for use in-game. The only problem with the loot system is that the discovery of new items are usually lower than your current level, resulting in an excess of weapons and armor that would have been useful about five to ten levels ago.
The process of collecting additional loot is highly addictive due to the range of unique and entertaining items. From jet packs to Gatling guns, there is no short supply of loot to be found in levels. In addition to the level select map in the RV, gamers can access a store that sells weapons and armor for nuts collected from destroyed robots. If a particular item is priced too high, the store allows for buying nuts in the exchange of Microsoft Points. Since the game is based on a collaborative effort in levels, the notion of buying better gear with actual money doesn't hinder the experience. Buying nuts isn't required because games with four players result in a wealth of nuts dropping frequently throughout level playthroughs.
After finishing a couple of levels, it becomes immediately apparent that the game is designed for four players. Single-player gameplay is completely possible, however, the significant increase in difficulty and number of robots in later hard and insane difficulty levels require the expertise of four high-leveled characters. The single-player experience is entertaining, but the gameplay of four players together creating an array of destruction across the screen is far more enjoyable. Gamers should avoid Shoot Many Robots as a single-player experience and opt instead for the four-player cooperative component.
The cell-shaded, yet gritty, characters and post-apocalyptic environments are perfectly suited for the gameplay experience of hunting robots. The visuals can best be described as if Borderlands would have been flipped to a 2D perspective. The visuals are infused with a cheesy humor that ranges from the in-game menu taking place inside a RV to quirky loot items, such as a tutu and old-fashioned diving helmet. The range of odd loot items result in multiplayer sessions with a variety of unique characters causing havoc on the screen.
Another great element of the game's presentation is the inclusion of songs that incorporate a smooth blend of guitar riffs. From the in-game lobby to robot battles, the music sets the game's scenes perfectly. The only major downside with the game's presentation is level repetition in all of the three difficulty sections. The extremely limited selection of maps leads to repetition in the first hour of gameplay. It's rather unfortunate that the developers opted for simple level rehashes.
The content in Shoot Many Robots should last gamers quite a while considering the near endless piles of loot waiting to be discovered or bought. The journey to level 50 with a group of four players is extremely satisfying that will leave gamers wanting more after the credits roll. Gamers seeking a compelling narrative and single-player experience will have to look elsewhere for their robot fix. Shoot Many Robots is focused on attracting loot addicts and expresses no shame in representing that fact throughout every level.
Shoot Many Robots is now available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows PC.
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