Shoot Many Robots – Review

Title   Shoot Many Robots
Developer  Demiurge
Publisher  Ubisoft
Platform  Xbox 360 (reviewed), Playstation 3, Windows PC
Genre  Side Scrolling Shoot 'em Up
Release Date  March 14, 2012

From the ingenious title, I think that you could pretty much surmise the premise of this game. I will tell you this now, though, just to avoid all of the fluffy descriptive bullshit: you are going to shoot many, MANY robots. Right. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, can we move on? Brilliant.

After dabbling in other minor titles such as Mass Effect, Brothers in Arms and Borderlands, developers Demiurge Studios decided to fill the clear gap in the arcade market with a fresh new take on the side-scrolling shooter; and they don’t fuck around. This little gem takes all of the brilliant elements that made you love the genre and, alongside the 2.5D graphics, refreshes them with a slight modern upgrade.

Playing as P. Walter Tugnut (I’m told that the P stands for “Pickles”) a beefy hillbilly, your objective is clear: to stock pile guns, drink lots of beer and drive around in your RV finding any and every way possible to beat the shit out of the oncoming hordes of the robot apocalypse. As a player you’re not given a lot of back-story into the present situation. There are no longing, nostalgic glances into Walter’s life; no sad, heart rending sequences where we learn of his tragic past, and no explanation as to why it is up to him to vanquish the electronic Armageddon. Quite frankly, it’s unnecessary.

In order to shoot those many robots, you need guns; and in order to get guns, you need money. Well, typical to a post apocalyptic scenario, normal currency is no longer applicable. Instead you collect nuts from the fallen carcasses of your enemies and exchange them for guns, bigger guns and various forms of clothing and gear. Multiple kills bump up your nut rating, and every so often in a level you will stumble across a nut sack. No, you filthy beggar, not like that. I mean a sack of nuts. Like free money. You disgust me.

Another interesting feature that I didn’t expect from the genre is a levelling system. As you play through the game, you level up. The greater your level, the higher the calibre guns you unlock; the higher the calibre gun, the greater the cost (you see where I’m going here?). You’ll most definitely find yourself spoiled for choice when it comes to spending your nuts and, with guns ranging from pistols to flame-throwers or freeze-rays to Gnome-Launchers, you really are going to have difficulty deciding what you want to equip. Weapon slots are available to equip two separate guns, one ‘normal’ with unlimited ammo, and one BIG gun (usually something like a rocket launcher) that has a limited amount of shells.

The guns aren’t the only customisable feature though, as helmets, pants [or trousers if you’re irrevocably British like me] and backpacks also come with a wide variety of options, multipliers and handicaps. For those of you who don’t get enough time running around in an astronaut’s helmet with a tutu and jetpack in your day to day life, this game will help satisfy that special need. Another great addition is the detail that’s gone into the customisable aspects of the game, with each item having its own unique quirky description (some of which made me laugh a little too heartily), and such details aren’t confined solely to the shop. Once you equip your items, they are on your person until you clear the level, at which point you’re taken back to the RV to stock up once again. Some items end up being a lot more comical than others. Of course, I won’t spoil it for you, but I would highly recommend taking your time and enjoying the ability to unlock and equip new features as some may leave you chuckling long after you’ve turned your console off.

The controls are a little bit nifty too. At first it takes a little bit of getting used to – finding time to aim, shoot and run while avoiding the many robots is a lot to wrap your head around and sometimes it’s better to stop, aim shoot then run again (at least until you’ve got the hang of it). Another feature I particularly liked was the ability to heal in the middle of the action. Shooting robots while gliding/running/jumping but about to die? No problem! Just tap the relevant button on top of what you’re doing and you’ll heal up right away. One simple extra tap and you’re sitting pretty until the next toaster with an attitude smashes your health down. Unless of course you’ve already guzzled all your beer, in which case you’d best keep an eye out for the little green beer bottle power up that boosts your health.

Did I mention there are many robots in this game? Yeah? Oh, okay. Moving on then…

The artwork and music are suitably apt for the setting, however I didn’t really have time to stop and notice it all too much (shooting too many robots) but the cel-shaded backgrounds can, at times, be a little repetitive and it does sometimes seem that sections and levels are starting to repeat themselves. Thankfully, though, you’re a little too busy mashing the face of a chainsaw wielding toaster to really stop and scrutinise each little step.

One minor grind that I had with the game, and I really mean minor, is its learning curve. It’s a well known fact that I am not the ‘strongest’ of gamers, but I did notice a major jump in the difficulty in the space of just one level. I found myself going back over earlier levels, having levelled up considerably, just to try and gain an extra star, or some more nuts to be able to get myself a better gun. Even going through these earlier levels alone (and countless times) I still found myself on only four stars, which was infuriating. However, when playing with friends I achieved full stars with no difficulty whatsoever. This is clearly a game that, while the single player is still a fuck tonne of fun, is engineered towards multiplayer. That being said, the challenge presented when going it alone does give the game that “I’ll just try that again… 27th time’s the charm” kind of replay-ability. No one sets the parameters like yourself.

Like many things in life, it was good on my own, but with company it was a hell of a lot better. While I was a little annoyed that the game was clearly tailored for more than one player, I had so much fun playing as part of a threesome. The game even drops different crates for each player so that one selfish arse (that none of you really like, but don’t have the heart to tell him) can’t run around stealing everything. Drops such as ammo, beer [health], power ups such as critical hits and increased speed are on a first come first served basis, so if you’re hanging on by a thread and you see your friend with a minor booboo running for that elusive green bottle, it’s probably best to give a shout!

If I were to sum this game up into one short concise description, it would be this: Shoot Many Robots is like a can of Special Brew mixed with Ronseal; Bat shit crazy, but does exactly what it says on the tin.

Are you a lazy bastard that can’t be arsed reading lots of words? Watch our video review below.

  • The levelling system adds a whole element to the game. The ability to level up, buy better guns and customise your character leaves you wanting more and making sure you shoot all the robots.
  • The variety of guns means you're really spoiled for choice, and can potentially make each and every play through a whole new experience.
  • There really fucking are many robots.
  • There really fucking are many robots.
  • The ability to equip only two guns at a time can leave you confused as to which you should equip for each level. The variety of robots as the game progresses usually calls for a mixture of ranged guns, so be careful what you pick when on single player.
  • There is a clear design for more than one player, and going it alone can become frustratingly tedious after a while. Just remember, the more the merrier. And if you still don't like it? Stop being such a grumpy bastard.

If you’re looking for a shooter that is crazy fun, insane and features a hell of a lot of ‘splosions, then this is the game for you and three of your best gun slinging friends. If you’re looking for something deep, serious and realistic, jog on; there’s nothing for you to see here.

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  1. Pete Pete says:

    HEY! I’m not a selfish arse!

    Oh wait… maybe I am :D we’ll call it Red Crate Syndrome and blame Borderlands ;)

    Excellent review! Are there robots in it?

  2. Chris Chris-Toffer says:

    Excellent review. I MUST HAVE THIS. ***Scurries away to check monies***

  3. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I can’t praise this game enough. I was unfortunate enough to be stuck behind a camera when we first got hands on with it at PAX last year (almost exactly a year ago, actually) but I loved every second of what I saw on screen and have been waiting patiently for its release ever since. I now have it. I’ve played it to death. I recorded over eight hours of footage at the weekend. I ache all day long, knowing that I could quite easily fire up the Xbox and get some more time with Mr Tugnut but I can’t, because I have work to do.

    Quite honestly, I haven’t enjoyed a game this much since Borderlands, and that’s really saying something for me. Right now, the plan is to max out the cheevs and then TRY to max out every level with five stars. Whether that’s possible or not, I have no idea, because I’m intrinsically shit at anything that’s not an RPG, but I’m going to try my best.

    Now I want to go and play again! Dammit.

  4. Michael Author says:

    Look at me kicking ass in the video!
    Absolutely loving this game. To anyone reading my comment, this game is a definite buy!

  5. Ste Ste says:

    Fuck me this looks great. Loved the review Jo, well done. Is this coming out on the PC? If so, when, how much and who else is getting it to play with me?

    Also I’m liking these video reviews. Keep it up

  6. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    April 6th mate, on Steam… link should be at the top beside all the developer details. Hell yeah, I’ll be there!

  7. Ste Ste says:

    Yep, just seen it! Per-ordered a 4 pack. Plan to send one to my dad and brother. May make people fight to the death for my spare copy!

  8. Chris Chris-Toffer says:

    Hmmm Xbox or PC…

  9. [...] you’ve read Jo’s review of Shoot Many Robots, you’ll know two things: the first is that we got excited about this little beauty as soon as [...]

  10. Edward Edward says:

    Based on this review, I got it for PC. You guys better not let me down on this one! ;)

  11. Unhappy Gamer says:

    This looks like a fab game :) however cannot believe they have made the decision to remove controller support from the PC version. It may be ‘easier’ to play with K and M but would have loved to have the choice!!!

  12. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    Totally agree! Having played it for a week or more on the Xbox, and then switching over to PC this weekend, I was surprised that the PC version had the cross-hairs on the screen so it meant you couldn’t just flip around or slide in one direction if the cross-hair wasn’t already pointing in that direction or moved to whatever direction you wanted to face. It took me three hours of trying various key configurations before I gave up on it and switched over to Xpadder so I could use my Xbox controller with it. Even at that, the problem was still there with the cross-hairs as I couldn’t use the left stick to control the entire movement, and it wasn’t practical to have the right stick control the cross-hairs while the left stick controlled the side scrolling. In the end, with some ridiculous config settings through Xpadder, I’ve now got it at the point where I can happily play it on the PC, in all its beautiful glory, but with the controller.

    As you say though, I’d much rather have the option to do it right out of the box!

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