Shoot Many Robots (PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade [Previewed], PC)
Developer: Demiurge Studios
Release: Spring 2012
Survival missions are exactly what they sound like: destroy wave after wave of robot enemies with the hopes of lasting long enough to acquire some sweet new loot. The one map I played saw a bevy of different enemy robots attack in hectic hordes. Choppers, Tankbots, and Small Frys all attacking with only mine and my partner's death in mind. Like Gears of War's Horde mode, thankfully, it's not over until every player has fallen and if you're quick enough, you can resuscitate a downed teammate to prolong the carnage.
It's all pretty typical by today's gaming standards, but Shoot Many Robots' elaborate loot system adds to the strategy needed to make the most out of each survival mission. Messing around with some of the equipment I had available to me, my redneck warrior was decked out in some fairly nonsensical gear. Every item in the game grants some sort of tactile advantage for success. The bat wings that were strapped to my back afforded me a floating ability -- gliding me gently out of harm's way -- and my Viking helmet let me smash foes from the skies with thunderous ground punches. Ironically, this was a great combo as I was able to stay alive for a very long time.
The stage I played on was fairly claustrophobic, but eventually one side of the area busted open from robots an expanded the play field. It's going to be interesting to see if this mode can provide enough variety to make it worthwhile. Survival missions like much of campaign level I played were crazy, intense fun, but as of now it's definitely an appetizer to the main course -- something you only want to snack on to get the taste buds salivating.
Oh yeah, before I forget. One quick tidbit regarding the campaign and its branching pathways offered. When online -- since everyone has their own screen --teammates can split-up and go different routes. It's a nice touch for an already promising game, but a simple feature that could have made games in the past (see: Moon Diver) much more enjoyable.
Shoot Many Robots aims to recapture the magic that this genre once dominated the market with. It may be a run-and-gun shooter at its core, but with all the RPG, co-op, and whacky character customization piled on top -- as Conrad put it -- "fans of classic shooters are going to have one hell of a good robot apocalypse to look forward to" next spring.