March 14, 2012

Notes On The Robocalypse

Shoot Many Robots
“Chairmanlove, buy some equipment!”

Those were the first words of wisdom another player offered to me as I started my multiplayer session of Shoot Many Robots. And I was admittedly feeling underdressed for the occasion as we waited for the stage to load, still wearing the standard clothing while others were thumbing their noses at the Tsars of fashion with all manner of ridiculous headgear, belts, and heavy weaponry.

If I’d never jumped online, I’d have likely missed the point entirely because from a disinterested distance, Shoot Many Robots seems to simply replace the tired zombies of other party shooters with chainsaw wielding mechanical fiends and trailer park humor. There’s certainly some awe in how many bloodthirsty robots can fill the screen, exploding with bursts of oil and scrap metal as you fill them with lead. But watching others rack up kills in the hundreds while I nabbed twenty or so left me certain I was doing it wrong, which I was.

Between stages players can access their inventory along with a store, where items discovered during play become available for purchase via exceedingly large amounts of bolts earned whilst crushing the robot uprising. And that is the point at which a game that visually resembles a 2D Borderlands taps the comparison far deeper to produce spiraling lists of weapons and equipment that opens a vortex of customization opportunities.

There’s plenty of work creation going on here, earning bolts to buy items that help you earn more bolts, marching on in the quest to unlock ever more ridiculous toys before returning to playgrounds that split between short stages and survival arenas. My scores improved dramatically when I returned with a cowboy hat and jetpack, holding my 110%-American machinegun – a primary weapon that offers unlimited firepower. There’s also a secondary ammo-conscious heavy hitter weapon – everything from rocket launchers to Gnoming missiles.

The results are delightfully ludicrous with a party of four, filling the screen with bullets and scrap metal as the waves of mechanized terror endlessly crowd the screen. Shoot Many Robots can’t escape the limited appeal these types of quick party shooters offer, but the vanity options and depth of experimentation raise the bar significantly, begging for plenty of time in finding the ideal balance of stat raising items and range versus power weapons. If you happened to be playing the game alone, the value falls of fairly quick – this is about joining others and arguing about the perfect tools for surviving the robocalypse after all. And while that emphasis isn’t necessarily at the top of my agenda, I’ll certainly tip my cowboy hat to a game in that vein that merits the ten dollar pricetag with an immense amount of toys to unlock and talk about.

Of course, you can give the demo for the full game a shot and let me know what you think.

April 5, 2011

Review – Moon Diver

Moon Diver
Moon Diver is an elevator ride that jolts as if the cable might snap at any moment while making quick stops at the bizarre, the surreal, and yes even something wanting for today’s secret word; esoteric.

The title was developed by feelplus with special guest, Strider creator Kouichi Yotsui, which is meant to mean something significant to those that played Strider so many years ago and perhaps were ever able to put a finger to the reasons they might have played it to death.

It’s not an easy point to nail down. Strider is a title often referenced by those creating 2D action titles in the here and now, those hoping to summon a connection to that release as a symbol of something eternal and pure and constant to the fundamental design of any old-school blade-swinging game worth your time and money.

It has to be a sense of control that such shout-outs hope to convince threads of commonality with – that your fingers will feel free for flinging a ninja across the screen, slicing through countless enemies in a sea of chaos while still discovering harmony and zen in the act.

But perhaps Moon Diver is about what the 2D action genre can offer when the man himself comes around, which at the very least is an easier matter to pick apart.


January 23, 2011

Catching up with the Brotherhood

Assassins Creed: Brotherhood
It’s not easy to get behind a franchise that has made the decision to go annual. The knowledge that the machinery has aligned specifically to bludgeon every last dollar out of the property (and the consumer) is grave in its implications. As an adherent to the existing systems for emulating assassins and their creeds, Ubisoft’s decision to Call-of-Dutyerize Assassin’s Creed was, for me, an ominous sign; the gong of some distant bell signalling the end of all things, save a string of uninspired sequels.

Then, of course, there was the multiplayer. One recalls the dial-it-in multiplayer solutions for traditionally single-player games like Bioshock and Metroid Prime and would be forgiven for groaning audibly. Equally, the human capacity to defy carefully crafted mechanics and break multiplayer game design is well known. Surely, Assassin’s Creed would have no chance of maintaining a mechanic based on careful stealth and patience among the multiplayer community.

Rarely is being wrong so satisfying.


December 29, 2009

Catching Up With Resident Evil 5

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , , , — Jamie Love @ 5:05 pm

Resident Evil 5
Catching up on the year that was 2009 in gaming inevitably led me back to the spiraling saga of Resident Evil, that mix of cherished memories from my youth seeking to merge a marketable sense of action with a lingering air of terror. The week of late-night sessions it took to survive the horror also led to an inevitable conclusion –

Resident Evil 5 is a fool’s errand, and I am the cosmic jester.


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