Ever so often does an arcade title come my way that is both excellent and keeps me playing for hours on end. Sure, there’s plenty of great games out there. For me, though, they usually get a couple of hours of play before they become tiresome. Shoot Many Robots from Demiurge Studios and Ubisoft, on the other hand, kept me sunk in my chair and my eyes stuck on the TV for multiple hours in a row. You play as P. Walter Tugnut. A straight up hillbilly who rolls around in his RV with guns, ammo and beer, ready to kick the ass of any robot in his way.

Those looking for any sign of a story will be disappointed, but the game is so damn fun that you’ll forgot why you’re mass murdering robots and spend more time worrying about the gear you’re getting throughout each level. The game is set up to play through the course of adventures. Each one features anywhere from 3-5 levels with a star rating. By earning more nuts, you earn more stars to unlock later adventures. On normal difficulty, the game offers 6 separate adventures. The other two difficulty levels -hard and insane- offer an additional 4 adventures each. Normal took me nearly 5 hours, so there is a ton of replay value to be had here.

These robots come in mass numbers. So prepare for war!

Simply put, the more robots you kill each level, the more nuts and XP you earn and the better gear you’ll acquire. However, you don’t just get items for free as they fall off enemies. Instead, you must find the item coupon from a bigger enemy or crate to make that item available for purchase. The nuts you gather throughout each level can be used to spend on different items and equipment. Shoot Many Robots is packed with customization options, and that’s an understatement. There are literally hundreds of items and weapons, giving you the chance to craft your own crazy looking hillbilly.

These items aren’t just for cosmetic effect. Each and every piece of gear you collect has different stats and abilities. Thanks to the awesome art style, think of Shoot Many Robots as a smaller scale, side-scrolling version of Borderlands, where all the weapons actually look different. While there are a few that look remotely similar with a different paint job, I’d say a good 80% of the weapons are unique. Just don’t expect 87 Bazzilion guns, or any robots that are particularly memorable such as a Claptrap.

Sexy right? This is just the start. It goes far beyond pretty pink wings.

Each players is granted one primary and one heavy weapon. Primary weapons include the AK47, blunderbuss, SMG, pistol, flamethrowers, sniper rifles, cannons etc., all which have unlimited ammo. Your heavy weapon, on the other hand, does have limited ammo, so you’ll have to use it wisely if you plan on taking down those tougher enemies with ease. My personal favorite is “Fluffy’s Revenge,” a simple cat/dog crate with “R.I.P Fluffy” painted on the side that’s packed with explosives. It pretty much destroys anything on the screen and can be acquired at a lower level. The downside is, you only get two, unless you get randomly dropped ammo power ups or your equipped gear allows extras. Of course, if a standard RPG or mini-gun is your thing, you have that option too.

It’s not all about the guns though. A hillbilly has to be sexy as well. Want an astronaut’s helmet while wearing faerie wings and fishnets? It’s possible. Hell, you can even carry a baby wearing a Jason mask rocking a sexy tutu. You can finally create that wacky psychopathic hillbilly you’ve always wanted. As mentioned before, each and every single piece of clothing has it’s own effect. By wearing faerie wings you have the ability to glide in the air. If you were to choose a boombox, your damage will go up 64%. How it works, I don’t know, but it kicks ass. While most of the robots die in a few shots, they come in mass numbers. There are also bigger and more bad ass robots that can be quite a handful. Some fly, some are stationary, and some are just fucking huge. These guys can also shoot missiles that can be deflected assuming you time your melee right.

Want better gear? Best take down big guys like this one.

From my experience, everything in the game can be purchased with nuts. You do, however, have the option to “Nut Up” and purchase more in-game currency using real money. Who wants to do that? You can also purchase specific weapons individually for a buck or two, or you know, you could just play the damn game and not waste your hard-earned greenbacks. All of this is magnificent as long as the gameplay holds up. Thankfully, it does very well; the controls are intuitive, each and every weapon is a blast to use, and killing hundreds of robots over and over again couldn’t be more satisfying. To top if off, the game also features four player co-op using your very own customized character.

With so much variety in gameplay tactics and abilities, tackling insane mode with 3 friends is a friggin’ blast. There’s even a few survival levels that let you keep fighting until you and your team are obliterated. I’ve easily stacked up 30,000 nuts by myself, earning me some sweet gear. While some of the environments are overused, each level offers multiple paths to take adding on some serious replay value. Not only can you take different branches, but there are also hidden item boxes scattered throughout each of those paths. If you plan on finding the best gear, multiple playthroughs will be required.

Joining up with three of your friends provides one hell of a time.

Shoot Many Robots is one of those games you’ll continue to play and keep coming back to; It’s the title you’ll keep bugging your friends to buy, so you can advance through the harder levels with their help. It’s the one you’ll keep getting invites to more than when your friends spam Gears of War 2′s “Invite All” feature. Why? Because it’s a fucking blast to play, and it packs in everything you’d want from an RPG-like side-scroller shooter.

With hours upon hours of gameplay, hundreds of weapons and gear to collect and 4 player online co-op, you simply cannot get any better than that… unless the game were only $10. Oh wait! It is! So why don’t you “nut up,” go buy the game and kill some damn robots already! Just remember, four hillbillies are better than one. Just make sure they don’t drink all your beer.

Here’s the Rundown:

+ Tons of content and replaybility
+ Loot, loot, and more loot
+ Will keep you playing hours on in
+ Sexy hillbillies with faerie wings and babies that wield huge weapons
- No ability to run backwards and shoot
- Major audio issues while playing in 5.1

 

9 and 9.5 represent the pinnacle of the genre, a game that defines what that genre should be about. These scores are for games that you not only feel would be worth your purchase, but you would actually try to convince your friends to buy them as well.

Shoot Many Robots was developed by Demiurge Studios and published by Ubisoft. It was released for XBLA, PSN and PC on March 14, 2012. The publisher provided a copy of the game to RipTen for the purposes of review.