Walking into a demo at last week's Game Developers Conference, I knew little about Shoot Many Robots, a spunky downloadable title depicting the robo-apocalypse and Demiurge Studios' first original IP. And since information about the game has been sparse until now, that's probably all you know, too.
Thankfully, there's a lot more going on with what the studio aptly calls "Metal Slug meets Borderlands" and I call "My favorite demo of GDC." Here are three other things you'll do in Shoot Many Robots besides, well, shoot many robots.
Lead Designer Josh Glavine thinks that everything's better with RPG elements, and he may just be right. Having worked on the Arena mode for 2009's role-playing-game-cum-shooter Borderlands, he and Demiurge have seen that maxim play out first-hand.
They want Shoot Many Robots to chart the same course for Metal Slug/Contra-style 2D shooters. Protagonist P. Walter Tugnut earns "nuts" for each robot he destroys — more if you've managed to keep your combo meter up by stringing together kills. Those nuts act both as a leveling system and the game's currency: After completing each level, Tugnut heads back to his RV (stocked to the ceiling with gear; he's been predicting the robo-apocalypse for some time now) in order to spend those nuts on new equipment. Reach higher levels allows you to purchase better weapons and clothing.
The clothing you buy does more than just spiffy up Tugnut's appearance. It also gives him stat boosts. During my demo, I outfitted Tugnut with a beer helmet (health boost), some fairy wings (allowing me to float a bit after jumping), and a pair of leather pants (which of course granted me the ability to slide).
However, there is also an aesthetic reason for dressing him up….
Have fun with friends
That reason: so that you can more easily distinguish your Tugnut from your friends' during both local (for two players) and online (for up to four players) co-op. And you'll need all the help you can get. During my co-op session with Glavine, the action heated up fast. Robots armed with chainsaws and other nasty weapons attacked us from all sides. It was messy, chaotic, and a heck of a lot of fun — exactly what a Contra-style game should be.
Look for Shoot Many Robots to appear on unannounced but easy-to-guess digital platforms later this year.