Strategy plays an important role in co-op, especially on hard and insane mode. If every player equips the same shotgun, things turn into a struggle, but a combination of a sniper, rifleman, and grenade-launching brute can win out against even the worst odds. Even dying can’t stop you, as a quick revive from a buddy will get you back in the action.
Above: Variety is the key to victory
It may sound too good to be true so far, but Shoot Many Robots does make its fair share of concessions. Its art style is cel-shaded, but whereas most games use this technique to increase aesthetic appeal without having to create detailed textures, it's rather ugly here. Textures are blurry and character models have jagged outlines. Shrink this game down to the size of an iPhone screen, and it would look fine, but on an HDTV, it’s dangerously close to looking like a PS2 game.
Then there’s repetition and recycling, which run rampant throughout Shoot Many Robots. This post-apocalyptic world features 14 “adventures,” each consisting of three to five levels. However, each level takes place in one of only about six different environments. Bosses and (especially) music are also generously reused. While these factors aren’t deal-breakers when you’re mowing through hundreds of bots with some pals, boredom can prevail sooner than it has any right to, given the robust gameplay.
Above: Having trouble with a mini-boss? Invite some friends!
Despite some drawbacks, Shoot Many Robots is a lot of streamlined fun -- even more so when playing with or competing against friends. There’s an accessibility to the gameplay mechanics that will appeal to dabblers, and the variety of gear, numerous leaderboards, and late-game difficulty cry out to a hardcore fanbase that enjoys those classically sadistic shoot-em-ups. Demiurge Studios has shown that it's got a team that knows exactly how to engineer a good time, and its first full game is a fantastic debut.