We last encountered the Shoot Many Robots team back at PAX East, where we had by far and above the most fun of the entire convention. I was looking forward to seeing what new developments the Demiurge team had to share with us at PAX Prime, and to simply get my hands on this game again. One of the biggest news items surrounding the game would certainly have to be that this super fun title has now been picked up by Ubisoft. This is fantastic news, as the injection of funds into the project has meant that Demiurge can spend a bit more time smoothing out the game and further improving the mechanics. I sat down with studio director Albert Reed, who was quite excited about being picked up by a major development house.
My first question, and concern, was what sort of impact this would have on the title itself. If you recall our previous coverage of the game, we found it to be a rowdy title with ridiculous details that really made our experience such as sitting on the toilet to purchase your weapons, or drinking a beer to heal yourself. Would being under a large studio change the direction of the game, or require last minute alterations because an Ubisoft exec didn't like where things were going? Happily enough, it has been quite the opposite - Ubisoft seems to have the utmost faith in this title, taking a hands off approach, and allowing the team to continue to do what they're doing, which is to develop an awesomely tongue-in-cheek title.
Ubisoft's faith is every bit warranted, as this game is a blast. This time around, I did not have my partner-in-crime, Eric Musco with me, to drag me down (yeah, that's right Eric, I said it. I spent most of our previous play-though healing your sorry ass. I say that with much affection, of course) so i was able to take a bit more of a look around, and get a better feel for how the game works. Eric, I will concede on this point - I had to heal myself several times, and needed my partner to resurrect me at least once. However, I totally have an excuse - I simply like beer too much.
The game itself can get quite intense. There are two modes, a story mode, and a 'survival' mode - the survival mode can see as many as 50 robots on screen at a time, during four player co-op play. The robots that come at you are all sorts of nasty little buggers, with a seemingly personal vendetta against our main character, P. Walter Tugnut. If you're trying to recall what the 'P' stands for, it's Pickles - but as the Demurrage site says, it wouldn't be wise to call him that. Just don't. The robots hack and slash, shoot, and aim to kill. The melee attacks are pure gold - something about unleashing an uninterrupted barrage of iron into those metal bots was exceptionally satisfying.
Another surprisingly satisfying aspect of the game is the ability to outfit your main character in the most ridiculous of attire. As you move through the game you collect currency that can be used to purchase a plethora of ridiculous accruements and weaponry. Key examples of such ridiculousness would be monarch wings, a viking helmet, a baby in a backpack, and… Penny Arcade's infamous robot, the Fruit Fucker. Wait, What? Yes, you read that correctly. Players of the Shoot Many Robots game can pay to have their hero violated by this horny little robot, as he's trying to fight off other robots. And violate, the Fruit Fucker does - when they equipped him in my demo, the little bugger was clinging to Walter's neck, using every possible 'opening' for his randy behaviour.
Seeing a burly hillbilly being dry humped in the ear by a small robot, while wearing monarch wings and a tutu, is probably one of the more memorable gaming moments I had at PAX Prime this year. Other hilarious and noteworthy items include a weapon called the Gnoming Missile (which shoots out gnomes with pointy hats, that yell as they fly around the room terrorizing anything in their path) and Fluffy's Revenge - an empty cat carrier with 'RIP Fluffy' spray-painted on the side, that works like a rocket launcher. The fun attire isn't just there for show, either - depending on what you equip, it can either hinder, or help you in some way. The baby in a backpack is quite heavy, and simply adds '+1 Baby' to your character's statistics, not giving you any sort of advantage in battle.
I'm looking forward to Shoot Many Robots due to the fact that it encourages fun interaction with your friends. The game allows you to play with other folks right in your living room, or partake in up to 4 player online co-op. I will certainly download this and have a blast playing with my roommate and I can already hear him laughing as he discovers some of the more off-beat features that this game has to offer. My fondest gaming memories are those where friends were present - obsessively playing Donkey Kong with my cousins, or schooling my high school friends at SSX, and this is certainly set to become one of those. Hell, this game would even make for a fantastic evening of drinking - I'm thinking that every time someone has to heal, they have to take a swig of beer, or do a shot. This has all of the makings of a great party game.
Shoot Many Robots will be available for download not only by both the PS3 and Xbox camps, but for PC gamers as well. It is set to drop sometime in early 2012, and until then, there will be a few more interesting announcements to come, ensuring that we will be hearing about this title again quite soon.