Over PAX East weekend I sat down with Designer, Bart Simon from Demiurge Studios to check their first original, self-published title, the mobile version of Shoot Many Robots. The original, in which, you guessed it, players blast tons of robots, was generally well-received upon release for consoles and PC just over one year ago.
Make no mistake however, this mobile version is definitely not a direct port. While the original is more akin to 2D shooters such as Contra or Metal Slug, the mobile version is actually a runner of sorts. Players are, of course, provided with guns (all those robots aren’t going to shoot themselves), but are now forced to maintain a steady speed with the option to quickly switch between one of three tracks as they blast and avoid enemies. “We’ve kind of stepped on the gas for the player,” says Bart.
Along the way, players collect two different forms of currency by completing challenges and killing enemies, thus allowing the purchase of gear, upgraded weapons, crate drops of expendable weaponry, and even a respawn option in to continue a run after an untimely demise.
Immediately upon starting the game, I was relieved to see that in place of the always-frustrating virtual thumbsticks, the developers implemented a simple swipe and tap control scheme. While very simple to understand, these controls surprisingly allow for a learning curve. By the time my demo ended, I was starting to get the hang of jumping while switching lanes and shooting at the same time, making me feel like the acrobatic robot-killing badass I know that I am. One major grievance had by many players of the console version of SMR was its awkward control scheme. Thankfully, this is not the case in the mobile version. The controls are both forgiving when it comes to finger placement, and responsive on both the phone and tablet version.
While their appearance in games, especially on mobile devices, is practically unavoidable today, I was admittedly disappointed to see the inclusion of microtransactions in this mobile version of SMR. Fortunately, the guys at Demiurge understand and address this issue. “We’re gamers too,” Bart reassured me. “We understand.” Although the game does allow for microtransactions, the developers made it a point that every purchasable item can also be eventually obtained by players who prefer patience to opening their wallets. Furthermore, the in-game purchase options aren’t invasive in the way many games are today. Most importantly, the mobile version of Shoot Many Robots is accordingly priced at $0.00, as all games with in-game purchases should be.
The mobile version of SMR retains both a silly sense of humor and wacky customization, but it’s decidedly not the same as its console predecessor. Instead, it is a mobile runner (and yes, gunner), that is definitely worth checking out. Shoot Many Robots is available now in the Google Play Store, and should appear in the App Store for iOS very soon.