Day 132: Shoot 1UP

Posted: 2011/03/21 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #132, and today’s game is “Shoot 1UP”.

Mommy’s Best Games has brought us some of the best things on offer in the Indie Games channel, games like “Weapon of Choice” and “Explosionade”. Mommy’s Best is working on a new Indie Game, Grapple Buggy, and has been tapped by the Serious Sam people for a new installment in that franchise, Serious Sam Double D. But there’s one more game from Mommy’s Best, and that’s Shoot 1UP, and it’s very, very good.

First, from the developer:

“Why play shoot’em ups one ship at a time? Launch them all at once!
Unleash an entire armada of ships in Shoot 1UP!

Instead of stowing each 1UP you collect, each new ship becomes playable immediately, resulting in an ever-growing armada of destruction!

With your home world ruined, lead your detached battalion’s charge by destroying the mechanical-tentacle hybrid attack forces responsible for your pain.

# Command over 30 ships at the SAME TIME!
# 2 Player coop play for over 60 SIMULTANEOUS player ship INSANITY!
# WEAPONS UPGRADE as you collect more ships (Downgrade when you lose them so stay sharp!)
# Sacrifice ships for a BULLET-VAPORIZING BOMB which increases in power the more ships you’ve collected!
# Manic Shooting without all the wailing and gnashing of teeth–NORMAL GAMERS can actually enjoy this!
# Hardcore? Jump into the action several waves in for THUMB-TWISTING difficulty!”

For some reason the trailer above does a good job at demonstrating only half the game’s key concepts. This trailer does a good job of the other half:

Shoot 1UP is not the first ever shoot-’em-up to let you simultaneously control all your ships, but it is one of the few and one of the best. It’s a refreshing change, more than once I’ve thought how much hurt I could lay down on the enemy if my entire fleet could engage them at once. I like the ability to change the formation of the ships for offensive or defensive benefits, making the multiple ships on hand more than just eye candy but actually something that improves the game tactically, giving the player more to think about than most games of this type do.

The game graphically follows a bit in the footsteps of Weapon of Choice’s hand-drawn art, though the art quality is not quite as high here in my opinion. However, the levels at least are varied and it’s the gameplay that makes or breaks a game, and that’s where Shoot 1Up excels. At around the midpoint of each of the game’s six levels, you have the option to veer off course, either flying freely or heading off in a different direction, an unusual choice for a scrolling shooter and another welcome innovation for a game that has a few to its credit.

In a normal shmup you would earn backup ships, and power-ups. Here the backup ships fly with you in formation, and power-ups come in the form of more firepower delivered by the extra ships. Get enough ships and your squadron starts to fire to the sides as well. Also, your ships can fan out to fire a super weapon, but the formation you have to switch into to charge it leaves your squadron in a vulnerable position. You can also charge up a shield by ceasing to fire for a moment, one that acts like a smart bomb once it’s ready, (eliminating all enemies on screen). The game is at its best when it’s giving you hard tactical choices to make like that.

For its innovations and its strong gameplay, this game is a no-brainer for shoot-’em-up fans, especially since it costs only 80 Microsoft Points.

Click here to download Shoot 1UP, and please come back afterward to review it.

Know someone else who would want to read the review, or rate the game? Click “Share This” above and invite them to.

  1. Ibn Abdullah says:

    This is one of my favorite games on Indie Games easily!

    • It’s been on my to-do list for ages, ever since Kobun first reviewed it on Kotaku a while back. But I do my best to wait until a game no longer has a tonne of buzz behind it before reviewing it, since promoting the hidden gems is the point of WMD.

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