Shoot1UP- XBLIG Review

A WDesm review for XBoxHornet

“A Bullet Hell Symphony with up to 60 movements”

Shoot1UP, if you can’t guess by the name, is a Shoot’Em’Up, but with a perversion on the usual concept of a “1Up.” The twist is that, unlike the standard fare of earning 1Ups that give the player an extra chance at the mission, 1Ups instantly spawn an additional ship under your control and in formation with your main ship. Ships don’t have ‘hit points,’ and your only defense against bullet hells is the ability to control fleet formation, and each formation has different merits – a spread-out formation increases the points earned per kill and covers more ground with your firepower, while a tighter formation concentrates your firepower and makes you a smaller target for enemies. Overlay these choices in tactics with the usual “screen of bullhell death,” and you’ve got Shoot1UP.

Shoot’Em’Ups are iconic for their nightmarish difficulty and elitist leaderboards, and Shoot1UP is held to the same standard. The game includes multiple difficulties and even game speeds for the truly adventurous, though the lower levels and speeds serve only really to train for the more dangerous ones. The inclusion of the 1Up increasing your fleet size is the really innovative feature – it ensures that the player won’t be able to play the game as conservatively / defensively as they might normally, and instead have to both hunt down those floating powerups, and be ever-aware of their growing hitbox from the additional ships. While Mommy’s Best Games certainly got the scaling difficulty options down correctly, they completely dropped the ball on leaderboard support – the only opposition to your elitism is a series of static high scores that can only be bested locally.

While a Bullet Hell without a leaderboard is not much of a Bullet Hell at all, the game does include a fully featured drop-in 2 player system, which is a boon to the more casual player. A second player (local only) can jump in at any time, effectively doubling the possible ships on the screen at any time to 60, and should either lose, they can siphon 1Ups from the other player to continue. While it won’t do much for your high score, it is a smart idea to keep both players in the game for as long as possible, and I appreciate that.

Artistically, Shoot1Up is simply average. I know that Bullet Hells are not known for their realistic graphics or epic orchestras, but I also know that some of the entrants into the genre are exemplars of wonderful sprite art or catchy chiptunes, and in this regard, I can neither fault nor praise Shoot1Up for doing anything noteworthy.

Overall, Shoot1Up is a rather average entry in the Shoot’Em’Up genre, but gains special mention and merit for its 1Up gimmick. If Mommy’s Best Games were to re-release a souped-up sequel at the same pricepoint, they would be looking at a far more impressive reception from me. But as it stands, you’ll have to try the game for yourself to see if a lone innovation is worth the game.

Game Score 7/10

Download a free trial here.

Watch a trailer here, or, in a gamer-friendly twist, download a earlier PC varient of Shoot1UP free online from Mommy’s Best Games devblog. Visit them, and be sure to stick around, as their devblog is a treasure trove of indie gaming insight!


5 Responses

  1. The biggest minus is indeed the missing online leaderboards. Beside this its a solid shmup. At 80pts its a very good game, specially if you compare it with other titles on indiegames at a higher price. I think MBG deserved at least a 8/10 on this game, but well….personal opinions 😉

    Btw…I just found out you can alter some things if you press START inside the game (background brightness, autofire, disable hud and so on)

  2. Wow! Only 6.5?! That seems harsh for a game which is great fun, different, and only 80MSP!?

  3. After looking through the other indie Shoot’Em’Up offerings, I’ve realized that NONE of them currently offer leaderboard support / online play. Compared to its peers, then, Shoot1UP isn’t quite as gimped as I had originally thought, but it still hasn’t won me over completely.

    Gimmick-for-gimmick, I preferred the BorderWars gimmick of drawing/upgrading my ship as it flew through doodles.

  4. It’s all about opinions, I love the game, the leaderboards are an issue but a lot of shoot em ups have no online leaderboards. The game offer loads of replayability and is a steal at 80 points. 8-8.5 out of 10 for me.

  5. That’s absolutely right. Online reviews (any of them, not just ones here) only are part of the perception, and one of XBLIG’s massive strengths is that EVERY game gets a fullly featured demo. Try the game out for yourself, and keep telling me what you think!

    Thanks for all the comments everyone!

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