- Platform: Xbox 360, Windows Phone 7, PC (PC Version reviewed)
- Players: 1-2
- Achievements: Yes
- Steam Trading Cards: Yes
- Controller Support : Yes
- Retail Price: $3.99
High Level Premise: A mostly vertical scrolling SHMUP where you use all your ships at the same time!
Graphics/Style: The Sega Saturn / Dreamcast era of SHMUP comes to mind when I play this game.
Music/Soundtrack: Sort of late 90s trance with a hint of New Order. A bit repetitive, but it fades into the background.
Story: An alien race has destroyed your homeworld. Revenge is the only thing on your mind.
Replay-ability: This game is very short. However, it is also very customizable, so you can always tweak a setting or two to give yourself a new challenge.
Time Commitment: I've beaten the game twice, and each run through is just over 20 minutes. The levels do get longer as you go up in difficulty, but not by much.
Value: Shoot 1UP is a blast to play. The concept is unique, and a welcome change for veterans of the genre. But it's best feature also leads to its biggest downfall, and may not give fans of the genre the long-lasting appeal they may desire. Still, for $4, you can't go far wrong.
Favorite Element: The Ghost power up. It creates an indestructible mirror image of your fleet. Seeing up to 60 ships firing at once is awe-inspiring.
Confession: I'm kind of terrible at Shoot 'Em Up (aka SHMUP) games. I can say with all honestly I've not even seen level 3 in most of these games I've ever played, but I'm still a huge fan of the genre. I've always loved the levels of imagination that go into the ships, enemies, and weapons. But my skills are outweighed by the sheer difficulty inherent in this style of game. Thankfully, Shoot 1UP has come around to say "Hey, let's even the odds a bit."
In Shoot 1UP, like many games of this type, you get three ships to see just how far you can get against an obscenely powerful alien race. The twist here is that you get all three of your ships on screen at the same time! And, unlike every other SHMUP, when you get a 1Up, it doesn't sit off to the side for safe keeping. Instead it shows up on screen and joins the battle immediately! You can spread out your ships to cover more of the screen with your shots. While you are more vulnerable in this set up, you also get the ability to fire the Power Auger super weapon. If you need to maneuver around lots of enemies, you can also contract your fleet to traverse those narrow gaps.
For once we have a retro-styled game that doesn't look like it was made with Lego blocks. To me it has a late Sega Saturn / early Dreamcast era feel to it. Many of the enemies have a biological element to them. The last level in particular has you flying through a nightmare-ish "Meat Cube" maze that is quite disgusting. I'm unsure how I feel about Level 5. In this one, you are flying above a landscape littered with giant nude women...appropriately covered by weird electronics part so you don't see any naughty bits (there's an option to put clothes on them). The boss of this level is "Mecha Lilith" - a gigantic Fembot that shoots tons of bullets out of her jumblies. It's good for a few Austin Powers style references, but feels out of place given the rest of the game. Also, what's with all the dead Orcas in level 3? If we had that many swimming around, nobody would have ever complained about Sea World.
The thing that most had me interested in Shoot 1UP is the one thing that also brings about my main complaint about the game. With so much firepower, it may actually be too easy (with the notable exception of the final level) and too short. On Casual Mode, I finished the game on my first try with 26 ships still on screen, having lost 17 for the entire game (11 on the last level). On Normal Mode, I beat the game on my 3rd run through. I lost 22 ships on the last level, but still had 6 (although I was down as low as 2 at one point). On Serious Mode well...I didn't get through Level 3. None of these runs lasted more than 20 minutes. So if you're a SHMUP God. You'll probably blow through the story mode on Serious Mode in just a couple tries, and barely have an hour of game time to show for it. Thankfully, there are options in the menu to speed up the game if you need even more challenge. There is also a more traditional Score Trek mode where you have 1 ship, and one ship only, to see how far you can get.
If you're like me, and love SHMUPS but have never seen the final boss in one...then Shoot 1UP will make you feel amazingly good about yourself. And if you are an old pro, you'll have fun playing around with the options and then melting the face off the enemy with the Power Auger.