Gunbot - Robots, shooting, and a whole load of upgrading: what's not to like?
Guns? Robots? Shooting at things with said guns and robots? If this hasn't peaked your attention by now then you clearly aren't much of a fan of the shoot-em-up genre, and as such have very little business perusing a game like Berzerk Land's Gunbot. This wonderful game has to be one of the most entertaining and richly satisfying shoot-em-ups that the internet has on its overflowing plate, containing everything you need from a robot-centric shooter: robots, monsters, various worlds to explore, and an arsenal of upgrades to keep you thirsty for more.
A Cherry Above
How do you go about making the shoot-em-up genre more entertaining than it already is? All told, we're talking about a genre that is home to such legendary sagas as Duke Nukem 3D, Doom, Quake, Max Payne, Half Life, Sniper Elite, Halo, and god knows how many more. On top of the titles that cost actual money, you've got some incredible free-to-play flash-based legends as well such as Dead Zed, SAS Zombie Assault, Strike Force Heroes, and Raze. It seems almost impossible to put a cherry on top of a cake that already has a stack of glacés towering over it, but there's one more waiting to be placed on top, and it's a big, juicy morello of a game at that: Gunbot. Not only does Gunbot offer up some seriously well-designed shoot-em-up action with a ton of gun upgrades (not really surprising for a game by Berserk Land), but it also adds robots into the bullet and upgrade-heavy mix. Prepare yourself for action and ready your mind for supreme visual style; Gunbot has some serious shooting to do, and you'll need to guide him through.
Standard Stuff, But Far From Standard
So how do you go about playing through a day in the life of Gunbot? Well, with a whole load of solid gameplay and airtight design, is how. The aim is to travel through three different worlds (split into two lots of eight levels and one lot of six), killing all sorts of monsters as you go, avoiding damage, collecting power ups, and also retrieving five stars that are scattered around the level. The controls are standard WASD/directional arrow configuration for movement, and standard mouse-based aiming/shooting (left mouse button to actually do the shooting ) It may sound like a fairly standard cross sectional-view platform game, but when you throw in a fantastic interface that is designed as well as Gunbot's is, you're in for quite a superior experience to traditional top-down shooting games of the Robokill 2 kind. Oh, and let's not be forgetting the butt-load of guns and shields you have to look forward to owning as part of the upgrading process.
Guns Don't Kill People; Robots Do
Though you may come for Berserk Land's gentle mixing of guns and robots, you'll definitely stay for the enticing upgrades. These upgrades supplement what would still be a well-made game if they were to be absent, but whose presence enhances the experience and its longevity by about a thousand percent. You'll begin with a fairly narrow selection of weapons and shields with different stats like power, reload time, mag size and shield, xp bonus, and cash bonus respectively; you earn money in each level to buy better weapons, as well as earning experience points for each enemy killed so that you can reach higher skill levels and unlock certain abilities such as double jump, a scanner for enemies, and fire fury, an ability which lets you release a temporary torrent of fireballs from the sky one time per level.
As for the guns themselves, you've got your starter pistols like the Thunder and the Defender, but get to upgrade quite swiftly to weapons that pack more punch and that are simply more satisfying to fire due to the sounds they make, the automatic fire they enable, and other properties that make each gun more desirable to own than its predecessor. There are fifteen guns to own in all, with five premium guns that can only be bought with diamonds (Gunbot's premium currency that must be bought for real-life money)
Destroy, Enjoy, Reminisce
A game like Gunbot is highly reminiscent of some of the more old-school shooters, the original Metroid in particular, with which Gunbot shares some stark similarities such as some of the enemies, the side-view format, and the look of much of the scenery. While it is an extremely well-designed game, it does have its weakness in that it may be a little repetitive for some. Though the gameplay itself is very well executed and the game is technically on the verge of being a masterpiece because of fantastic physics, great weapons, stunning design etc., there simply isn't enough to be getting on with in terms of objectives. This is where some Metroid-style puzzles definitely wouldn't go a miss, nor would a little more variety in the scenery or the hair-raising tension one feels when playing SAS Zombie Assault 3 . Still, these are small imperfections in what is otherwise a glistening diamond in the rough, a near-perfect blend of robot, guns, and upgrades; an automaton-based stroke of almost-genius that just falls short because of the repetitive nature of its gameplay.