Shoot 1UP is 80 MS Points at the time of writing. This isn’t very much money. Can something so cheap possibly give you any more than 20 minutes of enjoyment?
You will still need to enjoy shmups to get any joy from Shoot 1UP. Just because it’s cheap, doesn’t mean that shooter-haters will convert en masse. However, at this price, anyone interested in trying out the shmup scene for the first time would do well to start here. Everyone else that is already in should consider that although it’s lightweight in terms of difficulty, there are some good ideas which work well much of the time, and require a very different approach to normal. This means it will keep your attention for a couple of hours just because it’s different.
Like all shmups, you need to guide your ship between bullets and/or enemies to avoid death. Unlike other shmups, Shoot 1UP requires the player to command up to 30 ships at a time! Guiding them through the melee is fairly normal if they are all stacked on top of each other, but like this, their stopping power is severely compromised. Using the triggers, their spread can be varied from very close to “all over the shop”. A spread gauge helps determine when the main beam will power up – anything above level 3 will fire death on the enemy and levels higher than that will increase the points gleaned from their demise (collected as numbers on the screen so you can literally aim for the high scores). The spread-array of ships is called the “phalanx” and nudging this against the edge of the screen will compress it down, reducing the spread gauge. To start with, keeping spread-ships alive and guiding them through multiple bullet gaps is totally alien, but it does get easier with practice. It is very unfair on occasion though when it’s just too hard to get them all through.
To counter this frustration, sacrificing ships causes an explosion which can be hidden in for protection, so this can be used to your advantage. Beware, though: there is only 1 credit and when the ships are gone it’s game over. Enemy damage gives out plenty of new ships, though, making the trek up to the full 30-strong phalanx achievable.
The other main hook is the shield. Stop firing for a second and a shield builds up and up. Firing again will destroy bullets and damage enemies, whilst providing a large multiplier, and huge scores can be achieved with this method. There are risks as well as rewards, though, because it only takes out those within close proximity and the screen can soon flood with action, meaning a swap back to the main beam weapons – the switch back also shows that just shooting stuff is more fun!
There are multiple, branching paths, so you can choose the easy or hard routes. It’s mostly a vertical shooter (in widescreen), but there are horizontal sections, too. To mess with the brain, there are also downwards sections, and free-roam sections in which you travel in the opposite direction to the section of screen your phalanx is on.
For beginners, there is a Chilled mode, which makes a nice introduction if the 80 points has led to a blind plunge. Meanwhile, serious shmuppets will only find the Serious mode challenging. However, there is another mode, Score Trek, which plays like a normal shooter with one ship and gradually increasing fire-power when grabbing 1UPs. If you complete a level without losing a life (and there is only one!), it saves your progress and if you complete the game, you just carry on from the beginning but on a higher difficulty, ad infinitum. This is a welcome addition and from the first level onwards provides a more serious challenge.
Whilst not official achievements, there are some tracked challenges which is a cool touch and the music is repetitive, but good enough.
There’s also a boss that fires boobies. 11/10?