As the quality of the games featured on the Indie Games channel continues to rise, the pressure on the developers to evolve beyond their humble roots must be incredible. As the saying goes the cream will always rise to the top, and this is never apt when you consider Mommys Best Games latest title, Shoot 1Up.
Following on from the rather splendid Weapon of Choice, Shoot 1Up continues in a similar vein in attempting to update the genre, but this is a shooter in the more traditional sense. The premise is the opposite of the usual shmup; dispatched enemies will drop extra lives which can be scooped up for use at the time, rather than being kept in reserve. Pressing on the left and right triggers will expand and contract the ever expanding fleet, and will instigate a powerful combined beam which will decimate all on-screen enemies.
If any of your ships are destroyed, their blast will act as a temporary shield, but crucially the beam will be interrupted as you reconfigure the formation of your ships. The Ghost pickup creates a mirror image of your current configuration, altering your perception as you lose track of which actual set of ships you control at any one time, although it can be priceless at any of the Boss stages. These fights are tense affairs, but the player will soon have the measure of them.
There are also branching paths which help ease the player in, allowing for a gentle route to be followed, or an infinitely more challenging time can be had merely by deciding between shifting to the left or right hand of the screen at the appropriate time. But probably Shoot 1Up`s greatest strength is that it caters for all types of players, from bullet hell veterans to lapsed shmup fans alike. The various difficulties, from Chilled, Normal, Serious or Score Trek (and even the ability to run at 200% the normal speed) make for interesting times, but crucially they invite everyone into the fold, encouraging them to re-establish old habits and warm up the old muscle memory.
What is more remarkable is how little this excellent experience costs. At 80 Microsoft Points, considering the quality of the title, it’s an utter bargain. On the strength of this, Mommys Best Games have a bright future ahead of them.