Week in Arcade: Shoot Many Robots, Ardania

Out of the House Party and into the fire. Two titles this week totaling up to $25.

Shoot Many Robots

The problem with Shoot Many Robots isn’t the control scheme. A little historical perspective plants this title right in the midsection of greats like Contra III. Here, it’s about sloppiness and pacing. Characters lack traction, slipping and sliding with wild imprecision, and the melee attacks purposefully stop themselves to prevent game breaking endless combos. That’s fine, but in this instance, it lends to the sense of unresponsiveness. Robots routinely stops for mass attacks instead of forging ahead, making the idea of doing this for an advertised 20+ hours unattractive. Instead of refining level design, it’s been stretched out to meet an arbitrary length.

Defenders of Ardania

As if XBLA needed another tower defense title comes this fantasy slaughter. Set up towers, they shoot stuff, yadda, yadda, yadda. The change here is offense, lining up friendly troops of various types to send the other direction. Towers can be captured, as can objective points. Ardania tends to hit boring ruts where opposing sides simply stop sending varied waves, meaning it’s only a matter of time until victory. That can take a while as base health seems significant. Fun idea, but with the flood of similar titles, $15 is a bit steep.