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Shoot Shoot Mega Pack

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Puzzle
Developer: Jon Remedios
Release Date: April 27, 2017

About Brian Dumlao

After spending several years doing QA for games, I took the next logical step: critiquing them. Even though the Xbox One is my preferred weapon of choice, I'll play and review just about any game from any genre on any system.


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PC Review - 'Shoot Shoot Mega Pack'

by Brian Dumlao on May 18, 2017 @ 1:15 a.m. PDT

Shoot Shoot Mega Pack is a party game about rules, friendship, and shooting. In the minimalist 2-D shooter that supports up to four players, create your own rule sets or let the game generate them for you.

Buy Shoot Shoot Mega Pack

Local multiplayer gaming is getting a resurgence in recent years. While titles like Gang Beasts, Overcooked, Thief Town and Towerfall: Ascension could have added some online multiplayer for good measure, their real charm is in reliving classic experiences where you saw your opponent face-to-face and shared the same screen. Shoot Shoot Mega Pack aims to bring that local multiplayer experience to the twin-stick shooter genre. We got a glimpse of it two years ago at PAX Prime and came away impressed, but with the final product in hand, it's time to see if anything else has changed.

To start, the controls can accommodate either the keyboard or controller rather well. On a keyboard, you have one key to rotate your ship either clockwise or counter-clockwise, one key to initiate a thrust in the direction you're pointing, and one to fire your shots. Using the controller, you can either adopt that same scheme or use the left analog stick to point to the direction you want. In both cases, firing is limited to one shot at a time so the playfield isn't littered with bullets, making things more manageable for those who aren't into a "bullet hell" scene. While using different controllers is highly recommended, you can have all of the other players use the same keyboard if you're light on equipment.

When you boot up Shoot Shoot Mega Pack, you're greeted with four different gameplay types, each with a name that only gives you a vague idea of what to expect. Zoom pits you and your opponents in a randomly generated room, where you have to avoid the walls in order to stay alive. Colliding with bullets or ships makes you bounce from the impact, but each delivered shot shrinks the playfield. Sync adds the lethality from bullets and collisions, but the twist is that everyone mimics the actions of one another. Except for turning, when someone initiates a thrust or fires a shot, everyone else does the same, forcing you to time things so you can hit your targets while compensating for everyone else trying to mess you up. Void is an interesting affair, as everything that would normally kill you is deemed safe, so you'll always bounce from the impact. The defining trait is that fired bullets turn into vortexes when they make contact, and those holes can be pushed around by other shots to engulf opponents in them. Lastly, there's Fade, which only makes shots deadly while everything else is safe. Shooting will briefly make you appear in the world, so staying alive means having to visualize where you are and hope that you can get the drop on opponents.

There are only a few differences from the demo we played two years ago. Matches go up to winning five rounds instead of three. Sync no longer tethers players to one another. Also, Void doesn't let you fire more shots into a vortex to expand its circumference. While it would have been nice to have those elements back, their absence doesn't harm the game.

Playing through all of the modes opens up the ability to customize rules for your own game modes. You can choose elements from the other four core game modes and create your own, so you can either play in a one-off game or save it to your favorites list, which can hold four configurations at a time. For example, you can play a variation of Void, where bullets are lethal on impact, or you can combine Sync with Zoom's wall-constricting trait. All of the combinations make for some excellent game modes, and the only lament is that you can't give each custom mode a custom name, so it's a bit difficult to figure out the active mode if you switch games without heading to the main menu. For those who don't like making those decisions, there is an option to play Chaos mode, which mixes up the rules for you into a random game mode.

From a presentation standpoint, Shoot Shoot Mega Pack goes for a simple approach. The music and sound effects are reminiscent of some of the games that were used in Sportsfriends a few years ago, since they're both whimsical in nature. Explosions sound quaint and low-key, while the music drowns out the need to be competitive. Graphically, the game is comprised of some simple triangles and nice color shades, with only a hint of drop shadow to spice things up. The square nature of each of the arenas will trip up a few people, but the look is artistically clean.

Shoot Shoot Mega Pack is fun for those who still crave local multiplayer. The short nature of each game mode ensures that matches don't last too long, while the customization means that you can mix things up if the four main modes are starting to wear on you. It may not have a single-player mode, online play, or even bots to practice against, but it's very good at what it does. If you want another go-to game for local multiplayer sessions, Shoot Shoot Mega Pack is worth a shot.

Score: 8.5/10

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