Not Your Average
If it is one genre of gaming that almost everyone can at least relate to, it is that of the shoot-em-up. Call them what you will - shooting games, shooters, shoot-em-ups, blasting games, gun games, FPS, TPS - it is this genre that one most often thinks of when asked to name and describe some computer games off the top of their head. Shooting games just have an air of accessibility about them, and also a universal understanding of the themes involved, as well as a standard controlled configuration that allows someone to master the basics in under a minute flat. It is for these reasons with the addition of an incredible storyline and stunning graphics that games like Half Life and The Last Of Us prospered, and it is also for some of these reasons that Gunbot is a game that stands out from your average flash-based shoot-em-up.
Point and Shoot
Gunbot's format shouldn't surprise anyone, whether they are a fan of shooting games or not; it is a typical side-view third-person shooter in its format, but in the details is where this game prospers. You can add things like the classic WASD/directional arrow key controls, the mouse-based aiming and shooting, and the stage-based level progression to the list of standard things that one wouldn't feel were out of place or unusual to be present in a shooting game. The storyline isn't particularly strong, but it doesn't need to be with this kind of pick-up-and-play shooting game. All you need to know is that you're a robot that can jump around and use guns that must take on twenty two different levels containing various enemies and some items to collect along the way. It's like a platform game with guns, and not dissimilar to Diseased Productions' Thing Thing series in its format and general feel.
Platform + Guns ÷ Robots = Gunbot
Just because it's like playing a platform game with a few extra weapon-based perks, this doesn't mean that the game isn't every bit as entertaining as other highly rated shoot-em-ups out there such as Strike Force Heroes 2. The first thing you'll notice about the gameplay is that the physics are spot-on, the design is very professional and distinguished, and that it feels like a top-class game in almost every area. This professional touch extends into the upgrade system as well as the simple experience point-based progression. Killing enemies rewards you with experience points which allow you to unlock different abilities such as being able to double-jump, activate an air strike of sorts, and also scan enemies for health with a radar. This means as the levels get more difficult with more enemies occupying them, you are able to use these abilities to improve your own performance and therefore chance of survival.
Berzerk Through and Through
Because this is a Berzerk Land game, there was never any chance that you'd be subjected to any kind of gameplay that didn't involve an upgrade system of at least a satisfying nature, if not a substantial one. Gunbot has 15 guns for you to unlock and purchase with money collected during levels, and 5 premium guns that must be purchased with the game's premium currency, which is diamonds. The purchase of diamonds or the premium guns isn't necessary, but rather an extra feature of curiosity for those that fancy a bit of a change from the regular arsenal. You won't be short-changed as a non-paying player however; these 15 guns range from standard to formidable, each having their own stats such as power, reload time, and magazine size, all of which improve the more money you are able to spend on purchasing the better guns. You can even purchase different shields as well, with these providing different levels of protection as well as the passive stats such increasing the experience points collected and money earned from each kill/mission.
Everything about the experience screams Berzerk Land through and through, and you can tell that this game is made by the same studio that brought us games like The Most Wanted Bandito and Berserk Ball. Heavy emphasis on upgrades is obviously the theme here, though some may say it is a little too much of an emphasis on this and perhaps a neglect of other aspects of the game.
One of the aspects of Gunbot that has most notably been neglected is content, not in terms of upgrades, weapons, or shields (obviously), but in the levels themselves. Though the missions are packed with enemies to kill and some terrain-related dangers to overcome such as pitfalls and water traps, there really isn't much else to do aside from kill enemies, collect experience/money, collect a few stars (there are 5 to find per level), complete the level, and repeat. It is for this reason that Gunbot can become a little repetitive, even with all of the weapons upgrades available. Level-specific objectives and more challenging puzzles would have been nice, as would a bit more variety in the guns section as seen in many other shooting games such as Thing Thing Arena Pro. Still, there are achievements to unlock, guns to look forward to, and impressive visuals as well as a unique artistic style to admire in Gunbot. It's definitely worth half an hour of your time to discover its particular brand of shoot-em-up, even if just to discover what weapons are on offer. Alternatively, you could take a peek at Gunbot Hacked if you want everything immediately.