Shoot 1Up is an XBLIG title by Mommy’s Best Games that I think many people might have missed, because it is an XBLIG title.  Mommy’s Best Games are known for their retro style sticking more to 2D style games.   Shoot 1Up is a shoot’em up that has that great retro feel with some added bonuses that make the genre feel fresh and new.

There is a bit of background story within that game that fits within the usual shoot’em up style.  The planet you are from is invaded by an alien race looking to destroy the current people of that planet.  Sadly all the other defenses have been beaten into oblivion by their superiority and you and your phalanx are the last ones left that can do anything about it.

The game itself draws from the many classic shoot’em ups known to date.  The idea is to fly out there, save the day, and score as many points as humanly possible, while dodging all the bullets that are slung at you.  The game has varying difficulty levels, for the casual shoot’em up player to the survivors of the many Japanese style “bullet hell” games.

Here’s what we liked:

The big differences – What makes Shoot 1Up very different from ALL of the other shoot’em up titles out there, is that all your ships or “lives” are out on the field at the same time shooting with you.   If you have 15 ships, all 15 of them are out there firing at the same time you are.   You can actually control how spread apart the ships are as well with LT and RT.   The further apart you have your phalanx, the larger the multiple the higher more points you are able to collect, the tighter together they are, the easier it is to move them all around, but the less points you get.   You start having to work within the factors of risk versus reward when it comes to how you fly your ships.   Are you looking for the score or are you looking to get through the game with as many ships as possible.

A shield that is a weapon – I think one of the very unique features of the game is that the shield can also double as a weapon.   If you time things correctly, you can use your shield to take out a large grouping of baddies for big points.  If you have your ships spread out, and you shield burst to kill baddies, you are talking some of the kills racking up to points in the millions!

You have to collect your points – Rather than just getting to blow away a bunch of baddies, and watching your points rack up, you actually need to navigate the field of play to pick up all the points you just demolished.   This will drive some of the score driven players up the walls, because you might miss out on that 1 million points kill because you forgot to snag the score token of the field of play.

I feel this adds a very strategic feel to the game because you now have to navigate all of your ships, to the best of your ability through the field of play.   You aren’t just focusing how you are going to kill all the baddies on the board.  You need to focus on being able to pick up the large amount of points that you are destroying out there.  You can score 1.5 million points on a kill, but it means NOTHING unless you pick it up!

Don't forget to collect those points!

Choose your path – About midway through the stages, it gives you a choice of how you want to fly through the rest of the level.  You can go for the straight up easy path, or you can mix things up by going the difficult way.   When you go the harder way, the way the game plays changes up.   Sometimes your ships might just point to the right, and you are shooting in that direction.   What I find unique is when you are given the choice for free flight mode.   This can be quite the challenge, because are you fly around the screen, the direction the ships point and shot changes.   It increases the challenge, as well as the number of points you are scoring.

The price point – The game costs 80 Microsoft points!  With how much the game offers, I am shocked that the price point is so low.   There is so much that this game offers!  There are a couple of unlockables, achievements (though sadly they don’t add to your achievement score), and different modes of game play.  The replay value of the game is increased with all the different paths you can take, leaving you with a very rich experience.

What might not be liked

The Graphics – while personally love the art style of the game, some people might feel it comes off as a little too classic.  It does have very few animations, and the backgrounds of the stages do repeat, but to me this is a very minor offense with everything else the game packs.

The sound – the game does have very few songs that do seem kind for generic for a shoot’em up.  They are catchy and great, but some people might just start getting annoyed with them as they start over with each and every stage.

Shoot 1Up is a very innovative and fresh approach to the 2d shooter.   For the low price point, you seriously can’t go wrong with the game at all.  It takes everything that we loved about shoot’em ups and then made them better by adding many ingenious twists to the mechanics of the game.  If you are a fan of shoot’em ups and you don’t have this one within your arcade titles on your Xbox, get out there and get it NOW!

Score- BUY IT!