(WiiWare)

Game Review

Shootanto: Evolutionary Mayhem Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Spencer McIlvaine

An evolutionary step for light gun shooters?

In the grand tradition of so-called “light gun” games, Shootanto uses the pointer function of the Wii remote to task the player with shooting targets onscreen as quickly as possible. Given the strengths of the Wii remote in this regard, the Wii should provide fertile ground for this genre. But is Shootanto the right fertilizer, or is it just another case of a WiiWare game developer flinging poo at anything that moves?

Like most light gun games, Shootanto features a range of targets onscreen that the player must shoot at with the gun. Because of the Wii remote’s IR pointer, no extra gun peripheral is necessary. However, because for some people this would take some of the fun out of the experience, Shootanto includes the option to play with the Wii Zapper. There are options for both Zapper controls as well as for those who prefer to hang loose with a non-Zappered Wii remote. So your controls are conveniently laid out regardless of your choice.

Also included is a bizarre third option to use the classic controller. We presume this option is included for “hard-core” gamers who are too cool for Wii remotes. And yes, playing a light gun game with a thumbstick turns out to be exactly as much fun as it sounds.

If not using the classic controller, players must use the nunchuk attachment. This is because, unlike most games in this genre, the game is not shown in a first-person perspective. Rather, the player’s character is visible on screen as in a third-person perspective. The nunchuk is used to move him or her left and right on screen. As a consequence, not every projectile heading toward you will necessarily hit you. Only those headed toward your character will hit you and only then if you don’t move out of the way, or use the dodge function.

Dodging is as simple as the press of a button, or the shaking of your Zapper. While dodging, your character will do a little cartwheel and avoid getting hit by incoming projectiles. You can dodge anything and everything this way and as a result it is slightly unrealistic as you cartwheel through boulders and dinosaurs and anything else coming your way and always avoid getting hit. The controls can be sluggish, however, and as a result you may be vulnerable for a brief moment in between executing two dodges. During that split second, you may still get hit even as you furiously smash the dodge button.

Most of the time, however, the system works well. And there is no point in dodging all of the time, as you cannot fire while dodging. So at some point you will have to plant your feet and get to work. After all, those lizardmen and mushroom plants aren’t going to kill themselves. To clear a level, you must shoot pretty much everything until the final boss shows up. Once you finish off the boss, the level is complete. Since much of the challenge in these types of games is in maximizing your score, there is some additional challenge to be found in trying to continue to clear all obstacles before finishing off the final boss.

Shooting things in the game is relatively simple. An onscreen crosshair shows where you are aiming. So the game is literally as simple as point and shoot. The real challenge comes in selecting which targets to prioritize, and in dodging incoming fire. But for the most part, the game is a fairly brainless button masher. Consider that most games of this genre require the player to find targets to shoot at, and to distinguish between hostile and friendly targets. Here, everything on screen is destructible and there are never any hostages or elderly women crossing the street to avoid hitting. As a result, players are rewarded for just mindlessly shooting everything, stopping only to step out of the way of incoming fire.

Mercifully, the game allows you to hold down the fire button for auto-fire. This will save your fingers quite a lot of wear and tear, as you can simply hold the button down indefinitely with two exceptions. One, as mentioned maximizing your score is one of the purposes for playing, and the game keeps track of your misses. So in order to maximize your player data, you’ll have to lay off the trigger finger lest some of your shots hit the only two non-destructible targets…the ground and the sky. And second, if you want to dodge incoming fire, you’ll have to take your finger off of the firing button first. Hesitation can result in your dodge order coming in too late as, once again, the controls have a fairly long delay between button press and action being carried out on screen.

The game is fairly easy to play as it is literally just a shoot ‘em up, however the difficulty is somewhat high compared to other games in the genre and there is very little time to get acclimated. Even on easy mode players will find themselves swarmed by a relatively high number of targets. And as the game progresses, players will gain access to sequentially more powerful characters, but at the same time the levels become equally more difficult to complete.

And the graphics don’t make things much better. Looking roughly like N64 quality, the graphics are blocky and not very pleasing to the eye. When staring intently at a target, one would like to be able to distinguish it from the others around it. But all too often the player is firing at nothing more than pixels representing characters in the distance.

A zoom option is included to help you make sense of what these distant targets really are, but while zoomed in you leave yourself open to incoming fire and so this feature is usually too dangerous to use. One single incoming arrow can cost you your life if you don’t see it coming while you are zoomed in on something else. And those arrows are difficult enough to see already, especially the ones headed straight toward you as your own character can overlay them on screen.

The game includes a local two-player co-op mode. Historically, this genre of game has been fun to play with friends. But more importantly, bringing a friend along with you may be your only option for beating the ridiculous Hard level difficulty.

Once you complete the main game, you can go back through on higher skill levels to access more game content, or play through individual levels in an extra game mode that allows you to play any level using characters from any time period. But in all cases, the name of the game is the same…Shoot everything and try to improve your score.

The game keeps track of statistics for up to seven different people and ties those statistics into your Mii. Numbers tracked include your hit/miss ratio, your number of times completed, and even the amount of time, calculated to the nearest second, that you’ve spent playing the game. Everyone who plays on the same Wii can see each other’s statistics and compare them to see whose life is most worth living. Hey, here’s a free tip to the makers of this and all other brainless button-mashers out there…it might not be such a good idea to remind your customers of just exactly how many minutes, hours, and days of their lives they have spent mindlessly repeating the same task.

Conclusion

Shootanto is one of surprisingly few light gun games available on the Wii. And it is one of the only such games to not feature zombies. As a result, it represents a time-honored genre in a relatively uncrowded field and should provide a short-term but enjoyable diversion. It has some good points such as customized Zapper controls as well as experimenting with the idea of having an onscreen character to move around. And then there is the budget price that certainly cannot be argued with. As a WiiWare game it is clearly a fair offering.

However, those good points aside, the sluggish controls and bad graphics prevent Shootanto from competing with the big retail releases. As a result, it should be considered only as a cheap and convenient supplement to a player’s collection, and not as a replacement for a good retail version of a game in this genre.

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User Comments (26)

JayArr

#1

JayArr said:

Better than I thought. The controls sound too awkward for me though.

Hoffkage

#4

Hoffkage said:

Seeing how cool are the rail shooters on retail I doubt this one would have a lot of success.

Stevie

#5

Stevie said:

But is Shootanto the right fertilizer, or is it just another case of a WiiWare game developer flinging poo at anything that moves? That was funny as was the bit about the classic controller :)

I am in two minds about this, but should have plenty of time to make up my mind as I await European release.

EDIT - @Ezekiel below, I haven't a clue what you mean Untitled

Re-EDIT - Agghh Ezekiel now I see what you mean, the pics have Japanese text, probably due to the staff of NL being lazy and using the pics they had before western release instead of taking new pics :P

Strofan7

#9

Strofan7 said:

yeah despite the "6" it looks like its well worth 500 points. may check it out.

@Vaynard finally someone else who likes brigandine haha

cheetahman91

#10

cheetahman91 said:

Who cares if the graphics are good or not. It's a WiiWare game anyways, and I'll probably get it soon, poor graphics or not.
BTW, nice observation Ezekiel. Shame on the NL staff not putting up pics of the English version. Lazy, lazy, lazy... like me. ;)

jbrodack

#11

jbrodack said:

A 6 isn't bad for a 500 point game. I'm not sure what the reviewer things good be better besides graphics. This is kinda a cross between light gun games and games like NAM-1975 or cabal. The reviewer probably should have pointed that out instead of just comparing it the zombie light gun games and saying this "experimented" with an on screen character.

suburban_sensei

#12

suburban_sensei said:

After seeing the trailer for this game, I wasn't expecting much, so a 6 sounds alright (if not, a bit gracious.)

accc

#13

accc said:

It sounds like the reviewer just doesn't like rail shooters... his complaints (aside from the graphics) basically boild down to "all you do is shoot stuff"

Gabbo

#14

Gabbo said:

@jbrodack
No, this really is just a light gun game. And not even a 'rail shooter' as Cheezy mentioned above since there are no rails. It's just a static screen for each level. But you're right, a 6 isn't bad. Some of my favorite Wiiware games scored 6's and I reviewed them myself.

Edit
@accc
Looks like we cross-posted. Again, this is not technically a 'rail shooter'. So there's nothing to not like about them. :P

jbrodack

#15

jbrodack said:

@Gabbo have you played nam or cabal? basically the same thing except you don't have an actual light gun controlling the cursor. traditional light gun games don't have you actually move a visible character.
Also, your closing comments are kind of odd. Why even bother comparing a $5 wiiware game with a retail game? Its not competing with retail releases. Compare it to other wiiware games like wild west guns.

Objection

#16

Objection said:

@jbrodack-thats exactly what I was going to ask. How does this compare with the 1000pt Wild West Guns,which I believe got a 7? (I have already downlaoded WWG but am curious how this compares in value.)

Sean_Aaron

#17

Sean_Aaron said:

It's a lot harder than Wild West Guns and a different experience due to controlling the on-screen character. I really haven't put enough time into it as I didn't realise it had an end or had characters beyond the modern humans in the 3rd stage much less that you could go back and replay the game with them!

A 6 definitely seems fair to me; it's 100 points cheaper than it was in Japan so you lucky gaijin should go out and get it!

longtimegamer

#19

longtimegamer said:

These graphics aren't blocky (Sorry Gabbo but I disagree. Where in the game are you seeing that? Also of course you can't see some well. They're far away). Just so people don't get the wrong idea (I liked how the Giant fish boss looked in particular). It's not on rails and, as Jbrodack said, it's basically a game that plays in the same style as the game Cabal.
The destructable scenery in any single level can change too, like ferns on dinosaur levels may be in different place.
@Gabbo: I wonder if saying this is a brainless shooter will turn people off of this?
*Also, while it's true you can shoot and destroy any and everything, (just about) you still have to decide when to pick up powerups and who to hit first. Some enemys (The close ones?) have shots that get to you quicker so I try to make them a priority. (At the fish boss level, you have to watch and figure out how it's going to attack (it moves different sometimes).
So, you like hostages and people getting in the way? You don't find them annoying?
@Starkiller: It's decent enough. It's definatly not bad. Good challange. I don't know how "difficult" Easy was, but I beat normal, it can be tough, and I spent most of the day since "around" noon trying to beat hard and got stuck playing the first part of the midievil level over and over (cause on hard, that one sucks butt!)

@12: What makes you think this was generous?

@rorro44: Yeah, the name does suck. If I was the Lone Rangers sidekick, I might be offended. :PI

Ren

#20

Ren said:

Thanks, this confirms my purchase just by being so thorough so I know whats there and how you're approaching it.
I don't exactly agree about what are 'good' and 'bad' points but I know what I like, and 6 seems fair enough. It really seems like someone needs to get you a copy of Cabal so you can see where this is coming from.

It's not supposed to compete with retail games, and that is the only really unfair judgement here but I think it's hard to call anything else here new or failed they're just copying a classic lesser known formula verbatim and it sounds like they did it well; maybe too well for younger players.
It's also not a rail shooter, or a zombie zapper game. With the cartwheel dodging, points system, and even the controller support for shooting and moving character both it's very clearly an homage and direct clone of the Cabal sort of format, which was itself unique. If you don't understand the appeal or the setup of that classic, than surely this one would seem like an "experiment" or strange and low tech.

It seems to me the developer was like "I want a game that really captures the unique quirks of the Cabal format, but with new graphics/story" and they accomplished it. Thats a win to me, especially at 500 points.
see this link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQnHAr0yLvY

LEGEND_MARIOID

#21

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Hmmmm, I may consider this. For some reason, I think I'd enjoy it. There's not enough no-zombie shooters on the wii....or shooters full stop (light gun ones I mean). Its also 500 points, so.....

Thanks for thr revw.

BulbasaurusRex

#22

BulbasaurusRex said:

@cheetahman91 and jbrodack - The graphics weren't the only complaint. He also complained about the sluggish controls and brutal difficulty. Personally, the brutal difficulty is what's keeping me from getting it, especially since someone in the forums said you can only play the modern soldier levels at the end of the hard difficulty.

EdEN

#23

EdEN said:

Ok, Shootanto gets downloaded, as soon as I can update my Wii without a risk of briking it, so we get a shot at the sequel...

Stargazer

#24

Stargazer said:

I downloaded this once my fears of spending $5, playing it once, and deleting it disappeared, and it's surprisingly solid! It's really not as hard as some people are saying. The shooting is fun and satisfying, and the only real complaints I have are the MASSIVE SLOWDOWN (which no one had mentioned) and the jerkiness of the reticule when zoomed in for sniping (which may have more to do with the distance I am from my sensor bar).

It's good fun, though. Reminds me of Nam 75.

Tate24

#25

Tate24 said:

love hard mode on first levels and medieval level i spent what felt like life time dodging incoming arrows fire balls! giant swords! it was such intense experience! lol but i enjoyed it alot. There more skill in this game then u would think! love it!

NoSeriously

#26

NoSeriously said:

I'm fairly new to this site (and to the Wii) so maybe I'm missing something here. Why do I want to shoot these critters? I just watched some gameplay on Youtube and it doesn't seem like any of the targets with wings or legs (even the shrooms, for that matter) are threatening yer little guy in the game. I love shooting games, but I kinda need a reason to be shooting at "living" targets--like, they're trying to do me or someone else harm. Or, like the crows in Wild West Guns, they make a really annoying sound. It's weird that I've carried my real-world ethics into my gameplay, but there it is. :)

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