Shootanto: Evolutionary Mayhem: review

Love it or hate it, the Wii is the best current gen console for hardcore gamers for at least one genre: lightgun games. The remote is an excellent lightgun in the right casing, and you then have titles such as House Of The Dead 2&3 or Overkill, Ghost Squad, or two decent Resident Evil fan service shooters. Now, Shootanto: Evolutionary Mayhem aims its sights (no more, we promise) from WiiWare at joining this respectable list.

In actual fact Shootanto isn’t, perhaps, a lightgun game; but it fits much more comfortably into that pigeonhole than any other. There’s an on – screen cursor to aim with, enemies with no AI whatsoever walk and shoot toward the screen, there are no options to change or move the camera, and nor can you move about freely. You do have an on – screen avatar but he, she or it can only move left and right, and even that is more restricting than it might sound; each stage consists of just one screen. It’s more Duck Hunt than Time Crisis.

A more apt comparison still would be, believe it or not, Space Invaders. Moving left and right on a single screen, while enemies make their unthinking yet relentless advance whilst you struggle to keep them at bay till the stage finishes. Rather than a sci – fi setting, Shootanto uses (abuses?) the concept of evolution and history. Characters therefore range from a monkey up to a knight or soldier, and the stages include a primeval jungle and a medieval castle. Before you get interested, we must say right now that the game is so bad, we’ve made it sound much more exciting than it really is without even trying.

It may look like your enemies are abstract mathematical entities, but that's just all the points you earn for not missing.

The first warning sign is the graphics. We’re still trying to decide whether Shootanto looks like a high end NES game, or a lazy SNES title. Ugly games can still be fun, but the LostWinds titles have decimated the idea that WiiWare games are all doomed to look terrible. It’s your first indication of the effort, or lack thereof, that has gone into Shootanto.

Each character has a standard infinite ammo attack, a limited use bomb – style projectile… and that’s it. The pretence of tactics offered by a zoom button, and by moving your character left and right (which incorporates a quick – dodge move) is extremely unconvincing. More and more enemies appear as each stage advances, which bizarrely has the effect of, at times, creating the world’s first lightgun button basher as you throw the cursor around and hammer the shoot button in an effort to take everything down. Control setups are offered not only for the Wii Zapper, but for the remote & nunchuk combo and even for the classic controller too. If only as much thought and effort had gone into the rest of the game; it feels indescribably soulless.

How on Earth did they manage to make this not fun?

A monkey fighting a dinosaur? A caveman killing giant fire breathing armadillos? A knight defending himself against hordes of lizardmen? This should have been gaming gold! Instead, the time you spent buying and downloading this game would be only slightly shorter than the time you spent playing it before you decided you’ve got better things to do with your life. The multitude of point counts and collectables cluttering the screen do nothing to enhance the experience (though you can share the misery with a friend if you wish). It may cost only 500 points, but so do dozens of NES classics. Now if you’ll excuse us, we hear Ghost Squad calling…

1/5

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Written by Luke K

Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you'll find something he's written in there. Luke doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

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