2D run-and-gun arcade platformers never get old, and the arrival of a new one never fails to get our pulses racing.
Take Shockbot, a 16-bit side-scrolling shooter in the mold of Turrican, Castlevania, and countless other stone cold classics of the genre that has just landed with an almighty crash on iOS and Android.
Plotwise, Shockbot takes a leaf out of Half-Life’s book. It’s the near future, and a bunch of reckless scientists have accidentally created a portal to another dimension, allowing an army of horrendous monsters to flood into our realm and basically ruin everything.
Unfortunately, these extraterrestrials are not just meandering alien wildlife. They’re an army, commanded by the fearsome Ultramech, a hulking, well-armed cyborg beast of imposing proportions and unlimited hostility.
Humanity has duly fled the planet in fear. It’s your job to restore our hapless species to its natural habitat by wiping out the alien invaders.
And by you, we mean Shockbot, a deadly automaton armed with a high precision blaster capable of vaporizing enemies in an instant, along with a deeply cool Shock Attack, which can clear an entire screen of enemies in a flash of deadly energy.
It goes without saying that you can’t just go around spamming the Shock Attack button in Shockbot. That would make you unstoppable. Instead, you have to wait for your Shock Meter to fill, which involves collecting the Shock Cores from your vanquished foes.
On top of all this, you can obtain a range of different power-ups, including a double-jump, haste, invincibility, and a Massive Shock Core, which instantly replenishes your Shock Meter.
In terms of gameplay, Shockbot doesn’t confine itself to just 2D arcade shooting. There are environmental puzzles, too, involving anti-gravity, teleporters, and keys. All of this is complemented by the fantastic soundtrack which can best be described as a mix of Y2K-inspired drum and bass with some 16-bit inspired EDM tracks.
Your enemies, meanwhile, couldn’t be a more motley bunch. Over the course of Shockbot’s six huge stages you’ll take down bomb-dropping airborne serpents, krakens, lizards, giant crab monsters, slime creatures, and floating eyeballs.
And, of course, the fearsome Ultramech.
Shockbot looks like a solid, inventive, gloriously extreme, and intelligently modernized take on 2D arcade shooters of yore, and you can play it for yourself for free right now on the Google Play Store and the App Store.