Originally released on Steam in 2015, Shoot 1UP has been ported to Nintendo Switch as Shoot 1UP DX as it marks the first time this 2D shooter has been made available on current consoles. Fans of the original will note the additional levels, enemies, and bosses found in this new console release but newcomers will think they have been a part of the game all along.
The major gimmick comes from the 1UP system. Instead of focusing on upgrading the weaponry of a single ship and stock piling lives, a new ship is immediately added to the playing field when a 1UP symbol is collected. Skilled players will be able to command up to 30 ships at a single time, increasing fire power and destruction. The downside, however, is that enemies will have a much larger target when trying to snipe an armada of ships as opposed to one tiny vessel. Adding to the strategy and reaction time is the expanding and contracting system. Holding one button expands that ship formation while the other can contract essentially into the size of a single ship. Is it better to concentrate fire power on one small area, or would be more beneficial to cover to ground with a wide stance? There is plenty to think about at any given moment. Also, if the player stops shooting for a couple seconds, a shield attack launches which entices the player to stop shooting instead of mindlessly auto-firing.
As if the ship stacking mechanic wasn’t unique enough, there are also several branching paths to explore. Taking one path might continue as a vertical scrolling shooter but taking another could change the perspective horizontally or even at an angle. Not knowing what type of gameplay is around the corner makes the experience feel fresh with each attempt. It only takes 10-15 minutes to reach the end, if you can survive that long through the final boss, so experimenting with new routes is encouraged.
It takes skill and coordination but it is possible to fill the screen with up to 60 total ships when playing in local co-op mode. The frame rate also remains fluid and the player can even adjust the game speed from the main menu, a feature that is rarely seen in any game let alone shooters. The online leaderboards are also detailed as there are boards for each individual difficulty. The biggest complaint I have comes from the background; they repeat often and can be distracting. Some might enjoy the scantily clad android babes in the background but the experience can start to get disorientating a few stages deep.
Shoot 1UP DX is definitely not the best shooter ever made but undoubtedly a unique one. As a modern game, it is a lot more player friendly as opposed to the one-hit one-death demanding gameplay of something like R-Type or Gradius. If you missed the original release when it originally launched years ago, old school shooter fans should keep this on their radar.
Shoot 1UP DX will also be coming to Xbox One and PS4 soon. Mommy’s Best Games also has plans on releasing remasters of Explosionade and Weapon of Choice.