6. Super Panda Adventures
The first on the list is occupied by Super Panda Adventures, a 2D side-scroller focused on hack’n’slash rather than run’n’gun but it’s action oriented so it should still fit a bit. You’re a Panda whose lovely princess has been kidnapped by a mysterious evil. Your obvious mission is to search for the missing royalty and bring her back.
The game actually starts when you get your sword, until then, it’s just walk. The sword you wield cannot be changed, only upgraded, by finding Power Orbs. At the beginning, 2 Power Orbs will be needed to upgrade your weapon, afterwards 1 more Orb will be needed each time you upgrade. Same goes for the armor. All the upgrades can also be visually seen on the character. Items like metal fist and grappling hook can be found in the game through exploring which will further help you in reaching previously unreachable places. Later in the game you get to use magical powers like magic projectiles and so on.
“ Your lovely princess has been kidnapped ”
The leveling system gives 2 skill points everytime a new level is achieved, which can be spent on perks like health and armor increase, critical chances and mana regeneration.
The menu is made in an all-in-one style, including everything from perks, to primary and side quests, to the exit button. The controls are a bit clunky and spread across the keyboard, taking a while to get used to them.
There are quite a few enemies that will make your exploring quite hard to their knockback ability everytime you touch them and get hit by them, causing you a lot to fall over the cliff, but there’s no fall damage fortunately. Starting with blobs that come out of flowers to masked anthropomorphic enemies and robots. The robots can steal properties from other enemies, like attacking moves and physical traits and they have a greater HP count than the others.
Overall, Super Panda Adventures is a tough game with a Super Mario-esque plot style that might keep you focused or just leave through a rage quit.
5. Dust: An Elysian Tail
Dust: An Elysian Tail is a 2D, also more hack’n’slash oriented than run’n’gun but it still fits the action profile so we’ll let it be. Sharing a similar starting story to that of Cave Story, you’re an anthropomorphic wolf, named Dust, with no recollection about who you were before and what you used to do. You find an ancient magical sword that has the ability to speak to you besides killing everything that comes in its path. Its guardian, a chibi-stylised flying bat, named Fidget, will join your journey of seeking information about your past.
Dust: An Elysian Tail has quite a few RPG elements, like leveling system as well as item equipping and crafting, though the crafting isn’t made by you per-say and a shop. The shop contains from food, to fighting equipment and materials to craft said equipment. While the equipment gives the character bonus attributes like bonus attack damage and defense points, the items are not visible on Dust. You can equip the wolf with armor, rings, amulets as well as a food in its own special quick slot to heal fast in the middle of the battle. Each kind of food provides a certain amount of health as well as other small, time-limited bonuses.
The fighting system focuses integrally on sword wielding and its powers allowing Dust to rack up combo hits until you either run out of enemies to kill or you get hit by them. The higher the combo you gather, the more bonus experience you receive. Later in the game the sword will also allow you to fly for short periods of time in any direction. Continually using the blade’s special powers will overheat it over time, damaging you. Another feature that will be presented by the game, is the parry move, allowing you to block any incoming attack and it has a chance of dazing the attacker. Damage done to stunned opponents is greatly higher than normal.
There are several types of enemies, the imps and giants being amongst the first kinds you will meet. At one point you will even meet zombies and their explosive relatives. Each enemy has by default a health bar beneath it, while the damage done to them will appear above their heads. This feature can be removed in the options as well as readjusting the rest of the HUD.
The HUD consists in 2 big elements. One of them acts as an all-in-one information, containing health (both in bar and number mode), gathered experience, type of the projectile that Fidget uses and the action bar which depletes when your companion uses her attacks. The bar can be filled back by doing melee damage.
The second part of the HUD is the map, which gives useful information about what you can find in it: The blue color pinpoints that there is a save location, the yellow one that there’s a shop, the green one shows that there are both a save point and a shop, while the red one pinpoints to a challenge trial, which, at the end of it, you will receive certain items. The white dot in the center of the map, presents whether there are secret items and chests to be found. If all the secrets have been found in that map, the dot gets filled.
The game is not completely linear, the possibility to take and accomplish side quests existing in the game. From gathering items to clearing out paths or taking messages to people that live on other sides of world. Most of the side quests will give a reward at the end of it, either in form of currency or valuable/unique items.
Overall, Dust: An Elysian Tail is an interesting combat game with a good game and quite a few humoring moments.
4. Shoot Many Robots
The first actual Run’n’Gun into the list, Shoot Many Robots is a 2D side-scroller blast-a-ton game. You play as a redneck who got his truck trashed by robots and the only things still left for you is your home sweet home, the RV and a lot of guns and clothes; talking about looking trendy while shooting.
Since the main character is a redneck your health kit is beer, and you can have 3 beers at you with the possibility to raise the limit amount through clothing accessories, but that will be covered later. The game comes with a leveling system, which unlocks access to new primary and secondary weapons as well as clothing. But besides unlocking them through the level, you also need to find’em through crates that are dropped by the enemies. Each crate acts as a coupon and allows you to purchase the item, providing you have the level and the needed nuts (the currency in this game); and no, not the fruits, but the mechanical nuts.
Most of the robots have a bug shape and behavior while a few other in a humanoid style that can shoot rockets towards you; don’t worry though, you can punch the rockets right back at the shooter. The last enemy type is the boss which will usually come pretty packed against you and killing him will take up a lot of ammo, but fortunately the primary weapon has unlimited ammo.
Weapons and accessories
As previously mentioned, there are 2 types of weaponry: The primary, where the ammo is infinite and consists mainly in pistols, shotguns, smg’s and rifles, while the secondary, though with finite ammo packs a lot more punch. They are usually seen as Light-machine guns, rocket and grenade launchers. Weapon can contain small perks like going full-auto on a burst fire smg if you button-mash the mouse.
Ammo can be restocked though through a special power-up or by reaching checkpoint where both your health and ammo are fully replenished. The power-ups are quite diverse, from ammo restock, to the increase of damage of either the weapon or fists, as well as faster walking speed or shooting only critical damage upon enemies. The purchase of the new items is made in your RV between each map playthrough.
“ Keep killing everything around you ”
There are 2 types of maps, the normal go from A to B while killing those of robots and surviving arenas which are a lot smaller and you have to survive an initial wave. Afterwards, you are introduced to bonus waves which get more and more difficult, but the payout is a lot greater which wave advanced. Each map is graded by up to 5 stars, stars being collected based on the amount of currency you raised in the map. Depending on your killing spree, you may get a multiplier bonus up to 5x bolts, so keep killing everything around you.
The clothing accessories come in 3 groups: Hats, shirts and pants. Each piece of clothing offers a different bonus or group of bonuses like more health, ammo, bullet and/or explosion damage, some new attacks and so on.
Each mission can be replayed, so if you get yourself some nifty items later you can return to the earlier missions to get a higher score; the leaderboards will let you know how far you are into the top.
Overal, Shoot Many Robots is a fun and fast-paced 2D shooter. One map run shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes, so there’s almost no need to invest time in this. The fun keeps going whenever you return to the game.