Mommy’s Best Action Pack is a collection of 4 action games, made by Mommy’s Best Games. The Action Pack includes: Shoot 1UP, Game Type, Weapon of Choice, and Explosionade. Originally released on Xbox 360, they are now available together on Steam.
Shoot 1UP is a shoot-em-up style game, where you collect an army of additional ships that you all control concurrently. As you gain more ships, you can shoot in more directions and get a wider and stronger main gun. In addition, you can control their distance from each other, to control how you shoot. This concept, overall, works very well. And alongside good enemy design, interesting backgrounds, and responsive controls, make Shoot 1UP a blast to play. What’s even better is that Shoot 1UP includes a 2-player local cooperative mode, too, where you and your partner both play through the levels together. It can both great for working together and competitive, to see who can finish the level with the most ships.
There was one minor complaint, however. You keep a steady stream of bullets by having multiple ships. In order to shoot a large central blast, instead of each ship individually shooting, you have to have your ships a certain distance from each other. However, if you get too close to the edge of the screen, this would often push the ships out of formation, causing disorientation and a loss of your main weapon temporarily. This didn’t become a big problem, but was a minor annoyance while playing. Ultimately, the game was great fun to play, and had plenty of content and difficulty modes to be enjoyed for quite some time.
Game Type is another shoot-em-up style game. However, it struggles more than the prior game. While Shoot 1UP has a unique gameplay feature, Game Type is a simple single-player traditional shoot-em-up, with difficulty to match. Unfortunately, it lacks the difficulty modes that helped make Shoot 1UP so re-playable. It also lacked many of the great enemy designs, opting instead for the traditional ones that you’d tend to expect. In spite of these flaws, however, the game still works fairly well. Game Type would likely appeal to the shoot-em-up fan, with quirky enemies and stages, and higher level of difficulty.
Weapon of Choice is a side-scrolling shooter, similar to older games like Contra or Vectorman. The difference is that Weapon of Choice lets you choose from different characters with unique abilities to play as. In addition, you don’t lose the game unless you lose every character you can pick. Weapon of Choice also equips every character with a machine that allows them to grab onto walls and climb them. The mechanic makes traversing levels easy, but can often attach itself to things you may not have intended to attach to. This can be confusing and disorienting. Also back are the difficulty levels from Shoot 1UP, which adds great variety and allows newcomers to come in and learn the ropes.
Weapon of Choice has a great 2D drawn art style, and its levels look great. However, it also felt somewhat empty. Enemies were few and far between, which is unfortunate for a shooter. While it looked great, it could have looked better with better enemy placement. The music is very hit-and-miss. The soundtrack is entirely metal/rock in style. So, how much you enjoy it will hinge on how much you like that type of music. Personally, I found the music to be a bit grating and distracting overall. It gave the game a “badass” sort of atmosphere, but that’s not often how I felt while playing. Overall, the result is an experience that feels unpolished, but may be fun for the core fans of side-scrolling shooters.
The final game of the pack was Explosionade. Explosionade is another sidescroller shooter. However, unlike Weapon of Choice, levels are self-contained. They are small “screens” of challenges. In Explosionade, you play as a mech, that has a shield, bomb, and can jump, hover, and shoot. You can also play cooperatively with another player or solo. Just like in Shoot 1UP, this gives the game a great sense of replay-ability. Explosionade’s levels are compact, which seems to reward more puzzle solving than just going in guns blazing. This is a nice change of pace, and keeps the game interesting for quite a while.
While the graphics aren’t especially pretty here, they certainly aren’t bad. What’s better, though, is the soundtrack. While there are some passable rock-style songs, like in Weapon of Choice, the majority are a more electronic style. These electronic songs fit very well, and aren’t intrusive at all. Overall, Explosionade is a great, fun twist on the side-scrolling shooter genre. I had a lot of fun playing it.
Mommy’s Best Action Pack, as a whole, is a good bundle of games. Both Shoot 1UP and Explosionade are great twists on their shooter genres, while Game Type and Weapon of Choice are games that will likely be enjoyed by veterans of the genres. The pack has a lot to enjoy, and is definitely worth the price of admission.
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