Everyday Shooter: Points

Everyday Shooter makes one really big departure from standard practice in shooters: in most cases, you don’t get any points for shooting stuff. In fact, you never get points just for shooting stuff. At most, shooting stuff releases square chips that you can then collect for points, possibly wasting valuable time or putting yourself at risk in the process — and these chips are the only source of points in the game. But most things don’t even release chips, unless they’re destroyed as part of some kind of chain or combo.

You might wonder why I care. I’m seldom concerned with score, unless it affects game mechanics somehow. Which it does. Certain milestones yield extra lives, of course, and while they don’t come as fast as in Robotron, I always seem to manage to get a few. (The first extra life is at 200 points. I’m not sure how it goes after that. I typically seem to wind up with something over 2000 points per game, but I don’t think I get anywhere near 10 extra lives in the process.)

More important are the unlockables. See, your points build up from game to game, going into a pool that you can spend on stuff. There seem to be three categories of things you can buy: graphical effects that make no difference to game mechanics, additional starting lives, and the ability to play specific levels in isolation without going through all the previous levels to get to it. (For that last one, you have to actually reach the level normally before you can buy it.) Obviously the first few lives are must-haves, but the marginal price seems to go up exponentially. (And I do mean exponentially. That word gets misused a lot, but not on my blog.) I can foresee a point when the single-mode levels become a more attractive expenditure: when I’m having difficulty mastering the most-recently-reached level and want to practice it without wasting time on levels I’ve already mastered.

Because, in the tradition of the arcades of old, there’s no permanent progress within a game. When you run out of lives, all you can do is start over from the very beginning, which becomes tiresome. I suppose the buying of unlockables is an attempt at finding a compromise between this uncompromising design and the more modern approach, where progress is regarded as your right just for playing a lot. And really, it works pretty well, but I think I’d be happier if it worked a little faster.

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