Heavy Weapon: review

  • Format: PSN (version reviewed), Xbox Live, PC
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: Sony Online Entertainment
  • Developer: PopCap Games
  • Players: 1-4

We have a bit of a bone to pick with PopCap Games, as three generations of one of our families are currently so addicted to Bejewelled 2 that we’re considering putting them into rehab. It is with some trepidation then, that we cautiously approach Heavy Weapon.

In a world where the war against Russia has escalated and the US is on the verge of total surrender, all hope seems lost. But the president refuses to give in and calls on the last best hope the world has left. We were expecting to see Doctor Manhattan, but no. The last best hope is Atomic Tank and you are placed in control of it.

This is one of the calmer moments.

This is one of the calmer moments.

PopCap games all share a very simple premise that is usually backed-up with solid gameplay and Heavy Weapon is no different. You are placed in a variety of 2D environments as your tank and can move left or right as the stage camera automatically pans along. From both sides of the screen you will then be bombarded by an assortment of jets, helicopters, tanks and trucks as you plough through nineteen hectic levels either alone or with up to three friends (online or off).

The first little hurdle we came across with Heavy Weapon was getting used to using the right analogue stick to fire. You don’t need to press it, you simply need to point in a direction and Atomic Tank will twist a turret to face the same way and fire automatically. Once you get used to this things become relatively simple – at least for the first few missions. From the fourth mission onwards you will be swamped by more and more enemies with increasingly dangerous attacks, until eventually it feels like only a jittery monkey could possibly dodge everything on a screen resembling two angry firework display co-ordinators having an argument. Each level has a boss, but in comparison to some sections of the missions preceding them, they were all relatively easy.

In the same vein as many 2D space themed shooters from yesteryear, you are able to upgrade your tank. Along with components like Mega Laser that randomly drop from enemies, you will also be visited by an ally support plane which can drop upgrades to improve your shield, fire rate, or just give you a nuke to go wild with. At the end of each level you can also buy upgrades such as artillery cannons, missiles, protective orbs and so on.

Once you have faced the nineteen levels alone or with friends, Heavy Weapon offers a couple more modes to try. The first is Boss Blitz Mode, where you fight only the boss enemies one after the other. The second is Survival, which should be self explanatory. For completionist console players, there are also Trophies and Achievements to try for.

Heavy Weapon manages to offer a satisfying and fun time for up to four players, but doesn’t quite reach the dangerous levels of addiction that other PopCap games achieve. This is probably a good thing, as we think watching all those explosions for any great length of time could well have you seeing them in your sleep, but conversely it may not make it as appealing a purchase for someone looking for a good amount of playtime out of a buy like this.

A free trial is available for download and we urge anyone looking for a quick fix of fun to give it a try. This is especially true if you are looking at the console versions, as these appear to be the best value for money (at time of writing the PC version is £14.99, the Xbox Live version is £6.80 and the PSN version is £6.99).

If we haven’t sold you on trying the game then we will finish with just this: any game which pits you against a floating sky-base with Stalin’s face etched into the front of it firing missiles out of forehead cannons can’t possibly be bad.


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Written by Ian D

Misanthropic git. Dislikes: Most things. Likes: Obscure references.

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