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iPhone Game Review: Heavy Gunner 3D
      #36269 - 03/09/10 12:44 PM

iPhone Game Review: Heavy Gunner 3D
Reviewed by Austin

It is the year 3228 and the human race faces extinction at the hands of the Tarmat, an evil alien life force. You are the brave hero who mans the Integrated Combat Platform (ICP), a prototype turret. In Operation Maginot Line, the ICP was discovered useful and was used in the campaign against the Tarmat ultimately ending the war.

After the destruction of the Tarmat and the end of the war, a terrible truth is discovered; the Tarmat were protectors of the galaxy. The humans have been deceived by the Caturon. So with the end of one great threat comes another.

Gameplay

Heavy Gunner feels rewarding; you shred through hundreds of enemies as if they were nothing, but it still manages to be difficult. Throughout the 25-level campaign, two main types of objectives are used: Survival and Elimination. In a Survival mission, you must survive the allotted time, while in Elimination, you must destroy the given number of enemies. To help keep the gameplay fresh, there are a total of six weapons and two support equipments. Both these and your ICP are upgradeable and give you something to strive for. At one time you can have one primary weapon and one secondary, a support tool occupies a slot. Before each mission you can select your load out and purchase upgrades. Currency can be earned by completing missions and obtaining higher, longer lasting chains.



The campaign is divided into five sections each with five levels and can be played in normal, hard, and extreme difficulties. The last level of every section is a boss battle. Unfortunately, this is an area where the game falls short. The boss is the same in every section with the exception of more health. Boss battles are unusually easy and often don't last for more than a minute. Once the boss reaches around half health, it spawns about 15 drones every few seconds. Later bosses spawn large missiles, but they often spawn them too late to matter. After a chapter is completed, a survival map is unlocked. There are a total of 5 survival maps, one per chapter. The objective of these maps is simply to survive as long as possible. It starts off easy, but the difficulty ramps up quickly. Once the campaign is completed and you learn of the truth, there are ten extra missions remaining. These last ten bonus missions have no part in the story and simply lengthen the game.

In addition to the campaign and survival maps, known as Infinites, there is a Survival mode. Not to be confused with Infinites, the Survival mode is a series of 50 stages that slowly increase in difficulty. Here in lies another fault, there is no save function. This seems ridiculous. The average stage lasts around two to four minutes, and there are 50 stages. I highly doubt anyone would complete all 50 in one sitting. If you leave the game mode for any reason, it's back to stage one.




There are two settings for controls: tilt and touch. When using the tilt setting, you use the accelerometer to control your view by tilting your device. The touch setting seems impractical. With the touch setting, you drag the screen to move your view. It is impractical due to the fact that you control two guns at once each using their own stick.

The tilt does take few minutes to get used to, but if you ever have trouble, simply recalibrate or adjust the sensitivity. There is also the option to invert the y axis.

Heavy Gunner features its own leaderboards. There are boards for each Infinite map and the Survival mode. The Infinite boards show how long you lasted, and the total score you accumulated. The Survival board shows your total score, and what stage you made it to.

Graphics

The graphics in Heavy Gunner are impressive and may even rival the PSP. The effects and explosions are flashy and attention-grabbing, the weapons look nicely detailed, but the enemies look a little jagged. Regardless, the graphics surpass many other games on the iPhone.

On older devices there may be a slight dip in FPS. If you experience any sluggishness or skips, there is an option in the settings to change the priority to speed instead of quality.

Sound

The background music sounds great; the only problem is you will probably never hear it anyways. Unless you change the sound options, gunfire and explosions will cover it up.

The sound effects are pretty up to par. The gunfire, rotation of the machine gun, lock on sounds, etc. are all good. The exploding enemies could sound better though. It seems out of place as they sound like shattering glass.

iPod music is enabled. When playing your own songs, in-game music and sound effects are disabled.



Conclusion

Heavy Gunner is pretty much just mindless shooting, but in a good way. It feels great to demolish a couple hundred drones as if they were nothing. It stays fun without being too easy. With upgradable weapons, three difficulties, five survival maps, 50 achievements, and Survival mode, you have plenty of content for your $3.

Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics: 5 The graphics are some of the best on the iDevices.
Sound: 4 Not much to complain about other than enemies sound like glass when they explode.
Controls: 5 While they are a little hard to get used to, the customization and tweaking of the controls make up for it.
Gameplay: 5 It can get repetitive, but the variation in the weapons and different modes help keep the game interesting.

Playing Hints and Tips:

? In your first playthrough, it is recommended to max your default machinegun as soon as possible. Even though it?s your first weapon, it?s also possibly your best.

? To try to maintain your chain at all costs. A higher chain results in more points for upgrades, and a higher mission rank.


? Try aiming your guns in opposite directions to quickly eliminate targets.

? Always watch you radar and screen indicators. Red dots and indicators are attacking enemies. Being hit by an enemy breaks your chain and drastically reduces your mission rank.


App Facts:
Developer: Com2uS
Release Date: February 12, 2010
Price: $2.99
Buy App: iTunes App Store


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