Heavy Weapon: Atomic Tank Review

Having already released on the Xbox LIVE marketplace a mere 2 years ago, Sony Online Entertainment have finally decided to bring Pop Cap games’ Heavy Weapon experience to the PlayStation Network. Pop Cap games are known for their flash orientated games, which is probably why SOE took a long time to decide whether or not to bring Heavy Weapon to the PSN, but they have, so let’s check it out!

Heavy Weapon is a duel side scrolling game where the idea is simple. The left hand analogue stick controls the horizontal direction of the tank, and the right analogue stick controls the turrets attached to your tank. Wave the right analogue stick frantically in a bid to stop incoming fire and wiggle the left stick left and right to evade any incoming fire that you didn’t manage to vanquish with your right stick. It sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is. In fact it’s super easy and to put it blunt, it’s one of these games where you go into auto pilot and don’t really need to think about what you are doing. What do you have to do though?

Well the aim of the game is simple. Defeat the Red Star (aka the enemy) who has spread over 9 different countries by destroying anything and everything that’s in your way. The Red Star will throw everything they have at you over the 9 various different countries including tanks, fighter jets and hot air balloons that explode into bad stuff that kills you. Throughout the game you can collect power-ups which become crucial to completing a mission, especially in the latter stages. When you get to around mission 5 it becomes a little trial and error to find the correct combination of power-ups that will suit the mission at hand. There are 6 different Power-ups, each with 3 different levels of power, which adds attachments to your tank like extra rockets, a laser gun or flak cannon. You might also want to use some of those acquired points on the defence orbs which will help you through the mission. During each mission a support chopper will also fly by and drop of some supplies, which range from a speed boost to extra missile rockets. It’s crucial to pick them up and maximise your chances of completing a mission. Loosing all your shields or being demolished by one of the bigger bombs will result in the frustrating death and starting the mission again.

Once you have completed the original 9 missions you move onto a further 9 missions, which take place over the already completed 9 countries. This allows you to unlock and pimp your tank out with all possible power-ups and goodies. It’s worth mentioning that although the 9 countries contain different backdrops, the scenario of each mission is the same; kill everything in sight and survive while moving from one end of the map to the other. It does dramatically get harder and harder in the latter stages but that’s to be expected, unless you expect to waltz through the game.

Moving away from the main single player mode you can play survival mode with an offline friend. As it suggests survival mode is all about surviving for as long as possible. This game is timed and with time comes more and more difficult enemies. It becomes a little frantic but here you can use, once collected, your nuke bombs to take care of the onslaught of enemies. Survival mode is great fun, and with there being an trophy to ‘survive 12 minutes’ it becomes a little tense and exciting when you are approaching that target, especially if you have no more lives left.

Bored of single player and survival? Well strap up and take on all the bosses in the game in one mega Boss Blitz mode. This game mode can only be played once you have completed the single player and it allows you to take on each boss one after each other. This mode does provide a challenge to gamers and I’d be impressed if anyone managed to get through them all in one go.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the online side of things. While the core mechanics stay the same you can jump into two different game modes; War Party and Arms Race, both of which are co-op only. Arms Race is a co-op copy of Survival mode where the last remaining player is declared the winner. War Party can last for ages, as long as one player is still alive the game continues. Now that might sound pretty good, in fact it is pretty good when you are playing, but that’s the thing. In order to play these games you need fellow online gamers to join in on the fun, however no-one seems to be online at the time of writing this review. This could be down to a number of factors including that about 30 minute spells of the game is perfect to avoid the game becoming boring and repetitive so maybe gamers just aren’t online for long enough? If you have friends who have the game it’s best to play that way and avoid disappointment.

Graphics and audio haven’t really been stretched here. The game would not look out of place in the flash directory of someone’s desktop computer, while that may not be a bad thing, the game certainly isn’t known for its graphical edge. As for the audio, the only soundtrack you’ll get here is that of eclectic rock songs. It’s annoying that you cannot use the PS3’s in game custom music as that would make the in game action even more fun.

Overall Heavy Weapon may not contain a deep and compelling storyline or an outstanding online option but it certainly provides arcade fun. For £6.99 you can’t really complain and it will certainly keep you occupied for those winter nights that lie ahead.


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