“Heavy Bullets” is one of those games that takes about 30 minutes before you set the controller aside and ask yourself, “Why am I playing this?” It appears interesting at first, with its vibrant level design and cautious gameplay, but its unfortunate repetition and not-so-interesting enemies ultimately lead to disappointment.
Developed by Terri Vellmann, “Heavy Bullets” is a rogue-like first-person shooter challenging players with attempts at eight randomly generated levels. Enemies lurk around almost every corner. All that is needed to complete a level is to reach the “Exit” door on the other opposite side of the stage.
Odds are, you’ll never make it to the final stage — yet alone pass it. But that’s okay because after making it to level four a few times, you’ll probably move on to something else.It’s not that “Heavy Bullets” is too hard. Decent aim and a ton of patience will surely (er, eventually) lead you to victory. The thing is, it’s just not worth it. Permadeaths are followed by a tiring sigh and a dash discouragement, gradually picking at your motivation to try again.
Other than items gathered along the way, players’ only protection against the wildlife and obsolete security turrets is a revolver with six reusable shots. This means after a shot is fired, you’d be wise to search for the bullet because that’s pretty much all you’re going to get. It’s possible to pick up a rocket or knife every now and then, but items are also randomly generated, so they’re not exactly reliable. Luck plays a small part in “Heavy Bullets”; these said items can make your playthrough easier, but as long as you keep at least one shot in the chamber of that little silver revolver, you won’t need much else.
Life Insurance and Last Wills can be bought in vending machines that occasionally pop up, which allow all your money, ammo and items to carry on to your next playthrough. You can also purchase health potions and ammo in certain dispensers. Enemies are sometimes hidden, but once spotted, they’re attacks are predictable and easily avoided; additionally, all foes are one-hit kills. While the controls and character constantly tempt you to try a run-and-gun approach, slow, cautious movement is key to survival. You never know how many creatures you’ll encounter in the next room.
Because the game performs poorly on all aspects, though, “Heavy Bullets’” target audience is unclear. Sure, it’s a mediocre game when you throw it all together, but is it a game for first- person shooter lovers? Nope. What about fans of dungeon-crawlers? Eh. Probably not.
The game’s only objective is to reset the malfunctioning security system. Basically, the turrets that are attacking you should be on your side, and you need to reach the security mainframe to restore order.
Don’t be fooled, though; there isn’t an actual story. This little tidbit essentially serves as an excuse for the developer to make a random game. You’ll probably never once feel as if there is a bigger purpose other than surviving for eight levels, although this isn’t exactly a bad thing. Even if those first 30 minutes are entertaining, “Heavy Bullets” is still a relatively dull experience with not much to offer… especially when looking at the plethora of indie titles you’re better off playing.