The title of Heavy Gunner 3D says it all: you control dual ammo-guzzling weapons to fend off incoming aerial alien aggression. While firing two turrets at your leisure sounds badass, the game’s repetitive level structure and lack of variety will make you lose interest before too long.
Heavy Gunner’s biggest draw is the 360-degree view, which is a nice take on arcade gallery shooters. This means that enemies swarm around you at all angles. A radar at the bottom of the screen shows you which directions enemies are coming from. The visuals are top-notch, with high quality 3D environments and enemy models. Even when multiple swarms of aliens and ships hover overhead, we didn’t experience a single frame rate drop on our 3GS.
As good as it looks, Heavy Gunner’s control scheme is only partly effective. You can turn by swiping or tilting the screen, the latter being a much more intuitive choice. Shooting is controlled through dual analog sticks, with each having their own crosshairs that show where the bullets will fly.
Unfortunately, turning doesn’t feel fast enough. Many times a swarm will overwhelm you from behind before you can move into position.
Well equipped to take on E.T.
Level variety is one of the keys to making a great arcade shooter, and here Heavy Gunner comes up short. In the 35-mission story, each level consists of either surviving against waves for a certain amount of time, killing a certain number of enemies, or taking down a boss that never changes throughout the entire game. At least there are few twists, such as having your radar flicker on and off.
Between missions, you can upgrade your weapons and change the two you want to take into battle. The weapons, ranging from rapid-fire machine guns to missile launchers and support tools, have a lot of potential for different strategies, but since you can’t see the mission briefing before engaging in combat, it seems to defeat the purpose.
Travel to faraway planets and eradicate life forms different from you.
Enemy variety is also scarce in Heavy Gunner. Almost every enemy is some form of pencil-tip looking creature, and the only difference between them is how many hits they take to kill. In the last few levels, you’ll meet a different type of this species that can teleport to another part of the screen, but it’s just not enough to make a difference.
Heavy Gunner starts off quite easy. Then later, as you progress onwards to higher difficulty levels, there is simply too much going on at once. This creates an overwhelming experience that most gamers won’t enjoy too much. Completing the game unlocks a survival level for each of the five game worlds. Online leaderboards do boost the value of this mode, but not enough to keep it fun for long.
The action-heavy concept of Heavy Gunner may be appealing to some, but we can’t recommend it in its current state. It could use a lot more variety to keep you from tiring out. This is one colony that you should just let the aliens overtake.