With the war against the Red Star Forces almost lost, there's just one last weapon on hand to save the day. The atomic tank, a mobile power-house that travels across flat terrain, is prepared to save the day, and you're piloting the mission.
Heavy Weapon is essentially a 2D shooter. You move across the base of the screen with the left stick and direct missiles, lasers and general advanced weaponry with the right stick. And that's pretty much all there is to Heavy Weapon. You'll shoot down a variety of aircrafts, missiles and general bad eggs along your journey through 10 or so locations in the single-player campaign, powering up your tank after each mission. This is where Heavy Weapon really shines. There's a constant sense of progression because at the end of each mission you're individually selecting the power-ups that suit your playing style best. And while Heavy Weapon is at base a simple 2D dual-joystick shooter, it really continues to make you feel bad ass.
Your tank can also be powered up by helicopters that fly over during missions. You have to try and avoid shooting at these helicopters because they drop helpful powerups such as shields and Nukes as you play. Nukes are activated with the R2 button and act as a means of clearing the screen of unwanted threats.
Each level culminates in a bossfight - which usually break down into holding the right stick towards the threat and unleashing your stored Nukes collection. Still the boss fights are well animated and give a real sense of scale. One boss has you take on an enormous demolition wheel.
The game has a throwback look and feel to it. There's almost some nostalgia in here for fans of the Metal Slug series. It's not really to our taste however. The whole game looks a bit like a well designed web-based Flash shooter - which isn't exactly a compliment if you were wondering. The sound is also woeful, drawing on Team America-style riffing. It's worth noting that people will totally dig the kitsch presentation in Heavy Weapon — it just personally wasn't for us.
Completing the first 10 unique levels unlocks a futher 9 missions. They're the same levels but harder, so it really stretches on the repetition factor. Still if you enjoyed the first 10 missions, you probably won't mind playing through them again. As for other single player modes, Boss Blitz allows you to fight all the bosses in order, whereas Survival Mode is all about lasting impossibly tough scenarios for as long as possible. All your stats are tracked by leaderboards so you can compare scores and times with friends, which is neat.
Online is actually pretty good too - when you can find a game - opting for a co-operative survival mode. The netcode is excellent so you'll notice little to no lag here. If you plan on picking up Heavy Weapon, we'd recommend you get a few buddies to buy it with you, so you know you'll have people to play with in the, admittedly decent, online mode.
It's not that Heavy Weapon is a bad game. It's actually pretty decent. It's just that it lacks any real panache. There's fun to be had. It's just that it's the safe kind of fun.