Heavy Mach 2 in Review – Putting the heavy in top down shooters

Heavy Mach 2 is a sequel to Heavy Mach (TMA Review) – a critically acclaimed side-scroller that went live about a year ago. Heavy Mach featured solid gameplay and an interesting interface using the accelerometer to control horizontal movement. At the same time it’s not simple matter of evolution – Heavy Mach 2 has been reworked from scratch and it would be completely fair to say that the only thing in common between it and its older sibling is its parent developer: IndieAn.

Heavy Mach 2 is a classic open world top down shooter. The world is broken down to a number of square maps connected by transition points. And as with any shooter, all goals boil down to eliminating everyone – or at least a subset of everyone. Thankfully all of this is watered down by an extensive upgrade system and a dose of leveling up.

Heavy Mach 2 is broken down in 2 main parts – the short periods of safety at the base and the long periods of destroying everything out there. At your home base you can pick up/turn in missions, buy/sell stuff and equip your robot. Haven’t I said already? In Heavy Mach 2 you control a giant walking war machine. Hail all you MechWarrior fans. I am pleased with the amount of RPG elements thrown into the game. Many advertised “RPGs” have less. You can equip up to 2 weapons as well as change bodies, walkers, shields and special weapons. There’re also slots for up to 3 drones to help you gather stuff and eliminate the baddies and a number of quickslots for one use items like repair, nukes, airstrikes, etc.

Once you leave the safety of your base, you’re immediately thrown in the middle of combat. And here’s where the game really start to surprise. The developers have decided to avoid the common D-Pad style controls and instead implemented Flight Control-like mechanics: you touch a spot to set a waypoint or touch-and-drag to set a path. You can also tap an enemy to target it and your mech will automatically attack it. The best news is that this mechanic works great! Finally you are released from having to stupidly repeatedly tap the enemy to attack it and can concentrate on plotting the movement to best avoid enemy fire or strategically use the special attacks.

Heavy Mach 2 is very fun and destroying the enemies is fun as hell. The quests have rewards and enemies leave spare parts to turn as quest items or just sell at the shop. On the other hand, it gets annoying in later quests that you have to go through a lot of previously cleared levels with respawned enemies just to get to the area where the quest is to be completed and back. The relatively slow pace of the robot really kills a lot of the fun. Some kind of quick-access to areas would go a long way to making the game more user friendly. Also the fact that enemies are simply called E_Tank_01, E_Turret_02, etc. feels like a proof of concept game, not a release title.

The graphics of the game are quite good with excellent performance on older iPhones. And while the enemies are drawn with a significant amount of detail, your own mech seems to almost be almost a blob. I feel the developers could try to give some more love to the one object that will be on the screen 100% of the gameplay time.

Heavy Mach 2 is an excellent title that went a long way from its predecessor. The customization system is so extensive that it would make any RPG gamer proud. The controls and mechanics of the game go as far as to providing a whole new layer of tactics to the game – a feat that makes Heavy Mach 2 stand out from the myriad mediocre action titles on the AppStore.

With this I declare Heavy Mach 2 officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Heavy Mach 2 Developer: IndieAn
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req: 3.1.2
Price: $2.99 App Size: 44.6 MB
  • Extensive customization system
  • Excellent performance
  • An original interface
  • Fun and satisfying gameplay
  • Frustrating on later levels in getting to remote areas
  • Enemy naming reminds of a proof-of-concept title

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Rat-a-tat-tat! Shooter games are in TMA’s house!

A project manager in a major telecommunications supplier, an iPhone junkie and lately - a TMA editor. Love long walks on the beach and my wife, who is the most beautiful girl on the face of this planet. You can also follow me on twitter for all things iPhone and project management (and some personal stuff as well): http://twitter.com/ChiffaNe

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