By Alice O'Connor on May 16th, 2014 at 9:00 am.
The revolver’s an ideal weapon for a roguelike-like: high damage, low capacity, slow to reload, and awfully cool. Three attributes that make it dovetail nicely with the caution, conservation, and permadeath one expects from the genre, plus a little radness as a treat. Heavy Bullets gives you a chunky revolver and six bullets–and only six. They’re special bullets you can collect and reuse, granted, but that’s little comfort when something’s between you and the five you sprayed in panic.
It has a simple goal: reach a security mainframe through eight procedurally-generated levels of malfunctioning defences and hostile creatures. Only the thrifty will survive.
Heavy Bullets runs on bullets and coins. Bullets kill enemies and enemies naturally drop coins. Coins go into vending machines dispensing health, extravagant single-use weapons, mysterious and useful items, and more bullets. You can’t afford everything, so you need to be careful and conservative. Six bullets is plenty if my aim is true, but wouldn’t a spare or two be nice? I think this weird gem I found will help somehow but I know for a fact that toolbox contains bombs, so which do I carry? A backpack may let me hold two items rather than one but it’ll cost all my cash, so can I play smart enough to survive at half-health?
There’s a little persistence through ATMs, where you can deposit and withdraw items and cash between games, or buy life insurance and wills to bequeath a bit to your next life. And you will have a next life. You’re only able to take a few hits, and encountering surprises like blocking enemies or obscuring grass for the first time may catch you out. Like many roguelike-likes, I imagine the first play through to the end will be a slow and tense affair, then you’ll realise it’s actually quite short (about half an hour once you know what you’re doing, I’d guess) and can get down to exploring oddities and generally showing off.
Heavy Bullets is flipping gorgeous too. Look at this video game! Bright colours, flat shading, chunky gradients, and a weird abstract indoor jungle, crumbs! It’s stunning. It sounds pleasant too, with music and bloopy noises from Samurai Gunn composer and top rapper/producer/poet Doseone.
I’ve only had time to play a little, busy bee that I am, so please don’t take this as a Wot I Think, but I do think you may want to consider a look at this video game. Early access discounts bring Heavy Bullets down to £5.94 on Steam and, curiously, £5.49 in the Humble Store. Supposedly it only needs a little balancing, a few bug fixes, and some small bits of content before it’ll officially launch.