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Heavy Burger blends up a weird 80s arcade smoothie today

Through the 80s and 90s Data East were never a star player in the arcade scene, but they were prolific. Burger Time, Heavy Barrel, Side Pocket – somehow all three of those arcade games (and many more) are combined in Heavy Burger, a bizarre theme-hopping shooter mashup that looks a bit like Smash TV meets Nidhogg. The game is for 1-4 players (local only, sadly) and developed by Lub Blub and International Headquarters. You won’t need a pocket full of 20p coins (or quarters, for Americans) to check out the trailer below, but it’d feel authentic.

While I’ve not had a chance to play Heavy Burger for myself, it seems straightforward game under its wild shifting aesthetic. Four palette-shifted chefs from old arcade game Burger Time are geared up with weapons from Heavy Barrel. Split into two teams and starting out on the Heavy Burger arcade machine, they fight twin-stick style. The goal is to carry a sack of money past your enemies to new arcade machines, with new obstacles, power-ups and gimmicks. Push the enemy back, bank the cash in the Bad Dudes machine at the end and your team is crowned the winners.

It all looks very silly and kinda fun. I never lurked in arcades much until the 90s, so most of these games are officially before my time, but thanks to the wonders of MAME I’m familiar enough with most of them. It seems a clever blend of themes and elements. Twin-stick retro team Nidhogg is not something I needed in my life, but I’m eager to try. As a cute aside, the Switch release of the game is also part of the Johnny Turbo’s Arcade line – a series of retro re-releases presented by the American mascot for the Turbografx-16 console, better known now as the Japanese PC Engine.

Heavy Burger is out now on Steam for £5.21/€5.93/$7.19 and published by 612 Games and Flying Tiger Entertainment.

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Dominic Tarason

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