Heavy Bullets – Light Action

I bought some games on Steam?! With all the existing games in my library, I saw there was a Roguelike sale and I bought some more games… ^^”
“But Ellie, what is a Roguelike?” I hear you ask. Well, a Roguelike is generally a game featuring randomly generated levels with a tough difficulty curve. When you die, you restart the game; though sometimes you are able to carry across some of your findings from the last adventure.
Sunless Sea, as recently reviewed by Khinjarsi, is a recent Roguelike example.

HB 01 - Title

Heavy Bullets was one of my purchases. I saw a “Squirty Play” Jim Sterling posted of this game on his youtube channel and knew I would have to play it at some point. Maybe it was the visuals or maybe it was the simple concept? Either way, this game rocks in my books. =D

HB 02 - Story
That is the story… Honest. Oh,  sorry about the bullet obscuring the words… They just keep falling over all the menus… ^^”

The concept is simple. The wildlife park “High Rise Hunting Grounds” has suffered a breach in security and you need to go and amend this. Unfortunately, the controls for doing such a thing are on the eighth floor and you need to descend through the wildlife park to get there. Just fight through the wildlife and find the hatch to the next floor.

HB 16 - Exit

That wouldn’t seem so bad if you were armed to the teeth with bombs and guns and the latest technology, and you are; sort of. In this world, bullets are reusable. They are so heavy, once they strike a surface, they fall to the ground and bounce around waiting to be picked up again. Due to this luxury, you only get six for your shooter; don’t shoot them all at once. =]
[ I did take a picture of a bouncing bullet but it lost something in a still image so I didn’t use it…. ]

HB 03 - Welcome
Five bullets in the chamber, one in stock. Oh, you have three grenades too! Good luck.

Bombs, knives, potions, life insurance, last wills and even more bullets are all available… If you can find them in the wilds. Or you could always just buy them through a number of vending machines, strewn across the park.
But where might you find these mad stacks of cash to afford such additions to your arsenal, I hear you ask. You get those from the wildlife itself; killing it, that is.

I’m going to start by discussing the visuals; they rock my world. For whatever reason, the game takes on a neon nightmare aesthetic. Blacks, blues, pinks and whites make up the world of Heavy Bullets and in its own way it is a masterpiece. With it’s tonal shifts up the walls and the stark, contrasting designs of the creatures, the game creates a very surreal and disorientating environment that, while not necessarily scary, is just unsettling enough to keep you on your toes.

HB 08 - Environment 01
Narrow corridors littered with occasional trees, shrubbery and rocks often lead to…
HB 10 - Environment 03
… large open rooms totally overgrown with foliage, providing perfect cover for more beasties!

The colour palette continues across to the monsters with their simplicity in colour as well as design. The first creature that you *should* encounter is the Imp. It is nothing more than a large, black ball with two neon pink eyes and a set of gigantic, electric-blue teeth. As soon as you can see it, it sees you. It screams for a moment and then it runs at you.

HB 14 - Monster 02
The picture would be better if the Imps didn’t move so quickly! =O

The wildlife park lives up to it’s name with with a host of other surreal, neon monstrosities lurking in wait. As far as I know, every enemy requires one shot, but the deeper you delve, the more accurate that shot needs to be. I have currently only ventured as deep as floor three, but I have encountered plenty of creatures to keep me thinking of new strategies.

HB 13 - Monster 01
An unassuming worm thing. Hides in shrubbery and leaps out at you. It wouldn’t be so bad if he didn’t have a chance of causing poison and completely wrecking your game?!

The game stays true to the Roguelike formula with it’s use of semi-randomised level construction. Each floor is divided by a number of doors which seem to mark different segments of design. I noticed a number of areas being repeated, though they were often in different area of a level and littered wit different enemies and items. While this could be seen as cheap game design, I feel it allows the player to gain an understanding for the geography of the hunting ground through repetitive sessions.

It is worth noting that throughout play, you may discover key cards which can grant access to armouries; areas with lots of normal items or some super-special gear. By learning the builds of the level segments, you can start to figure out where the armouries are generated and plan ahead. =D

HB 04 - Vending 01
An Ammo Vendor; Safety doesn’t come cheap…

As I said earlier, there are a number of vending machines in the Hunting Grounds which can provide you with all manner of items, equipment and upgrades. These take the form of Medical Suppliers, Weapon Vendors, Banks and Item Stores.
Each machine offers four options, with the exception of the bank which has four root options that open into further choices. these four choices vary between the four main vending machines, but also between each individual machine.
For example, one Medical Supplier may offer Healing, a Red Potion, a Gold Potion and an Antidote while the next Medical Supplier may only have a Red Potion, an Antidote, Speed Pills and “SOLD OUT”, so you have to remember what you want from where, or just hold out for a machine with the item you want.

HB 05 - Vending 02
A Bank; You can store an item you wish to save between runs as well as invest in life insurance and last wills.

Of course, if you are short on cash and can’t afford anything but you have some spare grenades, you could always just blow up the Vending Machine…
But that would be very reckless?!
On the other hand, you never know what you might get; hooray for surprises! =D

HB 06 - Vending 03
You may damage all the contents and just get gold… Other times, you may get one of the listed items! Regardless, you make a mess! =D

But with all these upgrades, which can be bought through vending machines or found in Armouries, you can increase your overall stats. These are fairly rudimentary due to the simple and elegant design of the game, but they are all beneficial in their own ways.
Stats such as Speed and Reload are fairly self-explanatory, but you also have stats like Bullet Magnet and Gold Magnet. This is essentially due to the weird world of Heavy Bullets giving you a natural attraction field to things that you like. Once you shoot your bullets or kill something, the Gold and Bullets hop around. As you move closer, they bounce towards you. Increasing these stats means you can stand further away, allowing you to stay hidden from the wildlife while preparing yourself for another round of combat.
Backpack allows you to carry different items, while Carry allows you to carry multiple instances of the same item.
Discount reduces the cost of items across all Vending Machines and Life Insurance determines how much of your money carries over to your next character when you [inevitably] die.

HB 15 - Stats

If it wasn’t apparent, I really like this game. It is quick to pick up and play and you can get a few games played in an hour or so. At the end of every level you have the option to save and quit, so you don’t have to commit to a full run through like some other Roguelikes in the genre.
The visuals are good and the sound design is simple but elegant. The monster all have a distinct sound so you know when you have been spotted and the items all chime as they bounce around, so are always aware if you have missed a pickup.
My only criticism would be the steep learning curve on what all the items do. The game doesn’t introduce you to anything, it just drops you in and lets you figure it out. While I don’t mind this, I know plenty of gamers who would be put off by this aspect which is the only reason I mention it.

If you wish to indulge in the unique take on a First Person Shooter, I couldn’t recommend Heavy Bullets highly enough. It mixes up the genre and blends the Roguelike elements elegantly and keeps you going for “one more try” before putting it down.

Heavy Bullets : Happy Trunco

HB 18 - Game Over

Ellen would like to think she is getting the hang of this screen-shotting malarky. Though assigning shift to throw grenades did cause some issues at first. =P
She took all the screenshots herself, but the visuals are provided by Devolver Digital through Steam. Ellie wishes she could surround herself in visuals like those; neon shades light her life up. =]

Last played, but not completed, on 10/05/15 for Mac.

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