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Heavy Bullets: Gimme Back My Bullets

Company: Devolver Digital

Heavy Bullets operates on a concept that is simultaneously alien and familiar. Over the indie renaissance of the last gaming generation, weíve seen a resurgence in the roguelike. You may not know the term too well, but I can almost guarantee that you know the type. Roguelikes pride themselves on two main features: randomly generated levels and situations and permadeath. Usually, they are exclusive to a specific type of game: most commonly role-playing or action/adventure. Games like The Binding of Isaac and the not-so-ironically titled Rogue Legacy keep the spirit of this very particular breed of experience alive.

That being said, thereís room for innovation. One of my absolute favorite games from the last few years is Spelunky, a roguelike platformer. And now here we are with Heavy Bullets: a roguelike shooter. And after spending more than my share of time with the Early Access version of the game on Steam, Iím pretty sure I love it. Between its bizarre polygonal aesthetic and its emphasis on thoughtful play, this is one to look forward to.

The concept is simple: get to the end of the level, descend to the next floor, rinse and repeat. But simple does not mean easy. Each level is swarming with enemies, and your ammunition is limited. So limited, in fact, that you are often forced to retrieve every bullet that your fire. But itís okay; bullets arenít destroyed when you fire them, and theyíre easy to spot. But there is a good deal of strategy involved.

Picture this: an enemy lies in wait around the corner, in a field loaded with turrets. You have one bullet. If you take a potshot at the gremlin in the field, you will be defenseless against the turrets. But if you get its attention and wait until itís near before blowing it away, you can just retrieve your bullet with no pressure.

Heavy Bullets rewards careful planning and attentive eyes. Every kill showers you with goodies, whether theyíre coins, extra bullets, or even special items. Vending machines can be found around each level, and they sell different commodities, including health potions, extra ammunition or explosives, and antidotes that can cure the venomous snake bite you received when wandering into the brushes. One of the services offered by one of the machines actually allows you to insure your earnings and bequeath them to your next life. Very much like in Rogue Legacy.

Devolver Digital seems to have a great eye for indie talent. Heavy Bullets is refreshing and innovative without being obtuse or pretentious. And in this landscape, thatís saying a lot.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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