Heavy Mach is a linear shoot-em-up in the likes of Metal Slug. Instead of flesh and bone, your little critter is a tank wrapped in steel. Published by IndieAn, this game has been in the Top 25 charts in Singapore’s iTunes App Store for the past few weeks, if not months since its release.
On first glance, the game seems pretty slick. A horizontal tilt navigation system made for easy movement of your character, while an experience system afforded me with a degree of customization. I’ve always believed that a good attack is a good defense, so my level 10 robot was upgraded to Movement +3, Armor +3 and Attack +5. However, capping it at 10 levels took out all the fun once I completed Mission 3.
The missions are structured roughly the same way for each level – wave after wave of minions, followed by a mid-level boss and a tougher end-level boss. Weapon variety is present and relatively straightforward. Apart from the default single-shot cannon, there’s the multi-shot cannon, double-shot grenade launcher, heavy-hitting rocket/bazooka (and I might be missing one weapon or two).
A straightforward way to breeze past most levels is to focus your upgrades on your main cannon and keep moving your tank. The AI appeared to be that of a 5-year old – it tracks your movements and fires its shots at where you were last on the screen. Such a logic typically works fine, except that its scanning refresh rate was pretty low. Jump, double jump and move all the time, and you’ll be safe.
Helicopters and bosses (mid/end-level) tend to drop weapons/ammo, so be sure to pick those up when they appear. I rarely found myself out of ammo though…
As of Mission 4, boss fights weren’t that difficult either, except for this bugger as seen on top. This boss launches a series of 3 rockets that come raining down around you – sounds scary, but again, easy to evade as long as you keep moving.
At the end of the day, this is one game that failed to keep my attention for long. Decent graphics, good concept, but more thought could have been put into the upgrade system, and the AI of the enemies. Replayability was low, and this game falls into the large list of apps that aren’t sticky. Its survival mode is a good shot at raising the bar on this count, but the fights come across as not being challenging enough.