Potential is a horrible word in my opinion, and I hate it when I have to use it. It is even worse when it has been used with me as the target. “Well Torbjörn you certainly have potential but…” At times it is the word that pops up when I think about a game, and prepare to get a review going. Heavy Mach 2 has got loads of potential, loads of interesting ideas going on, and feels like a freshly baked pie in some regards. The first hour I played it I felt that Heavy Mach 2 was awesome. Then it all got samey, and the game turned into a grinding marathon. But still it has got so much potential.
Heavy Mach 2 combines direct controls, rpg-elements in a overhead point of view. You control a heavy mech, sorry Heavy Mach, by simply tapping where you want it to go. You can also draw a path for the machine, and at the same time tapping a nearby enemy to target it. Double tapping makes it dash to avoid incoming bullets and missiles. The controls are spot on, and it is a real joy controlling the Heavy Mach.
Enemies spawn, and attack you when you are nearby. Tanks, turrets and evil machines are all out to get you. The AI is not too clever, and you can avoid them instead of engaging them if you are low on health. Something I found a bit annoying is the fact that the enemies at times spawn near you when you arrive at a new map. This makes escaping to another map when low on health a risky strategy. Spawning tanks feels strange as well, I can accept goblins spawning but 10 ton tanks seems strange. If the enemies has got the power to transport tanks and turrets like that they should be able to swat you like a bug.
You get your missions at the headquarters, and most missions are about killing things or collecting things. There is little to no story connecting events, and this is where the game starts to deteriorate. Visually Heavy Mach 2 looks like an rpg gone mech. I also get the feeling that the game wants to be a rpg with dropped loot, upgrade system and experience adding up to new levels. With a lack of story, decent missions and character development the game gets old quickly. The only reason to play it is to buy upgrades for your Heavy Mach. Reading on the App Store page that there are endless missions just makes my heart sink.
The customization of the Heavy Mach is really fun as you really see the effects of your new weaponry on the battlefield. Weapons, quicker legs, better armor, and bots that both help you with firepower and collecting loot are available. Repair kits, massive attack powers and airlifting all cost money as well making grinding a must to be able to get those legs you always wanted. Airlifting was included in the 1.1 update, and it makes a lot of walking redundant. Now you can simply airlift back to base instead of walking 5 maps blasting weak enemies gaining almost no money or experience. The airlift costs a lot of dough, and I think it should have been free instead.
The graphics in Heavy Mach 2 is really good, and the battlefield maps feel varied and realistic. It is on par with the best graphics found for real time strategy games found on the iPhone. Graphical effects like smoke and weapon fire make me want to go for that extra kill. Enemies are well presented, and the tanks have a lot of small details such as vents visible on their hulls. The HUD contains all the information you need such as the minimap. You can also change weapons midlevel using the HUD.
Music and sound effects suit the game, and reinforce the battlefield mayhem. The game fades out your own music.
Heavy Mach 2 tries too much in my opinion to span too many genres. It could be a line drawing take on the dual stick iDracula/MiniGore survival shooter. It could also be a rpg featuring tanks and mechs. The hybrid it is now isn’t working too well, and I think it needs to either go for the survival action gameplay or add a decent storyline with actual character you can learn to care about. It looks terrific, sound great and controls really well and you will certainly get an hour of fun out of it before the notion of unfulfilled potential shows up. Heavy Mach 2 is not a bad game, but rather an okay game that could have been great.