Jun 8, 2010

Heavy Gunner 3D

One idea I've tossed about for a great game on the Android (and the iPhone) is a BeachHead style game. If you haven't played it, essentially you're in a bunker on a beach and troops are invading. The version I've played at Chuck E. Cheese's has a set of goggles that you look through and control is done by spinning around (yes, you look like a fool while playing) and tilting up and down to aim and then pressing buttons to fire machine guns and bombs. Unfortunately, the motion detection in a Droid wouldn't be up to that task based on how well it tracks in Google's Sky Map application. Enter Heavy Gunner 3D...

Heavy Gunner 3D appeared in the Android Market last month and has been on my try list primarily because it's a Com2Us title. I really like their HomeRun Battle 3D game and have a respect for their work (despite some recent issues reported with the Android version of HomeRun Battle 3D). The screenshots made me think it was some 3D space flight shooter... close, but not quite.

Heavy Gunner 3D puts you in the role of defending your home world against the alien hordes. And you have two guns that you control with left and right virtual thumb pads. The aliens then appear and you have to blast them out of the sky one by one. One of my initial complaints was that lack of any instructions, but they are there buried in the Extras menu.

The graphics on this game are great in Com2Us style as is the audio. No question that this is a professionally developed title. The more interesting aspect of the game is the controls. You can choose to use the accelerometer to move around and scan the sky for aliens in conjunction with your radar or the touch screen. I found the accelerometer mode to be the much more interesting experience... besides, I want to save the touch screen for blasting. As stated each gun has its own virtual joypad to control it and they also aim independent of one another... each has its own on-screen site so you can double up the fire on one baddie or pick on two at the same time.

The game has three difficulty levels in a campaign mode, but also offers what is effectively a free play mode where you try and survive to specific lengths of time. I spent most of my time in the campaign mode. As you play you are able to upgrade your weapons and there's a dazzling array of armaments to choose from.

Problems? The game isn't without fault. At times it becomes a bit jerky, but I really think that has more to do with other apps running in the background. I also got my usual SportsTap crash during the game which has become a sign that "this game is really taxing the phone you have" and is more of a badge of honor for a game title in my mind (I only wish I could find a good replacement for SportsTap). The game also crashed outright on me once leaving my audio clicking away with gunfire while everything else froze. Finally, it took me SEVERAL tries to get the game to succeed at doing it's initial data download trying over both WiFi and 3G.

In summary, this is about as good of a Beachhead experience as I've had on a PC or mobile device. And at $2.99 this is a good deal of a game. I'm also really pleased to see Com2Us start offloading data to my SD card which starts becoming a moot point once Android 2.2 is widely available this time next year (yes, sarcasm). If you'd like to see more the iPhone trailer is below and it's pretty much a mirror image of the Android version. 4/5 stars.



    Having an HTC Hero for about 5 months now, I've downloaded a bunch of free apps, and I'm looking for a game that would actually have a little more to it and am willing to pay for it. A friend of mine had this game installed, and after doing some quick searches (which lead me here), I thought I'd take a chance on this one.

    Big mistake.

    Tried to find it in the Market - not there. Tried to go to thier website on my desktop - only shows download info for iPhone. When to thier site on my phone, saw icons for this game but when I clicked on the Buy Now link, I got an error. Even tried putting in the market URL - market://details/?id=com.com2us.HB3D, no luck.

    After wasting about 20 minutes trying to give them money, I quit. Not going to deal with this company again, and will wait until I get another recommendation before I even try. Com2Us - Good luck with the dwindling iPhone market share, it seems to be all you’re good at.

  2. While your frustration is on target I think your blame is misplaced.

    My review of Glyder 2 from Glu Mobile had a few people saying they could not find it in the Market. Apparently there's some sort of flagging system (and a dev that has submitted an app could probably shed more light on this) such that apps are screened for users. Likewise, I'm guessing the links from Com2US's website are "market:" style links that will only work on an Android phone (which is annoying when browsing from a PC) or it's, once again, because the game isn't flagged as available for your phone.

    Google needs to fix both the screening issue and the market links issue. It would be nice to know that I'm not crazy when I can't find a game in the market when it is really there even if it might not work on my hardware. Likewise, it would be nice if 'market:' style links would work on a PC ala Apple Store links.

    All in all, though, who to blame doesn't matter. It's when these issues are going to be fixed. Google needs a better PC presence with their market (showing just a sample of apps is NOT good enough). And games shouldn't be completely hidden from me even if you (Google) suspect I can''t run your app because I just got a new phone that wasn't around 6 months ago when the app was submitted.

    - Alan