Heat Signature – Short Review: PC Version

Aka. Warm Hancock.

I was keen to play Heat Signature the first time I come across it. It’s everything I thought it would be and ooh I’m bored of it now.

Yes. I know. One of those reviews. Please dismiss the following coherent thoughts.

I’m not sure when the boredom hit me* and I’m fully aware that I’m being wildly unfair to Heat Signature. You quickly recognise that this is a very good game.

Sexy time check – It was after 2 hours. Nice one Steam.

Hey, let’s not get bogged down with all that. I’ll tell you all about the initial fun times… After a brief tutorial you’re thrown into the action from a top down prospect, as a little gentleman. Please admire the following picture.

Heat Signature

Nice little mashing a gentleman’s brains in… as a naughty little gentleman.

As the little gentleman you can then jump in your starship, zoom the view out with the mouse and hold the mouse button to boost in any direction. The following picture will, no doubt, be informative and please your eyes.

Heat Signature

Nice bit of space. Please note the docking attempt by said little gentleman.

You can then take missions from your handy base of operations, before excitingly attaching yourself to the nearest unfriendly starship to take part in some sweet plundering. The missions vary from rescuing some chump, or stealing a bit of tech… or even… a little bit of light murder.

The mechanics are a tad tricky at first as you’ll have to use your flighty craft to negotiate into to the nearest airlock, before bursting out into the scene in whatever manner you see fit. That often involves high speed wrench smacking action, or even taking pot shots with a pistol. Holding your weapon ready slows time down which is very lovely. Naturally, guns are noisy, and alarms are even nosier, so you may want to hold off the loud approach.

To the games everlasting credit the ships you infiltrate hugely vary and the whole package is slick and I can’t recall coming across many ‘orrible bugs. The missions themselves get progressively harder, as you’d expect, and to keep up you’ll need to employ a selection of toys. Can’t get past that turret? Use a gadget sunshine. How about that locked door. You guessed it, why not use a swapper teleporter. Yes, that’s also a gadget, me-laddio. The fail conditions become severe and soon you’ll fail at an impressive rate. It’s not long before every missions impossible and permanent unlockables are far into the horizon. But that’s fine. Death isn’t the end, as you’ll soon inhabit another swashbuckling adventurer, with his own goals and toys.

Yes. The game’s designed with failure in mind. If you can get beyond that, you’ll have a lot of fun.

I’m still trying to process why I tired of Heat Signature…

Heat Signature

Nice little space station.

You know, I think the lack of meaty sounds bothers me. Yes, it could be that simple. Everything sounds so wishy-washy. Which is a shame as the game itself looks positively charming. It’s smooth and stylised and everything’s pretty clear. Dashing into an enemy to smack him with a wrench is always a joy. In fact, you’ll be pausing a lot to swap out weapons and planning your next move. Wait, maybe that’s my biggest gripe with the game. The top down action should be an unrelenting breathless mess, but the constant pausing robs the scene of all adrenaline. The space action lacks any real depth and is mostly a pleasant journey. Everything feels so transient. Nothing holds much weight. Soon you’ll barely care about the mounting deaths and you’ll unlock the next station power up regardless. That didn’t really matter.

6Pretty, clever and slick. A game that leaves me conflicted as I quickly tired of the loops and sparse atmosphere. 

Gratuitous reference heavy version of the above final statement

Hotline Miami is a frantic unrelenting breathless mess. FTL in a measured precise turn-based game. Heat Signature wants to marry the two styles and it doesn’t gel.

Thank you and goodnight.