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Heavy Metal Machines Review

Before you get too bored, Heavy Metal Machines is free to play and just launched, so download it!

Before Blizzard made billions of dollars with hit games like Warcraft, Starcraft, WoW, Hearthstone, Overwatch ... am I forgetting any? Doesn't matter, the important thing is BEFORE all that they made one of the greatest, nay, THE greatest racing game ever to grace this blue marble we call home: Rock N' Roll Racing. 

This opening screen tells you all you need to know about the game: Cars, Guns, Guitars.

It had a sequel which wasn't any good, which was made by Interplay named Red Asphalt and then an indie developer launched an IndieGogo campaign to remake the original into a slightly newer version called Motor Rock. Blizzard took offense and that game has been pulled from Steam for copyright violations.

 
I see what you did there Motor Rock... Effort appreciated.

This beloved franchise has fans like me, but as you can see, nobody's really been able to capture the magic that was Rock N' Roll Racing. 

Enter Heavy Metal Machines. This new game from the developer Hoplon is Rock N' Roll Racing in the modern day.

Normally I hate starting reviews with three paragraphs about OTHER games, but HMM is clearly a love story to Rock N' Roll Racing. It isn't just the isometric camera angle or "cars with guns," but even the announcer is the same! When the Metal Machines announcer said "The stage is set, the green flag drops" at the start of the race (Word for word from Rock N' Roll Racing) I knew this was more than just a racing game that has some similarities. This is an homage to my, and probably their, childhood.

 Clearly this is not a coincidence

Now, living up to anyone's childhood is a daunting task, and HMM thankfully deviates from the old RnR in a wide variety of ways. It sticks with the slick controls and jamming tunes, but updates the formula for the modern day.

In HMM every car is different, borrowing heavily from MOBA format. Similarly, each car has a variety of upgrades it can purchase. This means every car plays differently and, to some degree, can be modified during the race to meet a changing battlefield.

Additionally we're no longer racing to a finish line, jumping gaps, and hitting warps (though I wouldn't  be surprised if such things got added in the future). Instead we're grabbing a bomb and delivering it an opposing goal. This 4v4 combat mode suits the online play of a racing game far better than the traditional finish line, especially when you consider the wide variety of cars and combat styles to pick from.

Cars are broken down into three general classes. DPS and Support cars are exactly as you'd expect, but added in is the transport class. Cars designed to grab the bomb and say ahead and stay alive. Of course there's plenty of blurred roles for some of the cars, and in the end, it's all about how you position yourself and your car of bristling weapons. Most games are won by a single car doing something amazing at just the right moment.

This car eats other cars. Literally.

The one uncertainty I had going in was "Well, once he's in the lead, doesn't the guy with the bomb automatically win?"

The track is has many overlapping parts that the bomb carrier can not go. While the bomb carrier must take a winding route to the destination, all other cars can take a variety of shortcuts to catch up and cut him off. The result is a chaotic melee that breaks out every few seconds as you dash towards the goal.

All in all for early access free to play Heavy Metal Machines is quenching a long lost desire for good car combat. The 4v4 MOBA style arena is a welcome change to the tried and failed "race to the end" and, while the cars clearly need some balance still, they provide a wide mix of play styles to chose from. Basically, it gets this motor metal head's stamp of approval.

Good luck Hopolon and give it the gas!

Download it Heavy Metal Machines on Steam!


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