Today, Steam is the leading online video-games store; a favorite among developers all over the world. Prior to Steam Direct, which allowed the release of 7,672 games in 2017 alone, there was a system called Greenlight: a virtual place where players were to vote the most promising projects. An algorithm would then have to approve them before they were actually released to the store. Heat Guardian, the game I’m about to discuss, successfully passed the selection in just two weeks; trampling the competition!
A twin-stick shooter title with post-apocalyptic elements, Heat Guardian is entirely made by one man: Denis Rudoy. Gamepad in hand, I was shocked to learn that the young developer is only 21 years old. This is a clear demonstration of his great talent; a set of abilities particularly appreciated by Crytek, for which he now works as a Junior Designer.
“I Found Myself Within a Forest Dark …”
In the shoes of an anonymous soldier, the player joins a small group of fighters who’re trying to survive a hostile environment, characterized by extreme temperatures and populated by radioactive monsters. The narration, articulated in brief and frequent dialogues, gives us missions that range from simply moving to a specific place to locating a missing object, from finding an exit to the maze to sheltering from the storm.
The levels in Heat Guardian are very large and freely explorable maps, often littered with traps (mainly mines) and enemies. We’ll soon face both shapeless creatures and soldiers from the opposing faction. Particularly vital is our body heat – indicated by a special bar on the screen – that we’ll be able to replenish by collecting sticks to burn, hiding in buildings or drinking bottles of vodka. Failing to do so will obviously result in a painful and untimely demise.
Although the genre might suggest it, the gameplay is not tacky; there’s no waves of enemies to keep at bay in a dance of bullets. On the contrary, Heat Guardian is essentially slow and reasoned, based on the management of resources and the focused resolution of short-but-intense conflicts. Constant is the tension, as the result of poor visibility and an eerie sensation of transience accompany the player from the beginning to the end.
The world around us features numerous objects that will be useful for our survival. We’ll come across melee weapons, mines, grenades and a wide variety of guns. Adding a further layer of depth, the presence of human enemies also requires a careful and often stealthier approach to the situation. Finally, the challenges in Heat Guardian are garnished with an increasing degree of difficulty, which will pleasantly put the player to the test on more than one occasion.
“… For The Straightforward Pathway Had Been Lost”
The technical department is also worthy of praise. We witness an extremely successful symbiosis between two-dimensional images arranged in parallaxes and advanced graphical effects. The multiplicity of scenic objects offers a great variety to the settings: uncultivated forests, abandoned camps, decadent buildings, and dark underground areas are all represented in a realistic and credible way.
I particularly appreciated the animations, which are always accompanied by timely sound effects and an overall excellent quality. Heat Guardian does not have a catchy soundtrack, although this design choice contributes to sustain the atmosphere of tension. The lack of music allows you to perceive the proximity of enemies or mines, prompting you to shift your tactics to overcome the danger.
Proof Of The Facts!
Let’s face it: there are no highly original or innovative elements in this game. Still, knowing that what we are playing is the result of a single mind enhances the experience, which features all it needs to stand tall next to other successful titles in the indie scene. Heat Guardian is the creative expression of a multifaceted and mature developer who has managed to establish a virtuous relationship between their your age and their vast ability.
From personal experience, I know what it means to go through the development of a complete game with the exclusive help of your own strength. In no uncertain terms, I can say that this boy is a genius.
In the end, I consider the title completely worthy of your trust. Whether you are interested in the history of or are only in for the fun, Heat Guardian is definitely something you should give a chance to!
Original Article: Alberto Muratore