They gave Peter Pepper a gun. Mothers hold your pickles.
Heavy Burger is one of the weirder games I’ve ever seen. The hook is that it makes use of Data East’s arcade library to provide a delightfully bizarre multiplayer tug of war that goes between different arcade cabinets. Two to four players split into two teams to try to carry a money bag through arcade screens to reach the end goal: a bank in the Bad Dudes arcade game. The charm is primarily found in the dopey setup and while the whole thing is often too chaotic for its own good, it’s still a deliriously fun multiplayer experience.
Every character features twin-stick controls, where you move around with one stick and aim your gun with the other. A button fires your weapon and another dodgerolls. At first your character starts with a pea shooter, but other weapons can be picked up, such as a short-range shotgun and a longer-range rifle. The controls are easy to grasp, but where everything gets wild is in how busy the screen gets. Everybody’s firing weapons among various stage hazards. You can even add game-specific enemies to the mayhem, too. It’s very easy to get lost in the action, though death is followed by a quick respawn. Downtime doesn’t happen, but confusion certainly does.
The flow is very similar to the excellent indie game Nidhogg, where each team tries to push forward in opposing directions. The kicker here is that each screen you enter is an arcade game. You start in the middle ground—the titular and fictional Heavy Burger cabinet—and then can work your way through a customizable variety of other real arcade games, including BurgerTime, Bad Dudes, Side Pocket, Lock’n Chase, and Heavy Barrel. It’s cool to see these games in this weird style. I got a real kick out of trying to sneak through Side Pocket while avoiding cascading billiards balls or aiming to blaze through the BurgerTime screen while dodging falling buns from the top of the screen that were triggered by errant bullets.
In addition to the local-only multiplayer battle mode, which can also be played with bots of varying difficulties, a single-player challenge mode serves as a good tutorial and an amusing diversion. It’s definitely not the focus of the experience, but it’s nice that a more structured mode worked its way into something that could have easily just been disorderly insanity.
As a wacky idea, I love Heavy Burger. It’s such a goofy way to use old games in a new way. In execution, it’s woefully scattershot. My fun with it lasted as long as the joke was still funny. Once that wore off, the multiplayer matches dried up fast. I wish this was a little better because I would love to see more things like it, but as it stands, Heavy Burger works better as a gag than a game.