Peter Pepper Packing Heat
Coming out of nowhere with no marketing that I'm aware of, Heavy Burger is a four-player local competitive game that takes the bullet-dumping dodge-rolling twin stick shooter antics of Enter The Gungeon with the endzone-driving pressure of Nidhogg and wraps it all in a celebratory orgy of Data East's 80s arcade catalog, creating a wonderfully chaotic game that perfectly targets a demographic of around zero people.
Up to four Peter Peppers (human-controlled or bots) split into two teams and, armed with automatic burger launchers, scramble to grab a bag of money dropped in the center of the map. The team that takes possession attempts to run the money to the opposite side of the screen while their opponents try to gun them down with shotguns, miniguns, lasers, and other randomly spawned weapons in order to take the bag for themselves. Once someone manages to cross the endzone, the map is "cleared" for that team, and they move onto the next stage that's based on one of five Data East arcade games, each with their own gimmicks: Side Pocket's pool table full of balls that can be shot at opponents; Karate Champ's arena that fills with, well, karate champs trying to punch and sweep our culinary heroes; Heavy Gunner's cliffside fortress full of turrets and trigger-happy soldiers; Lock and Chase's randomly-generated maze that fills with policemen; and of course, Pepper's own Burger Time, complete with falling patties and toppings along with evil eggs and sausages harrassing the players.
Each side tries to keep running the money down their line of stages, ultimately seeking to reach the final Bad Dudes-inspired stage and dive into the bank to cash in their stacks to Bank Manager and US President Ronnie for the glory of victory and a celebratory burger.
Chaos is the name of the game in Heavy Burger. With four players, the screen quickly fills with projectiles being launched all around, combining with the level's particular hazards and AI-controlled enemies to make each stage a mess that verges on the edge of incomprehensible. But the mechanics allow for a certain amount of skill: Players can time their dodges to dive over enemies and projectiles, along with using the recoil of their weapons to run faster and taking advantage of speed boost powerups that appear on the map. E-sports this ain't, but knowing these mechanics can make the difference between slowly waddling across the map or sprinting down the line and leaping over bullets into the endzone.
All of this adds up to a wild couch multiplayer game that rivals the manic energy of Duck Game or #IDARB. Of course, "couch multiplayer game" is still the double-edged sword it usually is. There is no online play, and the only "single-player mode" it can speak for is a series of 24 challenges where you play the game against bots, which I managed to complete in about four hours. The game also lacks the variety that other local multiplayer games have; there are only seven possible stages to play, two of which are the beginning and end maps, and the only customization is how many of those stages you want to play and in what order, along with the number of enemies on screen and the amount of time until the game goes into "sudden death," in which players will take longer to respawn and any stages that are cleared by one side are cleared for the other, which quickly and dramatically evens the playing field.
But if you've got friends to play this with, seven to eight dollars is a pretty good entry fee for what this game has to offer. Even if you don't hold much love for Data East (or even know who the hell they were), the sheer insanity, silliness, and thrilling game design makes Heavy Burger a rare (or at least, medium rare) experience.