Heat Signature Review

Heat signature

Heat Signature is a tactical espionage game set in space onboard a spaceship. What could possibly go wrong? A lot.

You play as a space mercenary on an independent starbase, which serves as your initial staging area. Your primary duty is to help liberate other starbases from the empires that control them and achieve independence. There are 4 characters to choose from with each having different sets of equipment or gadget and personal mission. The different loadout determines the kind of play style you will play initially and the mission you want to accept. It wouldn’t be wise to accept a mission that task you to capture a target alive when your starting loadout enabling your target to be lifeless permanently.

In your starbase, there are things you can do such as selecting which mission to undertake, run through some simulation, go shopping or ultimately retire. When you do retire, you won’t be able to play that character anymore for the rest of the game, but you’re able to select a single equipment – or none if you so desire – to be that character legacy equipment for your friends or yourself to find. It’s hard to determine when and where these ‘legacy’ equipment will appear in the galaxy. I do find this idea to be a little bit cool despite the chances of coming across it to be really low.

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Heat Signature | Suspicious Development

Before allowing your character to enjoy their retirement, head on to the mission board and partake in some dangerous mission- wouldn’t want to retire as a nobody now do you. The level of difficulty available to select at that start is quite minimal. As you complete these mission, a monetary reward will be awarded along with liberation points. The points will fill the liberation bar and when the bar is full, you’re able to liberate any starbase from any empire that’s near your controlled starbase. Liberating these starbase grants you access to new ships, harder missions, new gadgets, and equipment- these will be made available to purchase in the starbase shops after unlocking. The harder the mission, the more liberation points and money will be given out. Do properly give the mission details a thorough read before heading out. Certain mission requires the use of certain sets of gadgets, without those, it’s almost impossible to complete your task.

Once the preparation is done and carefully scrutinize the Mission details you have selected, it is time to head out! The Mission target is roaming somewhere in this vast expanse of space, but don’t worry with latest space-faring technology, you’re able to pinpoint the target ship with 100% accuracy. You won’t have to board the wrong ship ever again! Do be careful not to get shot to oblivion before even boarding the targeted ship. No one says being a mercenary in space is easy. Now, this is where the fun begins.

20171008185207_1Heat Signature | Suspicious Development

Flying across the vast expanse of space, I found my target ship. Carefully maneuvering my space pod against it, avoiding the ships light – if you’re spotted by those long enough, they will open fire. Equip with only a shotgun and my trusty old wrench, I boarded the ship. My mission, assassinate Zero Veitzen. I enter tactical mode, to plan my move while examining the interior of the ship and there are a lot of them. I study the personnel patrolling pattern in order to find a loophole to exploit. Sneaking through the ship, I move from room to room, getting closer to my objective. But the ship I’m in have seal doors which can only be open through a terminal or a key. Sadly, there’s no terminal in this layer and the key is on one of the ship personnel. He is chit-chatting with his buddies so I got no choice but to wait for him to be alone to steal the key. Now I wish I had the gadget that allows me to steal keys from a distance.

After knocking the key holder unconscious and hid his body, I move on to the next layer of the ship. One more layer until I reach my target. I waited patiently once again till the key holder is within my target. Knocked him out cold, hid his body and take the keys. Before moving on, I make my way to the chest room – it’s only accessible with this layer key. What sort of item I got, I wonder. It’s a sidewinder! Just my luck. With this, I can teleport to my target in time before this ship heads back to safety, but sadly this model only has one use. The clock is ticking, can I make it in time? Probably not. Screw it, I’m gonna make a run for it to my target.

I ran passed the corridors bypassing the patrolling personnel. Soon the whole ship is alerted to my presence. I gun down any men that stood in my way, but these guys have shields, that’s activated when they are alerted to an intruder. The unlucky ones couldn’t get theirs up in time, so they died. 5 seconds left until the ship dock to safety and I’m still quite a distance from the target. 4 seconds, I saw him across the corridor in a small room surrounded by other ship’s personnel, it’s sad to say they saw me too. 3 seconds, I teleported to them using the sidewinder and lucky for me that the gadget range is up to the room where the target is at. I took a shot. 2 seconds, my bullets bounce off their shield and I definitely couldn’t make it back to my pod to escape. 1 second, they return fire and the bullets that went pass the personnel hit the glass window of the room. I grinned.

The glass shattered and in an instant, everyone in the room got sucked into the vacuum of space. I made it barely in the nick of time, but I manage to avoid being captured. Stranded in space, I control my space pod remotely to pick me up before I die from the lack of oxygen. Good thing I bought the angel pod – which I unlock after freeing one of the starbases from Offworld Security – that suck up the owner within a small radius. Maneuvering the ship to catch myself can be a pain sometimes especially when you’re running out of oxygen. Apparently, the pod picks up my assassination target too. Oh well, time to head back to base.

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Return to the starbase my target unconscious on my shoulder. Drop him off at a drop point and a message appears along with the Mission complete screen, the target is still alive but we can fix that. I return back to the Mission board and pick out my next Mission.


Personal Opinion

For a top-down tactical game set in space, Heat Signature is a colourful one. Each of the empires has their own set of unique theme colours, such as one that give off a every eco friendly feel while as another give off a militaristic feeling. They too have their own sets of  weapon and gadgets to unlock. Due to that, there isn’t any skill tree or leveling system. Interested in using a certain equipment, you must liberate the starbase that unlocks that equipment.

There isn’t a fixed difficulty game mode but there is a different difficulty mission that you can choose to do. At the start, there is only 3 difficulty to select: Easy, Medium and Hard. The harder the mission, the more liberation points and monetary reward will be awarded at the end of the mission. As you liberate more starbases, more difficulty option will be made available along with other mission condition. Condition such as only kill your assassination target or do not get spotted during the mission. These conditions make your already difficult mission even more difficult. You may choose to ignore the condition when undertaking such mission but the reward upon completion is lesser than the original amount.

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Heat Signature | Suspicious Development

The game is fun and enjoyable and at a harder difficulty, it can be a total chaos at a single mistake. You got to have a plan after your initial plan ended up in failure. There’s very little room for mistakes at a higher difficulty level. Here lies the problem. The problem is not towards the game but towards the players. To say the players are the problem is somewhat uncalled for. This game requires skills and critical thinking at higher difficulty and I understand there are those that are lacking in such department when it comes to gaming. There are those that have a better aptitude in gaming compared to others. Hence liberation progress is slower compared to others.

It’s not wrong to take it slow and progress at your own pace. Considering there are over 40 starbases to liberate in order to rid the world from the multiple empire control, these can be a very daunting task to accomplish. Moreover, the game encourages the player to restart a new character every now and then as once your character becomes too famous, the amount of liberation points you acquire after completion is significantly lesser than normal even if you take the hardest difficulty available. Taking on an easy difficulty mission over and over again can be extremely mundane.

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Heat Signature | Suspicious Development

Conclusion

I enjoyed the first few hours into the game and it took me roughly 15 hours to rid the nebula from all the empire controls. It’s an enjoyable top-down tactical game which requires some skills. If you’re not confident of your own skill, you are always welcome to get it on a sale.


Platform: PC(Windows)
Publisher: Suspicious Development
Developer: Suspicious Development
Rating: Good (70 out of 100)
Hours Played: 16hrs


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