For me, the Heat has two modes: lovely analog saturation and destroyer of worlds distortion. There’s some amount of in between, but realistically I go between those ends. Fortunately, for my tastes it’s great at both. The wet/dry knob is your friend here, so use it along with the ‘dirt’ level. Even at low levels of enhancement once you take it away something just feels like it’s missing.
I’m sure other devices do similar things well, no doubt and as do some plugins. It’s not an all or nothing for me, I use a bunch of virtual stuff too. I also want a Fatso at some point, though my holy grail is a Vertigo Sound VSM-3, but that’s off the table, so Heat and plugins it is for me.
Heat is a fantastic unit and I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it more as you use it.