Gatling Gears Review

Top-down shooters are known for their mayhem. There are bullets flying everywhere. There are canisters or tanks or some other objects that meekly surrender to your constant stream of bullets and offer some sort of health or power-up. There are normally masses of enemies swarming around your little ship. Gatling Gears follows the formula, but does it in a beautiful, grounded fashion.

In a steampunk art style that is reminiscent of Metal Slug‘s aesthetics, Gatling Gears is a dual-stick shooter developed by Vanguard Games. You control Max Brawley, a mustached Gatling Gear pilot who, should you play co-op, teams up with his niece to stop an evil empire from foraging and destroying the world of Mistbound.

The story may be a bit heavy-handed, but Gatling Gears maintains interest and flows well. You controlling your gear with the left analog stick. You fire your machine gun, which has a very limited reach, with the right analog stick. The left and right triggers are designated for a grenade launcher and a missile launcher, respectively.

Both of these long-range weapons, which replenish after use, are a bit clunky to control. Holding down the left trigger gives you a target that you then move around the battlefield with the right analog stick. Once the desired location is reached, you can release the trigger and launch a grenade. It sounds simple, but when you’re in the fray trying to dodge rockets, the grenade launcher is more of a hassle than anything else. The missile launcher isn’t much better. Missiles will shoot anywhere your machine gun is aiming, but since the range of the machine gun is short, it’s tough to know exactly where the missile will go when you fire. It’s a slightly aggravating design that could easily be fixed by adding a crosshair. Each player also comes with a one-time-use special attack that obliterates anything on the screen.

Luckily, though, the game is relatively easy even in the single-player campaign, so using the special attack will be more out of leisure than pressure. There are five sections of the game along with a prologue. Each section has five levels. Added up, you’ll probably get a solid five hours or more out of Gatling Gears, and with two continues for each level, the game doesn’t relish in a player’s suffering. It’s challenging, but not merciless.

The game’s customization is also pretty standard. Experience points are earned after each level and are used to unlock new skins, effects, and pets. All three of these unlockables are pretty useless. The skins alter the look the of your gear, the effects are unnoticeable, and the pets, while endearing, create more confusion, as they’re easily mistaken for enemies.

You can also upgrade your weapons and health by collecting money throughout the levels. There are four enhancements for each and they’re beneficial, especially the missile launcher and grenade launcher. And with the surplus of gold provided throughout the levels, you’ll have more money than you know what to do with by the time Gatling Gears ends.

The game also looks gorgeous. Each level is drastically different — varied enough to keep things intriguing. Lavish forests, barren deserts, and soggy wetlands are all in the mix. It can be distracting sometimes when levels literally break apart and crumble before you, but it’s never boring to watch.

For the more masochistic fans out there, the game also offers a Survival Mode. In this mode you’re tasked with protecting an object from being destroyed. The first level has two water tanks. I’m not sure what the other two levels have you protecting because I was never able to beat the first. In other words, it behooves you to take on the challenge with a friend or two. The challenge is no joke. It seems endless, as the waves keep coming and coming.

In the world of Mistbound, everything looks like it’s made from Micro Machines. There’s great detail and character to this game that is difficult to catch the first time through. Not to mention there are a great deal of unlockables and a higher difficulty setting waiting to be attempted in a second playthrough. As an exercise in the classic “shoot anything that moves” mantra from the video games of yesteryear, Gatling Gears splurges with a resourcefulness and charisma that begs to be marathoned. Just make sure you bring a friend for the full effect.


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Author: Greg Galiffa View all posts by
Greg Galiffa is an Associate Editor at GamerNode. He's also an apologist for the first TMNT film. You can follow him on Twitter @greggaliffa

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