Gear Up is a multiplayer vehicular combat game, currently under development by Doctor Entertainment. It’s a quirky little indie title that features fully customisable vehicles and hilarious, but realistic, physics modeling.
At first glance, the game doesn’t seem particularly well-polished. But, after all, it is still in Alpha. However, beyond the simplistic menus and a couple of bugs here and there, it is actually a very enjoyable title already.
Firstly, graphics. It’s got a unique arts style that is somewhat on the cartoony side. Can’t quite think of what I could compare it to right now, but hopefully the screenshots speak for themselves. But in the art department, it does have some of the features that you would expect from big-name AAA titles on the market right now. There’s high dynamic range lighting with bloom effects. Dynamic shadows, ambient occlusion and plenty more. Beyond the seemingly simplistic art-style, is a well-built rendering engine that is quite capable of producing high-quality graphics.
Gameplay is where it really shines. There’s fully customisable “tanks”, firstly. I use the name “tanks” lightly, as a former tank commander, these are definitely a far cry from what actual tank is. However, there’s already a variety of components available to choose from and players can definitely create something that is quite unique. There’s currently around ten different primary weapons available. You can choose from a basic cannon, to lasers, plasma guns and gatling guns and missile launchers. Then, there are another ten or so secondary weapons with a similar variety in them as well. On top of this, players can choose different chassis and turret types, as well as different means of propulsion. You can have treads, no problem, or you can have wheels, hover fans or even spider legs. All of the choices you make affect how you play the game.
For example, I could build a tank with two turrets and spider legs. The legs would allow me to climb up the sides of buildings and access places other players would not be able to. From there, I could fire at them with a variety of weapons and deal lots of damage. Each turret type also has its limitations and I may find that the higher I go, the harder it is to hit targets due to reduced weapon depression limits.
All these things combined make for a unique multiplayer experience that is very enjoyable and easy to pick up and play.
However, there is a catch to all this. Gear Up has been greelit on Steam and is currently available as an early access game for free. There is a paid option which, as far as I can tell, unlocks all content for the user from the get-go. I don’t personally agree with this since the ingame progression system allows you to unlock all the content after about four to five hours of continuous play. Also, there is bound to be new content being introduced as time goes on so the $9.99 price tag is hard to justify. Sure, there is a single player mode available which is supposedly restricted to players who purchase the paid option. However, I was able to play the single player mode without having purchased anything. Although, it did crash several times in the single player mode which I attribute to it simply still being Alpha.
There are other bugs too. The game is definitely not optimised yet and it manages to maintain 30fps at highest settings and 60fps at medium settings on my machine. Bear in mind, my PC isn’t the newest but it can run a far more intensive games at much higher framerate. Also, the framerate dropped severely in spectating mode at certain points for seemingly no reason. Graphics options also do not seem to save correctly and I have to re-apply all changes to the settings everytime I restart the client. The netcode isn’t perfect either and sometimes weapons will seem to do no damage to enemies, but really it’s just lag. Also, I believe the netcode is one of the reasons for some of the crashes I’ve had as the error messages do seem to point to something along those lines.
Either way, that’s a fairly small number of bugs to speak of for a game that is still early in development. It’s still a very enjoyable game and since it’s also free, I’d encourage everybody to check it out.
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