Get Down For Gear Up

By Ben Barrett on July 25th, 2014 at 9:00 am.

I don’t think I’ve seen a trailer quite so excited about itself as the one that follows for free-to-play multiplayer tank battler Gear Up. It’s aggressively in your face about how up-beat and colourful it is. Thankfully it also does a good job of showing off the build ‘n’ fight core and the impressively massive selection of customisation options available for your angry house. Like some sort of twisted, awesome future Robot Wars, it has walkers and tank treads and mortars and cannons and, uh, antlers. Yeah. Have a look.

As is always pleasant when discovering an entertaining trailer, the game underneath is rock solid too. I gave it a quick shot over on Steam and it’s markedly more polished than standard Early Access. It’s simple – just a few maps playable with deathmatch and point-capturing modes – but the speed and charm of it is undeniable. Even the starting tank is able to dish out enough damage and whizz around the compact levels fast enough that five seconds won’t pass without something happening.

Doctor Entertainment, who made Puzzle Dimension back in 2010, have won me over with the payment model and art direction. All the tank parts can be earned through play, but with a limit on how many can be kept at one time. All these limits can be removed and all the parts unlocked in one go for £6.99, rather than any sort of microtransaction deal. On the art side, the blocky, caricatured guns and turrets make differences easy to tell at a distance and there’s enough variety that it feels properly personalisable.

You can try it yourself at only a gig to download. If you find yourself enamoured, now might be a good time to go all-in, as Doctor plan to increase of that insta-unlock as they get closer to launch.

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32 Comments »

  1. TechnicalBen says:

    Free to Play? Ok… so how much does gold ammo cost, or is it 100% cosmetic?

    I joke, I’m not asking a question, I give it less chance to be 100% cosmetic than the chance of a pot of pertunas landing on my PC desk from space…

    • lordcooper says:

      If you scroll up a bit there are some words. I suggest you try reading them.

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        Napalm Sushi says:

        Nonsense! Everyone knows “free to play” is an utterly concrete concept that must always mean the exact same thing and justify a long yet specific ream of assumptions about it wherever it appears!

      • TechnicalBen says:

        I agree. I should have read the article. It was a bit of jest/sarcasm. But no defence in that. Comments without thought are still stupid comments. I’ll admit to that.

        Just really cautious with F2P even when a developer and the community playing say “it’s not p2w honest!!!” and “it’s not bait and switch honest!!!”

        PS, the mechanism they are using is possibly one of the best. Similar to TF2. So funds allowing, they’ve got a purchase through that alone. :)

    • cafeoh says:

      Both the FAQ and this very article explicitly says there are no microtransactions whatsoever at the moment.

  2. SanguineAngel says:

    I actually like the model they employ – the free to play game is essentially a limited access demo but you still get to play with others. You can purchase the game to unlock it fully and there’s no microtransactions

    • Ben Barrett says:

      Yeah, I think this and cosmetic-only microtransactions are the future on PC, plus the odd particularly well designed game that can get away with other microtransactional stuff (League)

      • trooperwally says:

        Yeah, it seems like it could be a good model. Question is though, are the unlockable turrets etc. upgrades to the starting ones?

        If so then it puts paying players at a (paid for) advantage to those playing for free which may not be ideal if the devs are using the free access as a demo tool. You want people to enjoy the demo, not get stomped by anyone with £7 to spend.

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          DeVadder says:

          Unlockable things are a massive upgrade. But you have enough part storage for free to have one proper tank. And paying does not get you the items immediatly, you just can own more. So this means, as a free player you can have a tank as strong as everyone else but you are basically limited to one while everyone else may have different fully equiped tanks.

    • Kollega says:

      There should be more games like this. The reason I hate microtransactions is that there’s no upper limit on how much you can spend, and thus developers encouage themselves to milk players for money far in excess of the standard $15/$20/$30 price. But when the game is both free-to-play and pay-once (I think that’s called “freemium”) and the pay-once price is right, it’s not really that much of a problem. Of course, such a game has a higher chance of being pay-to-win, so what do I know.

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    Keymonk says:

    Oh nice, it’s on Early Access! I’ve played the alpha a bit on Steam as well – it was pretty nice, even back when it was only barely started on.

  4. Tei says:

    I remember playing a Quake1 mod that was exaclty like this. Also reminds me somewhat of the old BZFLAG.

  5. SophiaButler says:

    I wonder if this’ll shoot TerraTech out of the water..

    and hooray for a F2P game that doeznt ruin itz balance with microtranzactionz!
    Maybee if more stuff like this popz up we’ll get less cynicizm about the … genre/payment model.

    • trooperwally says:

      Ok, I know it’s off topic but I can’t resist. Why do you use a ‘z’ whenever there should be an ‘s’?

    • Niko says:

      Its customization mechanic is different from TerraTech (and Robocraft too): in Gear Up you have hull, propulsion, gun and some extra modules, while in those two other games you create a vehicle from smaller blocks, allowing for a great diversity of shape and function. Gear Up’s customization is similar to Loadout’s gun customization actually.

  6. CookPassBabtridge says:

    With that title, for a moment I thought it might be a new flight sim. Was slightly disappointed.

  7. Deadly Habit says:

    If only Rawbots would get back into development…

    • ersetzen says:

      Even the download servers are broken for a while now so I kinda lost hope. Shame really because it still is my favorite robot-building-thingy. If the multiplayer would have been implemented…

    • GHudston says:

      I just want a Robot Arena 3.

  8. BadCatWillum says:

    Woo, it’s colourful, bouncy multiplayer tank battler Wild Metal Country updated for the 21st century.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      I just wish it had single-player like Wild Metal Country did. :(

  9. Frank says:

    Well, that’s one way to win over the I-hate-F2P-instinctively crowd — make it both F2P and a cheap one-time purchase.

    I think the F2P experience here is s***, but I guess that wouldn’t bother you zealots who would never consider playing a game that you hadn’t fully bought. My gun can take an enemy down in 20 hits, while their mines (or whatever those are) can down me in two.

    (My team actually won the match, but only because I and the other newbies capped points and fled from opponents while one brave teammate engaged them, hit-and-run. Anyway, I’m just mentioning this to say “no sour grapes here.”)

    There are several F2P games that offer a better experience from the start. But they don’t offer one-time buy-everything packages, so I guess they’re exploitative, eh?

    Anyway, I don’t mean to rag too much on this game. After all, it’s still Early Access, the art is great (though a bit more demanding than expected) and the strategic side of things, with control points, seems solid if unoriginal.

    • ersetzen says:

      Um… The starting gun deals significantly more dps than the mine weapon. It can kill enemies that aren’t entirely out of heavy parts in a shot or three. The mines are just really good for fast hoverers because they can be dropped while flying over an enemy.

      Plus any part can be unlocked in one good game. The problem you run into isn’t that you unlock parts too slowly – all of them cost similar amounts – but that you will run out of room for different builds at some point. If you want to try out something fairly different from the starting loadout quickly you could just invest your starting money into a fast hover bot and play hit and run – it is incredibly strong against the slow bots if done right.

      • Frank says:

        I don’t know whether they had heavy parts or not, but I see their health bars hardly moving when hit. They couldn’t navigate worth a damn (falling into lakes and such), but their armaments were strictly better. And I don’t want to play even six matches like that before having a decent rig. Maybe I misunderstood their shop and they’ll have a tutorial before they’re out of early access, but I had 8 units of currency after my first match and everything in the shop cost 5.

        Maybe the default has better dps, but it actually requires careful aiming, while mines (or whatever…they were thrown, not dropped) notably do not.

        I’m not saying it’s P2W. It’s a bad experience, maybe not a losing experience, when not paying.

        • Phasma Felis says:

          If one match earns you enough to upgrade a single component with change left over, that’s still better than the vast majority of F2P currency schemes. In Hawken, you have to grind for hours to afford a new mech or a new weapon option.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      You’re trying really hard to make this sound like a shitty, inferior pay-to-win experience, and it still sounds like the best way to implement F2P. In a sense it’s not really even F2P, it’s just an old-school demo/shareware vs. full version distinction. And that’s awesome.

      • Frank says:

        Yeah, it is analogous to shareware, which is fine for what it is. It’s hardly revolutionary, and I don’t think it’s “the future on PC” as Ben does. Rather, it’s the past, and a not too consumer-friendly past. Just because other games are more grindy than this game, that doesn’t mean that this is a good system.

        Sure, Zynga-style F2P isn’t good, but that doesn’t mean there’s no way to do F2P well except the shareware way (making free users explicitly second-class). I’ve seen it done well, but only in a genre the masses aren’t interested in yet (turn-based tactics).

        And, no, I’m not trying to describe it definitively as a shitty experience. Please don’t tell me what I’m “trying really hard” to do. It was a shitty experience for me, but maybe that’s an artifact of the early access. My broader point is that you lot (most RPS commenters on this subject) use stupid criteria for evaluating payment models, saying F2P is okay if and only if you can buy the game outright. It’s stupid for two reasons. First, you want the dev to have an ongoing interest in developing the game; and that’s gonna end once their marketing research indicates they’ve made as many of these up-front sales as they’re going to, if not sooner. Second, a F2P experience that isn’t shit for free players benefits everyone. Online games die because people quit playing them. A well-designed F2P game (like Team Fortress 2) can live a lot longer, in terms of player and dev commitment than an up-front game with a too-grindy shareware demo.

        I don’t think it’s fruitful to debate whether the future is TF2 or is LoL or whatever. Just let devs and publishers try some stuff out without preemptively crying foul for every little departure from the payment models you’re cool with already.

        • Phasma Felis says:

          I realize you’re unlikely to still be reading this, but: I’ve actually run spreadsheets on the part stats (yes, I’m a dork) and the starting parts are not significantly inferior to the unlockables. There’s certainly some room for fine-tuning, but everything is at least intended to be balanced. The starting cannon has low-ish damage per shot, but a high rate of fire, and its DPS is comparable to anything but the ultra-short-range flamethrower. The starting Scout hull/treads/turret are near the low end of armor, in exchange for being *crazy* fast. If you were running into enemies that took ten direct hits from the basic cannon, they probably had terrible speed, acceleration, and turret rotation stats; you could have literally run circles around them. After a week of intermittent play, I’ve unlocked about a quarter of the available parts, and I still love playing a nippy little gremlin. A lot of the heavies simply cannot track you at close range. It’s hilarious.

          And if you still don’t like that playstyle, you can earn enough G to buy a new part (any part, everything but the cosmetics costs 4-6 G apiece) in about 20 minutes. I had a completely new tank after an hour of play. The game wants everyone, even the free-to-plays, to have a lot of options. I’m sorry you had a bad experience with your first match, but I think you’ve judged the game unfairly.

  10. Reginald XVII Archduke of Butts says:

    I bought into this back when it was in Alpha, because I’m impatient and wanted to play with the vehicle editor.

    It’s fun, the vehicle editor and the combat. Doesn’t cost much to do the unlock, I’m happy to recommend it.

    It seems fairly well balanced, as I encountered a fair diversity of different builds when I play multiplayer.