August 22cnd saw the launch of Gears POP (GP) on Android, iOS, and Windows. I was quickly alerted by google as I signed up to be get notified the moment it dropped and I've been playing ever since. This mobile game has pulled me away from Epic Seven, Dr. Mario, and Brawl Stars as my go to time killer. So that said, let's talk about the the good, the bad, and the unhinged.
Admittedly Gears POP! is one hell of a concept for a game. Brought to us by The Coalition, Funko POP, and Mediatonic; being published by Xbox Game Studios it's at its core a PVP mobile tower defense game, mixed with capture the zone, and cover & shoot tactics. I know that might sound like a lot to take in at first but once you get started you immediately get it. And it might seem like it wouldn't work, but it totally does.
First you build your squad consisting of eight pins (units), then enter a three-minute PVP battle where your goal is to defeat your enemy leader. Each pin has a summon cost associated with playing it. During battle a power meter fills as you use it to place pins in one of two lanes to the enemy side. Capturing cover as you move forward. The more you capture as you move forward the closer you can place your pins to the enemy. During all of this you have an ultimate ability that is charging that you can use strategically throughout the battle. The first person to kill the enemy leader, wins.
It's really simple and fun to get into, but learning the strategy of using pins in synergy is how you win. Each match contributes cogs to your tier. Tiers determine what new pins you have access to unlocking from crates.
Collecting duplicates of the same pin allows the pin to be leveled up to increase its stats. That's where one of the in game currencies, coins, come into play. You receive crates from winning matches. However, you can only hold four crates at a time and they take time to unlock depending on the rarity. You can open a crate early for the cost of crystals, which is one of the game’s form currency.
The game is just fun. And truthfully you'll know how you feel about it after a couple matches. It's not perfect, but it's definitely not terrible or boring. See, the key to have a damn good free-to-play game is incentive. And GP does just enough to keep you coming back. Crystals can be obtained through completely achievements and/or challenges. However, you can also by them using real-world money. So you can either burn through crystals to open loot crates to get more. Or you can win 4 matches and let time do it's thing. GP will definitely keep players coming back all day, erry day!
THEN, there's Horde mode. This is a cooperative mode that Gears of War fans will be able to get behind. It pits you and members of your crew against waves of Locust. For every wave completed, you are rewarded with pins and/or coins. This mode is the fastest way to level your leader, since Leveling up pins also gives out player experience. And this helps with turret and leader health as well as incremental attack power increases.
If you love collecting POP figures, Gears of War, and/or Clash Royale style games, this is the mobile game for you. It's a serious contender in the mobile field without taking itself too seriously. I'd like to see a ranked mode, and a single player survival mode personally. As well as push notifications for when crew members are trying to run a Horde match. However, I think all these things will come in time. There are so many pins to collect all with different and unique mechanics to them. So there is a lot to learn and do. However, if it's not for you, you wouldn't be mistaken in thinking its something that's been done before and in many ways done better.