Review: ‘GUNS UP!’ Hiccups Don’t Distract from Gameplay

NATHAN WETROSKY | THE SPECTRUM
‘GUNS UP!’ has a unique, but very simplistic art style that is kind of comical until a battle starts. That same humorous style you fell in love with quickly becomes gory and tragic as it is replaced with the realities of war.

Think of “Clash of Clans” having a baby with any tower defense game in a WWII-esque setting, and you will have “GUNS UP!” a free-to-play game on Steam (a platform for buying and playing personal computer games) created by Valkyrie Entertainment. The game was just released for early access Sept. 20.

With addictive gameplay and a fun but simple art style, “GUNS UP!” will keep a strategist happy for hours on end.

“GUNS UP!” has a unique art style that is kind of comical until a battle starts. That same humorous style you fell in love with quickly becomes gory and tragic as it is replaced with the realities of war.

As your troops push forward, machine gun fire and snipers are brutally and efficiently dropping your numbers, one soldier at a time. The ragdoll effects of forces being thrown around by explosions and projectiles look fantastic.

Something that many games such as “Clash of Clans,” or even all the way up to the complex “Battlefield” series, fail to include is a mechanic of a bullet hitting a soldier that causes the soldier to falter, fall back or stumble (real life would be more than a little stumble). In “GUNS UP!” that’s remedied. When one of your troops gets shot, they are pushed back and look hurt before they shake it off and try to continue the fight once more.

The battles are very simplistic, but are still challenging nonetheless. With no direct way to control your troops other than with rally flags, which are few and far between, you must call in artillery, aerial support, decoys and missiles to distract and hinder the enemy while your forces move on to the opponent’s headquarters. Watch out though, so you don’t hit your own guys.

In addition to supporting your troops, you must also select which squads of soldiers you think will do the best job for the task at hand. For instance, if you don’t like a wall, blow it up with the grenadier. Don’t like a wooden pillbox? Torch it with the flamethrower. If you are suddenly outnumbered, spam the grunt recruit button. The choice is yours. A bright side to the ending of each battle is the loot from finally destroying the enemy’s base and the potential of getting an epic attack card to use on your next operation.

Along with the battles, base building is a key component in the game. Now, the first and best thing about base building in this game, unlike many others, is that all structure and unit upgrades are instant. Unlike “Clash of Clans” or games of a similar play style, where eventually you are waiting half a month or more just so you can have a slightly more upgraded dragon with a slight color differentiation, the upgrade system in “GUNS UP!” is instantaneous. The rest of the base building is linear and straightforward just like the battles. You select or build a structure that you want and put it somewhere so it will be used effectively. Same goes for walls, your army’s tents and mines.

Another thing this game does well and differently, in comparison to other games, is allow you to test your defenses against waves and waves of enemies of increasing number and strength. You are rewarded for doing that, so it does not feel like a waste of time.

One more thing the game does is, at random intervals, send a computer-controlled army at you to test your defenses. You do not get many rewards for these random attacks on your stronghold, sadly. It is, however, a surprising and exciting way for the game to show you up if your defenses are not up to snuff.

Along with a great soundtrack that keeps things intense, this game has a lot of great things going for it. Although, it is not without its faults.

While I was playing the game, I did notice a couple of glitches. Odd things occurred that took away from the overall experience.

First, the loading times for individual pop-up menus, like the war menu or one of the various upgrade lists, need to be improved. They seemed to be much too long; some loadings lasted a whole minute for just opening a drop-down menu that doesn’t change the location or background at all.

Another big thing that the developers need to look at is the game’s ability to connect to the internet. Even though I have a stable, full Wi-Fi signal, the game sometimes disconnected from a battle. This is unfortunate because the game’s meat and potatoes is its mostly online player versus player experience.

The last complaint I would have with the game is that it crashed twice on me while I was playing.

“GUNS UP!” is quite an enjoyable game to play. It offers epic gameplay while also being free to play.

It is not without a few items of concern. From what I have seen of Valkyrie Entertainment, they have released daily updates for the game since its release. I am not concerned with if they will fix the problems that are still present. It is just a matter of when.

I highly recommend this game to anybody who likes strategy and wants to see things get blown up. After all, we are in college, and the game is free.

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