If you’re the kind of gamer that likes a challenge from addictive, enjoyable gameplay then you’re in for a treat when you get your hands on Gear Gauntlet.
Having the reaction times of a fighter pilot will serve you well in this 2D side-scroller that has speed very much at the core of its gameplay.
As the player, you take on the role of a Gear, a cogwheel which must transverse its way through a variety of levels, all with multiple hazards and obstacles to overcome. Every level has a number of routes to follow, each unique in difficulty and each with their own rewards. To make things more interesting there are a number of game changers through the levels, from bonuses like boost and warps to potential hindrances like rotation (yep the screen rotates), reverse and timers.
Gear Gauntlet was one of the later games I managed to play at EGX Rezzed, along with a small handful of other games in the ID@Xbox room it seemed a permanently filled seat. So it’s 5pm and I finally get my turn, let’s just say my reaction times weren’t at their peak, and yet I loved this game. It’s so painfully addictive that after dying 100 times you want to throw something and yet you keep playing.
On the early levels this game is very quick to pick up, it’s easy enough to master and the hazards are reasonably minimal allowing you to get comfortable with the controls, unfortunately this gives you a false sense of security. Once eased into the game the difficulty curve is a steep climb to oblivion.
Soon you’re thrown in at the deep end with paths blocked by multi-coloured walls, these are overcome by pressing the controller button that corresponds to the colour of the wall, A for Green, X for Blue, you get the idea. So now you’re playing a 2D side-scroller that requires a little bit of Rock Band skill as well and then it gets difficult.
The variety of gameplay on offer in Gear Gauntlet is surprisingly extensive given the fairly restrictive nature of the environment, add the fast pace and this is a game that you’re not going to bore of easily. The replay value alone makes this game worth adding to your collection when it is released.
To aid in the quest to reach a new level of rage, the game also offers up all of your successes and failures in the form a leaderboards where the best scores and times are tracked so even though a multiplayer mode may seem impractical, there is still a great deal of competition on offer from your friends list and the community as a whole.
Visually this game is easy on the eyes. The environments are colourful, active and perfectly accentuated by the amazing hand drawn art which makes up the environment backgrounds.
While trying to describe Gear Gauntlet’s look, I find myself comparing it to something not unlike the Peggle series, again highly addictive. What I mean by this is that the foreground and background are visually very different and yet work perfectly together to produce something that keeps you hooked to the screen. The soundtrack equally adds value to the overall experience, on your descent into additive insanity you need some awesome audio and Gear Gauntlet delivers exactly what you need, I’d go as far as say the audio actually exceeds what you’d expect from a game of this nature, it’s something to admire.
It’s very difficult to say more about Gear Gauntlet other than, play it when it comes out.
If you’re a fan of the puzzle/action genre then this is definitely a game for your purchase list, this was one of the surprising highlights of Rezzed for me personally because it equally angered me and brought a lot of fun into my life. With addictive gameplay, beautiful and colourful environments and some great audio to accompany, I highly recommend giving Gear Gauntlet a play when you have the chance. If Drop Dead Interactive ever bring this to the handheld then you’ve got yourself the perfect commuting game.
Coming to the Xbox One and Windows PC in Q2 2015, Gear Gauntlet is still awaiting an official release date.