“Oh look, yet another zombie game.” Such was our first reaction to seeing Gears & Guts, but the sentiment didn’t last, as this game manages to do something different from most corpse-athons: it combines man’s love of cars and heavy machinery with vanquishing the undead.
Rather than running around and dealing with zombies with melee weapons or firearms, Gears & Guts is entirely vehicular. You drive around in a car, running over zombies to earn items and new cars you can use later, so long as you succeed in your mission. Missions range from killing certain zombies to picking up and distributing goods to people, and more. Upon completion, you’re taken back to your garage, where you can mix-and-match the “cards” you’ve picked up.
You can mount guns on the hood or roof of the vehicle of your choice, add spikes to the front, or attach extra weapons such as chainsaws and flamethrowers to the sides. However, each car is different not only in its power level, but where things can be equipped; for example, a car with the option for front-mounted mayhem may not have room for anything on the sides, and vice-versa.
You’ll pick up a lot of spare cards that you can use with the bolts you earn for completing a mission to upgrade your vehicles. Unfortunately, it’s easy to toss a valuable weapon you’ve already equipped into the grinder if you’re not careful, losing it forever. Plus, upgrading is a necessity, as enemies do significant damage and will wreck you almost before you leave the starting gate. The payout versus cost isn’t great, meaning you’ll have to replay missions several times to earn enough bolts to become strong enough. On the upside, a skilled player can overcome some of the disparity.
In addition to the stuff you find, there is a rotation of vehicles and weapons on sale for tokens bought with real-world currency. Some vehicles might look like roller skates, a knight’s helm, or some Volkswagen-styled vans, including one that looks like Scooby-Doo‘s Mystery Machine. The downside of these vehicles and their upscaled power-levels is there does not appear to be any way to purchase them with in-game funds.
Looks like someone spilled some jelly.
Controlling the game is simple, and comes in two flavors: button controls and gyroscopic controls. Both work amazingly well, feeling very tight and fluid. In fact, these are some of the best touchscreen controls we’ve used in a driving game, while the tilt only has that “need to keep it level” thing working against it– a minor nuisance. As for weapons? Just point your car at the zombies, and it does the rest.
The graphics are solid, though telling which zombies are which can be difficult; since they have different abilities, this really does matter. The soundtrack is set to a nice rock style of traveling music. As much fun as the game is, it does carry two particular flaws. One is that even after some updates, the game has a tendency to crash randonly (including the moment we completed a stage, necessitating a replay). The other is that lag occasionally sets in when there are a lot of zombies around.
Overall, Gears & Guts is a really fun game which does a lot of things right. The crashing and lag are the biggest strikes against it, and we hope that they will eventually get those kinks worked out.