It was a dark time when the Super AI controlling the world’s self-defense systems decided that mankind was no longer needed, and afterwards began turning all of man’s weapons against him. However — rather than sending a naked Arnold Schwarzenegger back in time — one man decided that he would defeat all of the evil machines by himself, all he needed to do first was build the most bad-ass tank ever. Thus goes the premise to Death Gear (out now, free), the newest top-down fully-3D twin-stick action-packed enemy-blast-a-thon romp from the talented team of developers over at DDJJstudio.
The game is controlled easily enough: with players steering their current vehicle of destruction via the left hand analog joystick, and controlling which direction their turret is blasting via an analog joystick on the other side. Using these inputs players will maneuver their tank around a ruined landscape as they strive to not only keep one step ahead of the AI controlled menace, but also to eradicate every last shred of them as well! The end experience feels somewhat like playing games such as Robotron 2084 — or Smash TV — except entirely handled with tanks instead, although this sadly means that Death Gear has some of the same repetitiveness issues found in those earlier games also.
During all of this endless corralling and blasting of enemy arsenal, as well as avoiding landmines and missile strikes, players will occasionally find new contraptions with which to upgrade their personal death machine. With these random parts — which include a range of missile launchers, machine guns, tank bodies, and mighty cannons — players will strive to construct the ultimate implement of mechanized-threat busting goodness. Although I’m not entirely sure how Death Gear determines when you find a new part, it will give you the option of either equipping it immediately — or storing it for later — upon finding it.
Speaking of found weapons, my favorite feature is definitely whenever a level contains a giant laser turret (which you may freely commandeer simply by ramming your tank smack dab against it). While inside one of these amazing things you will produce a non-stop torrent of laser-beam barrage (so wide that even Son Goku would weep from envy) with which you may cut down all of your oncoming foes with absolute style! If it wasn’t for the sad fact these laser turrets eventually get destroyed — either from enemy tank fire, or incoming missile blasts — I’d probably never have a reason to leave them once inside.
At this point you’re probably wondering how all of this enemy blasting — tank smashing — beam shooting goodness plans to monetize itself, and the answer quite surprisingly is: advertisements. Although we’re no stranger here at iFanzine to absolutely free games with no strings attached, we normally expect them to be rather simple affairs — such as City on Fire (our review) — rather than complex and fully 3D behemoths a la Death Gear. To receive an app of Death Gear’s caliber for absolutely free — with no strings attached whatsoever — is truly a rare gem in the iOS gaming field, where endless IAPs and frustrating cool down clocks normally tend to rule the roost.
However — on a somewhat odd note — Death Gear actually does contain a cool down clock, with the player being barred from future game play after they’ve died twice in a row. Although you can — every now and then — earn a solitary extra life by agreeing to watch an advertisement, most of the time you’ll just have to walk off from the game and patiently wait for your lives to regenerate all on their own. Since there’s simply no way to IAP your way around this, the situation — rather than coming off as greedy — feels more like a bartender who’s saying that you’ve already had quite enough for the time being.
About the only thing truly going against Death Gear is the game’s very repetitive nature, wherein all you ever do — from one stage to the next — is outlast your way through a fixed number of enemy waves. These survival fests are no slouch in the difficulty department — however — which means that, coupled with the curious lockout timer, Death Gear isn’t an app that you’ll easily blow through in just one night. The end result is that if you like free stuff — as well as seeing stuff blow up — and if you also like games such as Smash TV or Robotron 2084, then you really don’t have any reason to not start playing this right away!
iFanzine Verdict: With tight twin-stick controls — fully 3D graphics — and nary an IAP in sight, the Robotron-esque action of Death Gear is sure to please quite a few gamers (although the app’s overly repetitive nature may also end up putting off some as well).