I recently had the pleasure of playing Gearshifters for Xbox, and I’m happy to say that it’s an exciting arcade shoot-‘em-up that gave me some serious ‘Spy Hunter’ vibes. You drive through dystopian future, making deliveries under trying circumstances while taking down the lawless factions that dominate each of the nine zones.
What sets Gearshifters apart from other horizontally-scrolling shooters is that you’re driving a car rather than flying a ship like R-Type, helicopter in Cobra for Jet-packed soldier like Blood Brothers. The game offers a top-down viewpoint that lets you manoeuvre your car through streets while outmanoeuvring your opponents and shooting them to smithereens. The game starts with your vehicle equipped with just a forward-firing light machine gun, but as you complete jobs, you can upgrade it in various ways.
The graphics in Gearshifters are well-designed and add to the game’s overall futuristic and dystopian vibe. The game is presented from a top-down perspective, allowing for a clear view of the action, and the visuals are detailed and colourful. Each vehicle and boss is uniquely designed and the explosions and special effects are satisfyingly explosive. The sound design is also impressive, with a fitting electronic soundtrack and impactful sound effects for the weapons and explosions.
The game offers multiple primary weapons and a secondary weapon that can be purchased and attached to your vehicle. You can also improve your vehicle’s capabilities, making it faster, more manoeuvrable, and more resistant to damage. The game has a selection of charged abilities, and numerous skills that you pick up over the course of the game, adding depth to the gameplay and keeping it feeling fresh.
Gearshifters’ bosses are well-designed and require you to put all your skills and weapons to good use. They’re even tougher because you need to beat them before you run out of road. The game offers three difficulty levels, with the easiest giving you ample checkpoints, and the hardest turning it somewhat into a roguelike. There’s also a damage scaling option that allows you to adjust incoming damage between anywhere from 0-500% in small increments, enabling you to enable God Mode if you’d like.
One of the best things about Gearshifters is its fresh take on the side-scrolling shooter genre. It’s not only fun for shoot ’em up fans, but also for those into car combat games. The game offers a wealth of car upgrade and customisation options that make it fun to return to time and time again. The only downside is that there aren’t any additional modes offering quick doses of action, such as a score attack mode or an endless mode.
Gearshifters is an exciting, challenging, and fun game that has way more going for it than you might first expect. The bullet hell gameplay is cool, but the story trees, customisation and upgrades keep you playing.
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