It’s been a few months now since I first posted about Gears POP!, the mobile game based on Xbox’s chainsaw wielding franchise and a lot has changed since that time but a lot has also stayed the same. Here are some of my thoughts in bite form…
Customization has been expanded a lot. New options have been regularly arriving for players to add variety to the appearance of their character. Each “season” brings a unique set of armour for players to strive for, if they can reach the bronze tier, and there was even a set of Halloween themed items. Players are definitely taking advantage of it and showing some individuality in their little avatars.
There’s now a Horde mode for players. When I first played the game there wasn’t anything for players not wanting to go PvP so this helps to a degree. You do need to join a crew though before you can play it which is frustrating because it’s not that easy to see if any of your Xbox friends are in groups and I’d prefer to join a team I might know.
Games can still be decided on who has spent the most credits on their pins. Early in a season as players are working their way back through tiers it’s easy to run into people who’ve got high level pins that are far tougher than your own. And when it comes down to pitting your pins against them you’re going to find it harder to win. Grinding for credits via the missions and reward crates can help you get there eventually but players buying into the game are more likely to max out their pins WAY faster.
Game balance with pins is sometimes off. As players progress through tiers they get the opportunity to win additional character pins that they can use in battle. If you’re lucky to get them in a crate or purchase from the store you might get a few advantages over other players. A big one lately has been General RAAM who may be the most expensive pin to play in the game but is also the most devastating too. You get a character that plays like a Locust Butcher (a big, tough, melee character) but with the bonus of a Kryll swarm that’s effectively a smart bomb against cheaper/weaker units. New players can be wiped out in seconds which is a rough introduction to the game.
There’s more ways to earn credits for upgrades. The most recent updates included weekly mission objectives on top of the dailies meaning you can earn a little more in a week than you would previously. It’s still a grind to get enough to purchase coins buy it does go a little further than before. They even tripled the mission payouts over Halloween too so there is opportunity to get extra on special occasions.
Matchmaking is really inconsistent. There’s been plenty of times where I’ve been matched against the same person I played moments earlier. These match ups seem to be mainly determined by your tier and if you’re are within 100 or so of your cog score (your match win/lose score). Things like win/loss ratios don’t seem to be taken into consideration as I’ve found some players I’m against are vastly more skilled (or the opposite) leading to plenty of lopsided games which aren’t very rewarding. It gets much worse on a season reset as everyone is put on an even footing and forced to battle it out to go up the tiers. Expect a lot more losses in the beginning as the top players smash their way past everyone else.
I’m surprised I still play the game after this length of time, despite what I feel are balance and matchmaking issues. However I’ve had some good battles with players where either of us have won or lost within the dying seconds and that can be addictive. It still wish though there was a lot less of being put up against clearly superior players over ones that will give a fair fight.