A lot of people have pointed out the strange dichotomy of having Gears of Wars characters crossed with Pop figures. It’s always firmly in the negative towards the latter as well. No one I know seems to like them, yet they’re everywhere. So who’s buying them? Either way, Gears Pop! exists and I’ve dived in for a few hours to see if it’s a worthy contender to Clash Royale.
It’d be easy to discuss what makes Gears Pop! similar to Clash Royale so we’ll focus on how it’s different. Aiming to bring over some of the elements of the main series there’s a cover system in Gears Pop! It’s cover more in name than anything else.
In practice, it’s essentially a point claiming system. You’ll send a unit down one of two lanes and if they’re cover claiming type you will capture that point. Doing this in both lanes allows you to deploy your other units further up the board.
It doesn’t require too much thought, you just have to hope you get cheaper cover capturing units than your opponent does. And once the game hits the stage where you get double energy it just becomes a case of throwing down units as quickly as you can and hoping you destroy more of than their defences than they do. Not because the game lacks depth but because your energy replenishes so quickly you don’t have to worry about the tactical aspect too much.
There are also ultimate abilities to help turn the tide of battle. This can be a swarm of Wretches that spawn from an emergence hole you can create anywhere on the board where they will then rush the enemies’ outposts. Or it can be the Hammer of Dawn where you can rain down orbital laser fury on your opponent.
Now, whilst these are cool and it’s great to see the Hammer of Dawn find it’s way into the game, you’ll often find both players will just immediately use their ultimate as soon as they’re available without any thought beyond that because there’s not much need for it.
A lack of in-depth tactics isn’t going to be an issue for everyone and it doesn’t stop Gears Pop! from being a pretty fun game. Those frantic finishes I mentioned do make winning feel excellent because of the tension it creates. Plus, if you’ve never played a Clash Royale style game and there’s a chance that a lot of Gears fans won’t have, then you’ll enjoy it more by not having your impression tainted by the gold standard of the genre.