Download of the Week: Gatling Gears is an explosive kick in the ass with a slyly tactical brain-box

Platform:XBLA| Publisher:EA| Developer:Vanguard Entertainment|Price:1200 MSP| Size: 1.48Gb

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Gatling Gears, from the same guys who made the rather great Greed Corp, sums up what makes so many downloadable console games great. Namely, it’s a fantastic balance of instinctive, gratifying old-school gameplay and clever, polished, modern depth. Ostensibly a bombastic twin-stick shooter set in a joyfully colourful steampunk world, it brings with it a liberal splash of satisfyingly complex bullet-hell gameplay, and even borrows a couple of tactical tricks from the world of RTS.

Whether usedsolo or in co-op, Gatling Gears’ explosive weapon trinity of gatling gun, rocket launcher and grenade launcher can cause one hell of a delightful mess, but there’s more to it than that. Grenades act as a kind of localised air strike, targeted with a separate cursor from your normal weapons,which addsa whole new element of controlover on-screen space beyond merely surviving and shooting. With different enemy classes using their wildly varying properties to set up complex traps and cross-fires, you’ll need a fast tactical brain as well as well as a fearsome bullet-lust in order to manage the organised chaos around you. Also, the bosses are great. They’re eemingly impossible to dent at first, but you’ll feel like an unholy badass when your well-thought-out battle plan butter-knifes them to an early grave.

Want more DLC?Check these out…

Outland|XBLA| 800MSP
More bullet-hell, this time in the form of a slick Prince-of-Persia-meets-Metroid platformer. It’s big, clever and beautiful.

Age of Booty|XBLA| 200MSP
Pirate-obsessive Justin swears by Capcom’s cartoon pirate strategy game. And given that it’s currently selling for an insanely cheap 200 MSP, now is a great time to find out why.

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