Pub­lisher SCE De­vel­oper Valkyrie En­ter­tain­ment For­mat PS3, PS4, Vita Re­lease 2014

Don’t let the art style fool you: Guns Up is a vi­o­lent game. Flesh-stripped corpses rag­doll through the air, and the fallen splat­ter the ground with blood. And many will fall. In this side-scrolling, free-to-play RTS, ev­ery­one is ex­pend­able. You won’t mind, ei­ther, since de­vel­oper Valkyrie En­ter­tain­ment is gen­er­ous with bul­lets, the re­source you spend on units. You start with 5,000, and unit costs range from 50 for a squad of ri­fle­men to 500 for a sniper or heavy ma­chine gun­ner, but you’ll pick up more al­most as quickly as you can spend them. Spe­cial abil­i­ties – tear-gas clouds, land mines, air strikes, guided mis­siles and so on – en­sure you’re do­ing more than just send­ing in a stream of can­non fod­der. You can or­der units to fo­cus fire on a tar­get, or set rally points to co­or­di­nate as­saults.

Valkyrie has done a fine job re­tool­ing the RTS for con­sole, with units and abil­i­ties selected from two rows at the bot­tom of the screen, and item drops col­lected with a tap of Square. Things move along at pace, too, and the game will sport on­line and base-build­ing com­po­nents with Cross-Play across PS3, PS4 and Vita. As with all F2P games, mon­eti­sa­tion is the big con­cern, how­ever. One of 25 free-to-play ti­tles com­ing to PlayS­ta­tion plat­forms, Guns Up is due later this year, and you can sign up for an early-ac­cess beta at Valkyrie’s web­site.

The right stick pans the cam­era, and plan­ning ahead is key. The tents on the right here will keep spawn­ing en­emy troops un­til you de­stroy them

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