If there’s one thing that modern gamers can’t get enough of, it’s bite-sized games that deliver big action, and that’s exactly what it looks like we can expect out of a couple of PlayStation exclusives, Guns Up! and Helldivers.

There were plenty of big AAA blockbusters on display at E3 2014, but two of the games I had the most fun with are actually downloadable titles hitting the digital market later this year. Guns? Check. Explosions? Check. Smaller price tag? Big check.
Guns Up!
I had not actually heard about Guns Up! before E3 and now all I want to do is download it and get back to playing. It’s actually a free-to-play romp coming to all three PlayStation consoles and, according to the helpful booth attendee who was guiding me through the demo, it won’t be “pay to win.” Instead, you’ll pay for skins and the ability to progress through the game more quickly (if you choose), and online competition will take those “advantages” into account, meaning you shouldn’t get paired up with an over-powered opponent who booted up the game and just dropped 20 bucks to unlock a bunch of stuff.

So what is the game, exactly? The best way I can describe Guns Up! is to call it a tower defense game in reverse. There will be several modes of play when the game finally launches, but the map I played had me simply marching across a well-manned field of battle on a quest to destroy an enemy base.

You start out with enough funds to deploy a handful of troops and, as they progress through the level, you’ll earn funds in order to send in more soldiers as your forces start to dwindle. You’ll want to match the soldier types to the upcoming defenses and, as they make progress, you’ll be able to collect even more resources on the fly.

These resources can also be used at the push of a couple of buttons, allowing the player to drop in air strikes, place mines or call for a targeted sniper shot on a particular enemy.

There’s enough here to keep you constantly working toward success, but not so many options that you become overwhelmed. After a while, I found myself falling into a sort of groove, constantly picking up resources and placing them on the field where I thought they would help my team the most, then glancing down to see if my soldiers could use some reinforcements on their never-ending march toward victory. Coming up on a heavily guarded area? Drop a decoy to draw enemy fire. Are soldiers about to come crawling out of that tent? Throw a mine in front of it and watch as they get blown sky high. Need additional support? Call in some paratroopers behind enemy lines.

I was impressed, especially since the game won’t cost a dime to jump into.

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