Love it or loathe it, Gears POP! is undeniably one of the biggest mobile games of the summer. A cutesy adaptation of one of Microsoft’s premier IPs, it sees you forming your very own ragtag team of COG fighters and locust abominations to best online opponents in top-down cover-based battles.

Its reveal during last year’s E3 prompted a lot of grumping and moaning, with many left puzzled by its kid-friendly looks. After all, it hails from a series known for its grisly dismemberment mechanics and punchy guns with chainsaws attached. It comes as no surprise, then, that many are still critical of the mobile-only Microsoft/Funko POP! collaboration.

But I’m not here to give opinions, no sir, I’m here to pass down some helpful tips that’ll hopefully give you the edge in the game’s online Versus mode. While it’s hardly the most tactically demanding game out there, there are definitely ways that you can screw up a match if you’re not careful or haven’t put some time into formulating your team.

So, without further ado, here are some tips and strategies to help you put your best foot forward in Gears POP!.

Managing your energy

If you’ve put any time into Gears POP!, you’ve likely noticed that the vast majority of the actions you can take all cost power. At the start of a match, the little bar featured at the bottom of the screen will fill up very slowly. This gradually picks up as the match draws to an end and the action gets more intense.

When you’re starting out, each unit will cost between 1 and 5 energy points. If you’re like me, you’ll immediately gravitate towards spending all your power on units, but you should always asses the on-screen situation before making any rash decisions. For example, opting to spend power on a grenade can genuinely turn the tide of a match. You have full control over where grenades will land, so they can be used offensively or defensively at a moment’s notice.

Likewise, your Ultimate Ability has a variety of uses. You’ll start with only Emergence Hole unlocked. This one allows you to summon forth a group of wretches from underground. Just like grenades, you shouldn’t automatically default to using them offensively – they’re ideal for swarming heavies or shotgunners.