Tank! Tank! Tank! (unedited) – 7/10

(This is the original unedited draft of the review. To read the edited version, check out GamerCheese: http://gamercheeese.com/2012/11/27/tank-tank-tank-review/)

Well, the WiiU is here and with its release comes a deluge of gamers looking for something to play on it. It’s here that we slam face-first into the console’s biggest hiccup: nearly everything on it is a port of a game most people already own! So what’s new and exclusive to the WiiU? New Super Mario Bros. U, ZombiU, Nintendo Land, Scribblenauts Unlimited, and one other game: Tank! Tank! Tank! With perhaps the best box art in years and next to no press, Tank! Tank! Tank! is sure to cause many gamers to ask one very important question: Is it any good? The answer, however, is “Kinda, yeah but…”

Though only avalible on WiiU, Tank! Tank! Tank! is not actually a new game. Rather, it’s a port of an arcade game from 2009 and it feels like an arcade port. It’s almost awkward too as I don’t think I’ve played a litteral arcade port in years! The original arcade game was little more than a multiplayer tank brawl. You took a picture of your face and then 1-4 players could either battle it out in a free-for-all, two-on-two team battles, or perhaps most intriguingly they could team up against swarms of giant robotic monsters in a mode strikingly reminiscent of Earth Defense Force. The home port contains all of this and adds two things: the WiiU-centric My Kong mode and a “Story” Mode. In My Kong, the gamepad player takes a picture of their face and it is textured onto a giant pink gorilla. The player with the gamepad then controls said gorilla while the other three try to take him down. Meanwhile, the “Story” mode can be played 2-player co-op and expands upon the Earth Defense Force-style mode. In fact, now it even looks like EDF! From the way the menus are laid out to the stage intros to how the operator girl sounds, it’s EDF! However, I put “Story” in quotes because this game has none. Oh sure it has characters and some banter, but it’s never explained who these enemies really are or what you’re doing there. You’re just a tank driver for some army-like group that fights giant robot monsters. But you know what? I’m okay with this.

Visually the game is neither impressive nor offensive. Everything is bright and colorful, and all the buildings are destructible. While it lacks the sense of scale that EDF has, but makes up for that in enemy variety. At first some folks might think the original Wii could have handled this, but a closer look shows otherwise. That said, the game has a few odd hiccups. The framerate drops and there is some slowdown every now and then even in single player. Perhaps most peculiarly is the fact that when taking a picture of your face, the game’s sound stutters. It seems as though Tank! Tank! Tank! isn’t quite as optimized as it should be.

Control-wise the game is very simple. Use the analog stick or d-pad to move, press any button to shoot. That’s it. No rotating the turret while moving in another direction, no alternate firing methods. Just move and shoot. Even y-axis aiming is handled automatically! While simplistic though, I found the game enjoyable. It does have one twist though: as you play, enemies drop power-ups that give you far more powerful special weapons with limited ammo.

The Story Mode tried to keep players attentions in one interesting way: alternate tanks. As you clear missions, you earn medals which unlock new tanks. These are divided into a variety of categories like “wheel” and “hover” and each have their own special weapons. Some of these get pretty bizzarre too, like the truck with a giant shotgun strapped to it or my personal favorite: a hovercraft with a giant trumpet. Better still, the announcer who never shuts up has special quotes for each weapon. I don’t know if I can ever get enough of his over-the-top screams of “Dance! To the muuu~sic!” as I destroy waves of robot mantises with my giant hover-trumpet.

This, however, begins to reveal the game’s flaws. For starters, why is Story Mode only 2-player and not 4-player? You do very similar missions in 4-player split-screen so why not here? Secondly, why can’t I use the tanks I unlock in Story Mode in other game modes? But perhaps most of all, where’s the online play? I don’t normally complain about a lack of online play, but when you’re selling a three year old port of a very multiplayer-centric arcade game for $50? Online play is kind of expected.

At least it sounds alright. The music consists almost entirely of blazing heroic fanfares, the kind normally heard in giant robot animes. The operator girl sounds both familiar and unoffensive. However the announcer never shuts up. This will either annoy or amuse you.

Presentation – Bright and colorful with a decent amount of detail but nothing special.

Optimization – Occasional framerate drops and sound stutters even in single player.

Ingenuity – An arcade-style tank game similar to Tokyo Wars or Battlezone with an EDF-style mode. Not particularly original, but something we haven’t seen in a while.

Sound – Sound consits of blaring fanfares and noisy announcers.

Entertainment – Simple cheesy arcade-style fun held back by the lack of online play.


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