Tank! Tank! Tank! Review

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November 27, 2012 by GEL

Wii U Review

There were a handful of Wii U exclusives at launch, and Tank! Tank! Tank! was probably the one you hadn’t heard much about. That might not be such a bad thing.

Though only available on Wii U, Tank! Tank! Tank! is not actually a new game. Rather, it’s a port of an arcade game from 2009, and it definitely feels like it. The original arcade game was little more than a multiplayer tank brawl: 1-4 players could either battle it out in free-for-all, two-on-two team battles, or perhaps most intriguingly, team up against swarms of giant robotic monsters in a mode strikingly reminiscent of Earth Defense Force (EDF). The home port contains all these modes while adding two things: a Wii U centric My Kong mode and a Story Mode.

In My Kong, the gamepad takes a picture of the player’s face, and it’s textured onto a giant pink gorilla. The player with the gamepad then controls the gorilla, while the other three try to take him down. Meanwhile, the story mode can be played in 2-player co-op, which is reminiscent of EDF. In fact, the way the menus are laid out, it looks like EDF. Combine the operator girl’s voice, and it sounds eerily similar to EDF.

As for the lackluster story mode, it has characters and some banter, but it’s never explained who the enemies are or what the characters are doing. The player assumes the role of a tank driver for some army-like group that fights giant robot monsters. But not every game needs an Oscar-worthy plot, and I’m okay with this. Besides, it’s supposed to play out like an arcade game anyway.

The game is neither visually impressive nor is it repulsive. Everything is bright and colorful, and all the buildings are destructible. It lacks scale, but makes up for it in enemy variety. The frame rate drops, and there is some lag every now and then, even in single player. It seems as though Tank! Tank! Tank! isn’t quite as optimized as it should be.

Tank! Tank! Tank! has a few redeeming qualities, but could have been much, much, much better.

The controls are simple enough to allow casual game play. Use the analog stick or d-pad to move, and press any button to shoot. There are no dual-stick shooting or alternate firing methods: simply move and shoot. Even y-axis aiming is handled automatically. Though simple, there’s a bit of fun to be had. It does, at least, have one twist: enemies drop power-ups that give you far more powerful special weapons. These limited ammo power-ups feed a tiny bit of variety into an otherwise monotonous tank shooter. That is, until you receive access to more tanks.

As you clear missions in story mode, you earn medals which unlock new tanks. These are divided into a variety of categories like wheel and hover. Each have their own special weapons. Some of these get pretty bizarre, too. For example, one vehicle is a hovercraft toting a giant trumpet (my personal favorite). Better still, the announcer (who never shuts up) has special quotes for each weapon. Nothing is funnier than when he screams “Dance to the mu~sic” as I destroyed waves of robot mantises with my giant hover-trumpet.

While it offers up hours of mindless fun, there are flaws too numerous to ignore. The story mode is limited to 1-2 players, most likely a result of the game’s operational issues. There are several tanks unlocked in story mode that cannot be used in other modes. The biggest flaw: there’s no online play. Launching a three year old port of a multiplayer centered arcade title on a console that’s selling point has been its immersive online community/multiplayer is simply unacceptable. Online play is to be expected, and as a result, Tank! Tank! Tank! falls below standard.

The Breakdown:

Presentation – With bright and colorful and a decent amount of detail, it does little more than meet industry standards.

Optimization – Occasional frame rate drops and sound stutters, even in single player.

Ingenuity – An arcade-style tank game not far from what’s found in Tokyo Wars.

Sound – Cringingly consists of blaring fanfares and noisy announcers.

Entertainment – Simple and cheesy arcade-style fun crippled by lack of online play.

While Tank! Tank! Tank! delivers exactly the kind of cheesy arcade-style fun many were hoping for, the lack of online play and a few strange omissions make this title suffer. If this game had incorporated an online component, and wasn’t full-priced, it would gather a tremendous following. Unfortunately, it doesn’t, and Tank! Tank! Tank! will probably… what’s the word?

GamerCheese Score: 6 out of 10

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