Please rate this review: Tank Battles / Battle Tanks
High: Hectic online matches with explosions and bullet flying a'plenty
Low: No ranking or stats system to work towards.
WTF: Airstrike time... plus bullet spraying... plus conveyor belts.
Tank Battles (or Battle Tanks, in North America) is a bit like bulk buy of the Playstation Store – while not focusing on an intricate experience, it’s a cheap and cheerful title that gives you enough value for money. In a nutshell, players control a tank each - the left stick to steer the tank, the right for aiming the turret – and must annihilate each other using mines and good old fashioned shooting, picking up a variety of basic power-ups on the way like invincibility and homing missiles. Kills are one-shot and your own bullets can kill you, so keeping on the move and quick reactions are essential. Bullets can be bounced off walls and pressing L1 brings up a line to predict your angle. If you have ever played the ‘Tanks!’ mini-game on Wii Play, you’ll be instantly familiar. The idea is overly simple but this means that anyone can jump in and have a good time right away. A nice touch is that when a player loses all their lives they are transformed into a stationary flamethrower, rocket launcher or guided-missile turret, or an airstrike reticule. Once killed again, they’re out of the game for good, but it’s a fresh way of giving downed players one last hand in how the match plays out.
The main course of the game is that 1-4 players can battle it out online in deathmatch, team deathmatch and capture the flag modes, but the number of online players is dwindling. There’s also a single player campaign mode where you take on AI tanks and completing these missions awards you skins for your tank, though they make no impact. This can also be tackled in local co-op with a friend (though it’s a shame that you can’t do this over PSN), a good idea since the later levels can be very tricky. The offering of 50 single and multiplayer maps is quite astounding, and though some are too similar to be interesting, but others throw obstacles such as conveyor belts and portals into the mix, and an unmerciful barrage of airstrikes once the timer runs out… just to make things more hectic.
Graphics-wise, Tank Battles is nothing special. Maps and the tanks themselves are quite small which means any skin you have equipped can’t be seen that well anyway, the visuals look a bit squished even on an HD TV and it’s sometimes hard to tell what you can and can’t drive or shoot over. With so many bullets flying about at once, it’s hard to keep track of them (and your own) and shots can often feel cheap. Surviving becomes more of a case of luck, and so the game is more frustrating than it should be.
Disappointingly, none of your individual statistics are recorded - outside of the basic player leader board high-score and score/kill count at the end of each match. This is no major tragedy what with the pick-up-and play nature of Tank Battles, but a rank system would have been a nice touch, and you’ll never know how close you are to achieving certain trophy-awarded feats, such as winning 99 online matches.
Overall, Tank Battles is a good example of a short-term action multiplayer which is best enjoyed with a few friends over at your house for a laugh; it’s a guilty pleasure and you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t enjoy exploding other tanks. While it’s not meant to be taken too seriously, the lack of any form of player development means that the game gets very stale over time. Still, it’s an accessible, no-frills title and is recommended for the casual gamer.
Overall score: 6/10
Disclosures: This game was obtained via Playstation Store and reviewed on the Playstation 3. Approximately 3 hours of play was devoted to single-player modes (completed twice) and 8 hours of play to multiplayer modes.
Parents: The game has a rating of ‘E’ by the ESRB, and features no adult language or gore. Suitable for young children.
Deaf and Hard of Hearing: The game relies on visual cues, audio cues have no impact on the playability of the game. Despite missing out on some sound effects, the Deaf/Hard of hearing will find this game fully suitable.
Last edited by HayleyW; 01-29-2010 at 04:29 AM.