Console launches are all about wide-eyed wonder and surprises. Unfortunately, not every raised eyebrow and cocked head is accompanied by a smile. Tank! Tank! Tank! might have been an easy recommendation in the eShop. As a retail title, even one at $50 instead of $60, it’s better to let it pass you by until it inevitably hits the bargain bin.
Tank! Tank! Tank! reminds me of the kind of game I’d be thrilled to drop a quarter into at the local arcade growing up. Bright colors, exaggerated announcers, peppy music and goofy robotic enemies are exactly the kind of thing that would have drawn me in. Short levels with enforced time limits and a repetitive formula might be fine for a handful of quarters, but as a boxed retail title, I kept looking for more. More variety, more powerups, more space to move around and, yes, more control options all would have made this a title to which I’d like to keep coming back.
The single-player campaign is a series of brief encounters with one enemy type at a time. Each of these mechanical monstrosities takes the form of an animal (bee, spider, praying mantis) or well-known fantastical creature (like a kraken or phoenix). You’ll be on the clock with a specified number of beasts to destroy. Succeed and you’ll earn a medal and unlock the next mission. In addition to your default weapon, there are yellow gun upgrade pickups and blue powerful special weapons to collect. At medal milestones, you’ll unlock new tanks with different speed and power stats. The big attraction is that each vehicle handles the blue and yellow pickups differently.
Unfortunately, the way that Namco Bandai would like you to earn more medals is to play every mission with multiple tanks. Each new vehicle used on an old mission earns you another medal. This approach almost entirely destroys the concept that individual tanks level up to boost stats. After playing the first mission 30 times, I have absolutely no desire to go back again once a vehicle has been leveled up to improve my score. In fact, I never want to see it again.
The boss fights, in which you’re fighting one enormous creature, are largely based on the luck of pickup drops. The primary weapon barely scratches these beasts, and you’ll need an upgraded gun or missile to succeed. More times than not, I failed because I ran out of time, and not because I was destroyed too many times. The appearance of pickups is entirely random, and losing because there weren’t enough of them is maddening.
It might have been better if the control scheme weren’t mimicked after the original one-button Atari controller. You’ll move with the left stick and fire with any button you want. The right stick might control something, but because of the game’s auto-lock, it was never quite clear if I was in control or if the camera was being rotated toward the nearest enemy. Most of the time, the game will latch onto something off screen or above, and I was firing aimlessly. As a single-player experience, Tank! Tank! Tank! is an utter failure, and even when a friend was along for the ride, I didn’t have much fun.
As a local multiplayer experience, it does have some redeeming value, though not enough to justify the price tag. There are four modes to choose from. In addition to standard deathmatch and team deathmatch, there is a mission-based horde mode. The best of the bunch is My Kong. One player is a giant mechanical ape (with the Gamepad), as the others try to take him/her down before time runs out.
This is made more charming thanks to the title’s best feature. Across modes, players are given the opportunity to have their picture taken in one of many frames. These are goofy dress up items that are the digital equivalent of wooden cutouts that allow people to put their faces on funny bodies. Again, this is the title’s best feature. That should tell you all you need to know about Tank! Tank! Tank!
There is a glimmer of fun if you’ve got a group of people who are eager to have their faces plastered on a giant robo-monkey. Don’t even think about it for a couple of months, though. It’ll be in the bargain bin. Don’t worry.
Here’s the Rundown:
+ Bright colors, peppy music
+ Your friends + a giant robo-monkey that shoots butt lasers = hilarity
– There are controls, but just barely
– Auto-lock keeps you looking at something just off screen
– The game is built on grinding to unlock more tanks to grind more
– Oppressive time limits
1 (RIP) to 4 are varying degrees of a bad game. A 1 (RIP) being a game you would actually pay money to not play, and a 4 is something that just fails to reach even the not-so-lofty level of “mediocre.”
Tank! Tank! Tank! was developed and published by Namco Bandai. It was released on November 18, 2012, at the MSRP of $49.99. A copy was provided by the publisher to RipTen for the purposes of review.