Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Game Review(s): Tanks a Lot

Since I did my review of Tank Destroyer a while back, I decided to investigate some other free online tank-based games and see what kind of competition it has out there.

In the interests of getting lots of material out of a few rather sparse games (in terms of review material), I'll be mashing them all together.

First up is Micro Tanks.

If you're interested in a spiritual successor to the original Combat (mentioned in my Tank Destroyer review), this game has basic gameplay virtually identical to that of (certain modes of) the original Combat, complete with bouncing projectiles and oddly shaped obstacles. It does have some changes made, such as hitpoints for the tanks and the potential to damage oneself with a ricochet of one's own weapons fire, but all it's really missing is the sticky joysticks. It also has a single-player mode.

It does come with one major caveat, however-it frequently crashes, even in the relatively stable Firefox browser. Don't look forward to playing more than three to five levels without restarting.

A very different alternative is Bubble Tanks.

Graphically speaking, obviously this game is a tank game in name only. In fact, I consider it to be a bit more of a spaceship game with mild physics accuracy, the twist being that space is made up of a bunch of little bubbles. (The "mild physics accuracy" comes from the tank being able to rotate at will [any physics-accurate spacecraft would be able to do the same] and the way that your "tank" gains momentum; that it loses the momentum can be chalked up to the fact that it's a cartoony world where you can build technological devices entirely of bubbles.) It's an engaging game, but I can't really call it a good game for those interested in tank games. I'm more interested in the Bubble Tanks Tower Defense game, to be honest, and that one isn't a tank game at all...

Then there's something completely different: Cantankerous Tank.

Cantankerous Tank is one of those games that's a lot of fun for reasons that are immediately obvious.

Your tank can wear a sweet hat. There are other options, but this one's my favorite.

As you might guess from the fact that the game's graphics show the tank from the side, this is a side-scrolling game. And as you might guess from the tank's relative size on the screen, it's what's known as a rampage game.

That is, you rampage your way through the game, not so much fighting enemies as wrecking scenery and squishing bugs. Cars and tanks explode helplessly under your treads, buildings, helicopters and hot air balloons are destroyed by your cannon and rockets, and so on.


You can jump.

You aren't invincible; the aforementioned tanks and helicopters can damage you with their guns; unless you just aren't paying attention, though, it's pretty much impossible to be destroyed before the level is complete.

And that's assuming single player. In two player, another player can back you up with a gatling cannon-equipped flying saucer.

All in all, this format and this game are pretty fun. Let's see if there are any other good side-scrolling jumping tank games.

There's Zorro Tank.

Sadly, the best part of this game is that all your city citizens must release from terror.

That's right, the single best part of the game is the heavy-duty Engrish.

The game involves a boring little jumping tank firing its boring little cannon at boring little turrets. The controls are rather unintuitive, and just jumping over the stupid turrets is all but impossible.

The thumbs I am giving are the thumbs that point in a way that is not up.

Crash and burn.

The next game is another good one: Super Tank.

Like Cantankerous Tank, Super Tank has delightfully cartoonish visuals; unlike Cantankerous Tank, it also has interesting and inventive enemies populating its world.

Gameplay is probably best described as "like a Super Mario game, but you're a tank."

You have unlimited lives, so the designers felt free to make the bosses PITA (pain in the, er, posterior) puzzle bosses and things very much like them. This one, for instance, tries to smash you against spikes with its drill, and you're simply supposed to dodge it by jumping it. (This image is from after it's beaten.) There's even a boss who is defeated by jumping on a button at a certain time.

After beating each boss, you get a new ability or weapon; here, Super Tank has boosters that increase its jumping height... which I have cleverly failed to demonstrate.

This is an engaging, entertaining game, and well worth playing, although the trial and error against the bosses may frustrate you. (I still haven't gotten past the giant Jabba the Hutt-like crow boss. ...Yes, really.)

Anyhow, in summary, Micro Tanks, Cantankerous Tank, and Super Tank are all good tank games; Bubble Tanks is a good game generally; and stay your citizens away from the Tank of Zorro.

-Signing off.

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