Most of us here are familiar with tank missions that come up during FPS games. They’re mostly thrown in there as a break from all the infantry action and they’re usually over in no time as you mow down some enemies and shoot tanks in the rear. It’s a fun time, but do it for any extended amount of time and it starts to get laborious. That is the essence of Tank Troopers in a nutshell. A boring slog in a ten-tonne iron prison where you drive around in circles and try to blow things up that are trying to blow you up, all wrapped up in a cutesy package with no substance.
Get in there maggot!
Tank Troopers has you, surprisingly, control a tank and there are 30 different missions in the singleplayer for you to complete. There’s a wide variety of tanks available and they all have their strengths and weaknesses. Some have more protection but are slower while others are quicker but take a lot more damage. The tanks do have varying appearances as well, but they are essentially just different parameters that you cannot customise.
Where the game really falters is in its controls. While the controls are simple to pick up, everything feels extremely clunky and painful to use. The sensitivity of the aiming is terribly slow and you cannot change it to be faster. The sensitivity is tied to a tank’s “rotation” stat and even at some of the highest levels of that stat, it still feels painfully slow to shoot or do anything. Usual navigation controls also feel shoddy and sticky and given that this is what you’re going to be doing for the whole of the game, it’s really not a point in its favour. However, even with the clunky controls, it still functions. You can drive around and shoot stuff fine even if it’s not engaging to do so.
The 30 missions in the singleplayer portion of the game all have different scenarios that they explore. One mission might be a simple race while the other is a defence mission and they have to be commended for at least trying to achieve some variation. However, some of these missions are unbelievably difficult due to some shoddy design. One mission in particular had me almost throw my 3DS across the room. I had to defend 3 trucks from enemies that came from all sides. If one tank reached a truck or shot it from across the small passage, it was destroyed. It took me more than 20 tries to complete the mission and I only did it because I jammed one of the trucks into a corner and blocked it from enemies with my tank. That was the only way I could pass it and you need to pass it because you need to defeat a mission to unlock the next one. If you need to cheese the game in order to progress, then something went horribly wrong somewhere.
Other missions are simply just a battle of attrition. You fight these giant tanks that can take you out in one shot and all you can do is drive around it in a circle and lightly chip its health bar with each shot. I was riding around in one circle for 5 minutes and tapping the fire button occasionally and wondering what I was doing with my life.
There’s one unique thing to Tank Troopers and that is their usage of heroes called Troopers. In each mission you get a selection of Troopers each with their own ability. One might stun an enemy while the other shoots a more potent round. There’s a bunch of Troopers available and their implementation was quite solid with some interesting powers. It gave a bit of respite from the continuous boring drone of the normal gameplay, but it was still not enough to save the game.
Your own Betsy
The game also features a currency system that you use to buy tanks and you can use those tanks to play through the same missions that the singleplayer has. The regular singleplayer gives you preselected tanks while in the custom missions you can select what you want to use by purchasing tanks using coins you collected. Even this is deficient because you only really get enough coins to afford one tank and you can do no customization outside of selecting which Troopers you want to use, who you also need to buy. The mode adds no substance whatsoever and just serves as a “free mode” that you need to grind for in order to get something substantial going on.
Possibly the most annoying aspect of Tank Troopers is the soundtrack. It’s a bunch of stock military tunes that are garnished with some cheerful whistling that is just murder on your ears and your mind. It’s so unbelievably annoying that I was forced to turn the volume off just to withhold my sanity. The voice acting is equally annoying with a squeaky voiced commander lady shouting everything you are doing. Every projectile hit will have an extra “direct hit” coming from her which quickly becomes grating to the ears.
The visuals are also nothing to write home about with the only standout feature being the Troopers that are stylised according to their respective powers in a sort of anime style. The environments are bland, uninspired and boring while the tanks are also just flat and uninteresting.
The game has multiplayer with the potential to have 6 players battling out in various modes, but unfortunately I could not find a single game. However, from what I’ve seen from the rest of the game, that probably won’t be exciting either.
Tank Troopers really does have nothing going for it. While the gameplay is competent in some way, it’s clunky, unexciting and just nothing special. The missions may be varied, but they don’t detract from the monotony of it all. Go play Battlefield 1’s tank mission scenario and you’ll get a lot more out of that than in this game.