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Review: Tank Troopers

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Battalion Snores

I play my Nintendo 3DS more than any other system I own. I love the little thing, and have loved it ever since I picked up an OG model six years ago. But lately, I’ve been wondering about its future. Nintendo says it will continue to support it and has announced a few games, all of which look great, to back up that claim. I’ve also heard there may be more games that haven’t been announced yet.

Of course as we near the end of the handheld’s lifecycle, I kind of only expect the best from here on out. Developers have been working with this technology for more than half a decade, so anything releasing this late in the game should be doing everything it can to impress, or at the very least, should be doing more than what Nintendo has done with Tank Troopers.

Tank Troopers (3DS) 
Developer: Vitei, Nintendo 
Publisher: Nintendo 
Released: February 16, 2017 
MSRP: $7.99

Tank Troopers put a smile on my face just by loading the game. The theme song, with its whimsical take on a wartime celebration anthem, is fantastic. Stepping behind the wheel of my first tank and activating a Trooper, I struggled at first to fully comprehend the controls, but the bright colors and destructible environments encouraged me to continue, to press on and see just what this game has to offer. After several hours with it, what I found was a lot of good ideas and execution spread out through a thin amount of content.

Controlling my tank took some getting used to. Holding A or B will move it forwards or backward respectively, but you can also tap up or down on the control pad to do the same thing. That frees up your fingers when you press L to enter turret mode, which gives you full control of your gun. The game automatically turns on motion controls and, like with Splatoon, I found this to be the preferred way to control my tank. You can also zoom your gun for better accuracy and turn the mini-map found on the lower screen into a radar to help you better fish out your opponents.

Then there are the Troopers. Each tank can have several assigned to it at once and activating each of them requires only a tap of the touch screen. Troopers have specific power-ups like healing your tank or allowing you to speed across the battlefield and mastering them all is necessary if you want complete every mission of the single-player mode.

If my description has made the controls sound complicated, know they are not. For me, they were just quite different from what I had experienced before. After one or two missions, I had it down. In its brevity, the single-player mode does a great job of persistently testing your skills. There is a nice variety of different objectives that unfortunately causes the challenge to fluctuate wildly throughout its 30 missions. Anytime I had to push a bomb into an enemy base, I wanted to break my 3DS in frustration. But those moments were often overshadowed by missions with pretty brilliant solutions requiring me to use every aspect of the battlefield to succeed.

Completing the missions didn’t take me too long -- around three hours with multiple replays of a few of the more difficult ones. The game expects you to play these missions multiple times, but I couldn't bring myself to play any mission more than the minimum number of tries it took me to beat it. I completed the single-player mode on "Take Orders," which assigns you a specific tank and Troopers. There is also “Custom Tank," which allows you to choose any tank and Troopers you’ve unlocked with in-game coins to take into the same 30 missions.

That’s it for single-player content and if you don’t live near anyone else who has a 3DS and wants to play this game, that’ll all you get. Replay value here is just completing the same missions over and over with new tanks and Troopers, aiming for the high score. While I again commend the developers on the range of activities in these missions, they never felt like anything more than a snack to me. With maps as huge as they are, Nintendo could have done a lot more here to make the single-player mode into a meal in itself. Instead, that meal is reserved only for people able to access the multiplayer modes.

Up to six people can compete in one of three modes: Team Battle, Free-For-All, and Bomb Battle. Team Battle and Free-For-All are simple deathmatch modes while Bomb Battle requires your team to push a giant bomb into the enemy base. Do it enough times to destroy the base and you win. If everyone owns a copy of the game, the options in multiplayer are more robust, allowing for full use of each stage and whatever tanks and Troopers have been unlocked. If playing with Download Play, everyone is stuck with the same tank and Troopers and you’re limited to just one map. The map, Countryside, is huge, and playing with just one other person in this mode resulted in a lot of driving around with nothing going on.

Like I said above, if you don’t live near someone who also has a 3DS, you won’t be able to touch these modes. Multiplayer is local only and there is no option to play against bots, which almost feels criminal in this day and age. Not that the AI in this game is particularly brilliant, but it still would have been a nice option if the developers are choosing not to include online play.

There is a very specific person I would recommend play Tank Troopers. If you have a 3DS, and you have five friends nearby who also have a 3DS, and you’re all interested in playing Tank Troopers, go ahead and buy it because you are the only type of gamer who will get the maximum enjoyment out it. For everyone else, it’s an easy pass.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

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Tank Troopers reviewed by CJ Andriessen

6

ALL RIGHT

Slightly above average or simply inoffensive. Fans of the genre should enjoy it a bit, but a fair few will be left unfulfilled.
How we score:  The Destructoid reviews guide

 
 
 

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CJ Andriessen
CJ AndriessenFeatures Editor   gamer profile

Just what the internet needs: yet another white guy writing about video games. Also, I backed that Bloodstained game. more + disclosures


 


 


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