Every console launch has its fair share of sub-par games and Tank! Tank! Tank! is one of the Wii U’s. It’s hardly surprising that an arcade conversion wouldn’t be easily translated onto a home console in 2012 so we shouldn’t be too surprised that Namco Bandai’s arena combat tank-em-up is more filler than killer.
There’s just not that much to do. The gameplay quickly becomes tedious, the single player story is stretched beyond snapping point and the enemies and arenas are far too similar to each other to keep us engaged. As a £10/€15/$15 downloadable from the eShop, this might have been worth a punt but as a boxed game with retailers – even at its discounted price of around £30 – it’s not worth the cost for how little content there is.
There isn't much variation in the tanks. Or anything else.
The most interesting mode is My Kong, a game type that sees the GamePad user playing as a giant mechanical monkey with their photo for its face while the other players attack with tanks controlled using the decidedly less exciting controllers compatible with the Wii U. This mode, as with most multiplayer party modes in games, has some potential for post-pub hilarity but it’s flimsy and quickly becomes as monotonous as everything else in the game.
The story mode sees you take a tank, accompanied by a partner (either AI or a local buddy), up against various robotic enemies in progressively difficult – and boring – levels. It might be oversized waves of robotic spiders or bees, it might be giant three headed dragon or a mechanical building. They’re short levels, usually with a time limit of about three minutes, and they’re all basically the same.
One of the biggest problems that Tank! Tank! Tank! faces (aside from the ridiculous nomenclature) is the fact that it is so simple. You drive around with a control stick or D-Pad, you shoot with the buttons. All of the buttons shoot. There’s no manual aiming, all you have to do is vaguely point in the direction of some enemies and the game takes care of the aiming for you. You move around the level shooting until enough things have blown up and then you win. You can set the steering to tilt-control with the GamePad but that just makes things even less precise and slower so it’s more a ten-second-gimmick than a viable control scheme.
Even huge enemies end up feeling boring.
Well, the egregious tedium of the story mode doesn’t stop there. In order to unlock better tanks, you’ll need to complete levels. Each level gives you a new medal for each tank you use to complete it. You need a certain number of medals to unlock progressive levels. So you’ll need to re-do missions in different tanks in order to unlock later levels. That wouldn’t be too much of a chore if the new tanks were different enough – or if they unlocked for your AI or co-op buddy, who is always restricted to the basic tank. Unfortunately, the new tanks aren’t different enough from each other to keep mission repeats feeling fresh.
There’s really not much else to it. This is a game that was obviously intended to be played in short burst of multiplayer fun and as such, the story mode feels superfluous. If you’re going into this as a solo player, look elsewhere. If you want something for those group gameplay sessions, this is hugely overpriced for the amount of content – and enjoyment – you’ll get.
- It’s easy to jump straight into the action.
- Stretched story mode.
- Repetitive and tedious, oversimplified gameplay.
- Not nearly enough variety in enemies and arenas.
- Hugely overpriced for the amount of content you get.
Tank! Tank! Tank! works well enough and it does the things it sets out to do. Unfortunately, that’s not nearly enough to make a game that’s worthy of a space on your shelf at this price and it’s probably not even enough to warrant a potential post-Christmas bargain either.
It’s a game that takes tanks and giant robots and it makes them boring: that should tell you all you need to know.