Tank Battles by Gameloft is a multidirectional shooter where you get to pimp your very own ride that also happens to be a vicious war machine. Follow general “McTankerson” orders, win tournaments, complete missions and kill your friends online to top the leaderboard.
Behind the catchy title above, hides another game that was extremely popular almost 40 years ago. I am talking of course about Atari’s arcade game Tanks from 1974. Tank Battles “borrows” the very same concept, controlling a tank on rectangular battlefield where you get to kill other tanks and avoid obstacles. Since we are not in the stone age (of video gaming) for some time now, Gameloft updated the graphics (yay! color), added upgrades, story, multiplayer modes and couple of other features to suit the needs of current gen players.
The solo campaign featuring 80 missions and couple of special events will help you get familiar with the game, learn the basics and how to properly maneuver your killing machine across the battlefield. Each level will grant you 1 to 3 stars depending on your performance and award you with coins accordingly. You control your tank by moving the 8-way virtual joystick that can be placed on either side of your screen and you shoot by tapping anywhere else. Controls are nifty and won’t lag behind, but they do require some “getting used to” as your tank moves pretty fast across the map.
Once you complete the campaign and get the “Tank King” crown, you can test your skills against up to 3 other players online. There are 10 multiplayer maps that you can play on, each one of them containing destroyable blocks, moving obstacles and conveyor belts, or simple annoyances like trenches that block your way. You will have to take advantage of those object and position your tank carefully, especially in 1 on 1 matches as you can easily track all the incoming shells and move your tank behind cover before they reach you. Four player matches, however, are something entirely different. They are fun, but you can hardly make heads or tails out of anything, let alone plan your tactics. The tank with most upgrades will usually win the battle and the best thing you can do is spam the fire button while constantly moving in all directions. Collecting some of the power-ups that randomly spawn across the map can help you greatly if you don’t die on your way there.
If you find yourself vastly overpowered while playing, it can only mean one thing. It’s time to upgrade your ride and boost some of your primary stats such as damage, speed or health. Upgrades can be done on various parts of your vehicle and they include huge selection of armors, cannons, turrets, mines, camouflage and treads. Each upgrade will require one of the 3 currencies, stars, gold coins or green cash. Stars can be collected by playing the campaign, the golden coins that can be acquired during battles and the premium green cash can be purchased from within the game or acquired (in small amounts) by completing objectives. One other way to get your hands on some green cash for free is to place yourself among the top 100 on the leaderboard that resets every couple of days or so. Highest tier upgrades will always require spending the green cash and would be interesting to see the difference between fully equipped “cash” tank vs “free” upgraded tank in 1 on 1 battle.
Free games usually come with couple of stings attached. Gameloft clearly knows a thing or two about the freemium model so don’t expect Tank Battles to be free-as-in-beer type of game. Beside the previously mentioned IAPs, ads are also popping in and out between missions and right after you launch the game. They usually promote other Gameloft games and won’t bother you too much (again, depending on your ad-stress level). Thankfully there are no gameplay restrictive timers to drive potential customers away and you can play Tank Battles as much as you want to. The story driven single player campaign is OK-ish, it will keep you busy while providing substantial amounts of gold coins, but what really makes this game stupidly fun is the Multiplayer mode. Sure, the idea behind Tank Battles is not original, but Gameloft did a decent job keeping the essence of Atari’s Arcade game while adding few extra features and updating the visuals to today’s standards. Give it a try.
By Dejan B.