Review: Tank! Tank! Tank!

This Wii U launch title delivers frantic action, but little depth.

By Kyle England. Posted 12/14/2012 10:00 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Hilarious presentation; having a wide array of interesting monsters; includes many unique tanks with cool weapons; fun multiplayer modes
Poison Mushroom for...
Control issues; repetitive missions; no online play; being better suited to the arcade

If there’s one thing the Japanese do incredibly well, it’s make crazy monster movies. Not a day goes by without a Japanese city being ravaged by some form of mechanical mutant menace from outer space, if you are to believe the cultural phenomenon known as kaiju (giant monster movies). Yes, it’s been depicted in films and video games for over half a century, and now the kaiju has come to Wii U in the form of Tank! Tank! Tank! It was originally an arcade game made in 2009, and Namco has now ported Tank! to Nintendo’s new system as a launch title. Unfortunately, though, the home console format isn’t really the best fit for this three-year-old arcade game.

Tank! Tank! Tank! is an incredibly simple game. There are monsters attacking in the city and countryside. You have a tank with weapons. You shoot monsters. Monsters go boom. It’s standard arcade fare, and this over the top action is what Tank! does best. A wide variety of monsters, robots and bosses come at you full force, and the action never stops.

The presentation in this game is quite polished, and I love the quirkiness of the entire affair. Tank! Tank! Tank! never seems to take itself seriously, and has a healthy dose of Japanese-style craziness all round. My favorite touch is definitely the picture icons that players can choose from. Pick from a few dozen crazy templates, and you’ll then be prompted to take a snapshot of your mug with the Wii U GamePad which then appears as your avatar above your tank during the game.

The game also has a wide variety of tanks to pilot. In the single player mode, you can unlock more than a dozen tanks, each with its own weapons and stats. Battling with tanks in missions earns you experience, which in turn levels up tanks and increases their capabilities. It’s a very shallow leveling system, but it can be rewarding to level up your favorite tanks so you can wreck face.

It’s too bad then, that piloting these tanks can sometimes be a bother. From the moment you pick up the controller, it’s obvious that Tank! was originally an arcade game. You can use any controller that is compatible with Wii U to play as the button layout is elementary. Every single button shoots, and both joysticks and the control pad move. However, this is not dual analog control. Up and down moves forward and back, and left and right turn… well, left and right. This means there’s no manual aiming here, which is quite the nuisance. Sometimes, I found my tank at the mercy of the game’s auto-aiming system. It works most of the time, but there were times where my reticule would decide to target something off in the distance, and I had no say in the fact that my camera angle would be adjusted accordingly. This control style might have worked in an arcade setup, but it’s definitely not optimized for consoles.

As for modes, Tank! Tank! Tank! has a single player mode and four different multiplayer offerings. The single player mode is a series of various missions where you must blast different monsters in different locales. The missions are strung along by a very barebones story, so the fun is all to be had in the simple joys of blasting. Sadly, Tank! thinks I enjoy playing these missions much more than I actually do.

The missions themselves are short and action-packed, but the level progression system in place really boggles my mind. After playing multiple missions in a row, I would often be hit with a roadblock. Every five to six missions or so, the game doesn’t open the next mission. Instead, it requires the player to go back to previous missions and replay them using different tanks in order to earn enough medals to open new levels. This process often entails having to replay the same missions up to three or four times, and this gets tiring pretty quickly as it serves no purpose other than to prolong the single player mode.

On the flip side, the multiplayer modes are loads of fun, provided you have friends to play them with. The modes have you either battling monsters alongside your friends, or fighting against each other. One mode that I had the most fun with was called “My Kong,” where one player using the Wii U GamePad controls a monster attacking the other players in tanks. This mode was designed specifically for Wii U, and actually has a good control scheme on the GamePad, fancy that! However, the multiplayer in Tank! Tank! Tank! is just for your buddies in the living room; there’s no online functionality to be found at all. The battle modes would be perfect for online matches and internet capabilities would really extend the longevity of this game.

Speaking of longevity, that’s what Tank! Tank! Tank! lacks. The multiplayer modes are good for a laugh, but there’s little depth. Unlocking everything in single player can last a good while, but most of that time will be spent replaying levels literally dozens of times. I can see how this game is great in an arcade setting where you only play for a few minutes at time, but on a console, Tank! loses its luster pretty quickly. There is just not enough additional content to keep you going. Perhaps if the game had been tweaked to be better suited for a home console, this would not have been a problem.

While Tank! Tank! Tank! has the potential to be fun at times, it doesn’t stand out when compared to other titles Wii U has to offer. Control issues, repetitive modes, and the lack of features keep it from being a great game. It’s not worth the price of admission either. Tank! would be a pretty good value as a $10 eShop release, but as a retail title, it’s nothing spectacular. The charm that this game has isn’t enough to save it from the pile of mediocre launch games where it is destined to end up.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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