Game: Tank! Tank! Tank!
Developer: Namco Bandai
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Available On: Wii U only
If there is one thing the Wii U has reminded me of, it is that there is still a major place in video game design for local multiplayer. The second screen of the Wii U Gamepad has already given me some of my favourite multiplayer moments of 2012. Enter Tank! Tank! Tank! which is completely devoid of any kind of online interaction, hell, it’s even based originally on an arcade game.
Although there is a single player campaign, it is mostly a grind-fest and is nowhere near as fun as the rest of the modes, which are all multiplayer. A simple stage based affair, you’ll either be killing 50 giant metal arachnids or facing off against a huge boss enemy. You can have a friend join you in co-op, but they will always be stuck with the base-tank, whilst you can upgrade and choose your vehicle. The story is told through simple static dialogue sections, and it’s a typically daft narrative; forgettable, which sums up the main campaign pretty well, aside from the repetition caused by the required grind.
Due to being so arcade-based, there’s only two controls that you’ll ever need to use. The tanks are controlled with the analogue stick (or D-Pad on Wii Remote) and every other button is used to fire. You don’t need to aim, as there’s an enormous reticule that auto-targets an enemy whenever you aim your tank towards it. The tanks themselves feel less like the slow moving units we’ve come to expect, instead they can zip around areas fairly quickly, which helps with the frenetic nature of the overall gameplay.
If the single player is a big disappointment, then the multiplayer modes are a complete triumph. There are four modes in total, allowing pretty much every combination of Wii U controllers to be used, you and like-minded friends can take on stages before facing off against a huge mechanical monster. It’s all very EDF, which is a very good thing. Grabbing power-ups that your foes spew out mean you can take them down more quickly, as these weapons are always better than your stock weapon.
There are also death match and free-for-all modes, which are fun but mainly a distraction from the other, better modes. Speaking of which, the best mode of all is ‘My Kong’, which gets the Gamepad user to take a photo of themselves, which is projected onto massive hulking mechanical King Kong type enemy. The other players have a time limit in which to take you down, but you have massive damaging attacks, and can go apeshit (pun fully intended) and storm around as a giant golden King Kong type enemy. Oh and you can also bend over and fire an enormous, map-long laser from your anal region. If it sounds crazy, that’s because it is, but it’s also tremendous fun.
Unfortunately, the problem that pervades most of Tank! Tank! Tank! is that content is on the low side. Ignoring the single player (because everyone will), the co-op mode doesn’t have enough missions, and there’s a lack of maps in other areas, too. So whilst you’ll never get tired of seeing your friend’s face with a silly hat on, or behind prison bars (seriously, the templates are genuinely silly, and will make you laugh), you will tire of the repetition overall.
It’s all wrapped up in a charming, arcade looking aesthetic, which makes the game suitable for all ages, and indeed, there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had in Tank! Tank! Tank! in a family environment. The audio is quite repetitive, especially in multiplayer, as the commander will shout things like “direct hit!” over and over, but it’s not too bad and adds to the feeling that you’re playing an arcade game.
VERDICT: If Namco Bandai had stripped out the single player portion and put this game out as a cheaper, eShop download, it’d be one of the best games available on Nintendo’s fledgling download service. As it is, it’s tricky to recommend even at the £25 price point that it’s sitting at. That said, if you’re a lover of arcade multiplayer, you’re going to get good mileage out of Tank! Tank! Tank!, especially when you have friends round, but eventually you’ll certainly be left wanting more; within a few hours you’ll have seen pretty much everything there is to see.