During our interview with David Jaffe, he recommended “Tank! Tank! Tank!” as one of several games he liked on the show floor so I checked it out in the dwindling time remaining on day three. The game’s being made by Namco Bandai, who is also bringing Tekken Tag Tournament over to the Wii U.
Playing the game, I definitely felt similarities to Earth Defense Force in terms of fast paced arcade style play and what seemed to be an intended cheesiness. Don’t expect any fantastic cutting edge graphics in this game, just an emphasis on easy to get into, fun, frantic action. Why is it so much like an arcade game? Well, after E3 I found out that it was an arcade game first before coming to the Wii U.
The Tank! Tank! Tank! demo had a boss battle and free-for-all mode. The game features up to four players, with three vertical slices on the TV and one player looking at the Wii U gamepad screen. I joked and asked a Namco Bandai game tester playing with me why the game wasn’t “Tank! Tank! Tank! Tank!” and he could only laugh and shrug it off. One “problem” with the gamepad screen was that I kept looking at the TV at the start of matches before I realized I should be looking down.
Similar to Mario Kart Arcade, you can take a picture of your face with an overlay of a soldier’s helmet or other silly items as your avatar. This floats above your tank in-game and makes it really easy to tell who’s who. This makes me wonder why Nintendo just doesn’t port Mario Kart Arcade 1 or 2 to the Wii U in the first place, but I digress.
In the boss battle mode, the first level I played had a challenge to kill 100 giant spiders that would appear gradually in the city streets. As we were blasting away at them, buildings would take damage and eventually blow up as they took fire. I felt the interface did a good job of making me feel the pressure as time wound down and there were only a handful of spiders to go. One odd part about the game was that I couldn’t really strafe as a tank should be able to by turning its turret to the side. However, I didn’t mind that too much after getting into the thick of things.
The next boss we faced was a massive three headed hydra, which must be the in-thing this year because I just fought a mechanical three headed dragon in Sly Cooper minutes earlier. I don’t remember too much about this boss other than the fast pace continued and he was mostly a pushover.
The free-for-all mode was surprisingly fun for being nothing special on paper. Just four tanks in wide open city streets, blasting away at each other. Maybe it was the feeling of nostalgia for four player gaming that rarely happens for me these days, but the friendly competitive aspect shone through. There were power-ups too like a “big boy” shaped bomb that could only be used a couple times but would take out an enemy in one hit. I found myself often racing other players in the distance for items, as I could see both of them as far as the level would go.
In the end, I could see myself having a lot of fun playing “Tank! Tank! Tank!” but I wonder if I could convince my friends to play it for long. For me, the price will be the biggest factor for this launch game as I believe like Earth Defense Force, it currently feels like it should not be a $50-60 game but maybe there will be a lot of content in the final version.
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