Review: Tank! Tank! Tank! is repetitive but rambunctious fun! fun! fun!
You know those quirky little games that have no right being fun but somehow find a way to grow on you? You know which ones I'm talking about. Stuff like Earth Defense Force 2017, which looked incredibly cheesy as hell upon release – and suffered from severe slowdown in spots, particularly the final battle – but still had the kind of goofy, over-the-top spirit that made for a few fun hours of gameplay. Well, the Wii U's already got one of those games, and it may just leave you smiling a little bit – even though there's a little shame on the side.
Tank! Tank! Tank! is based on a popular Namco arcade game, one where players photograph themselves in combat gear that appears on the screen and then tackle a number of missions, either on their own or against friends. Essentially, the game pits you against a horde of ridiculous enemies, not unlike the ones in Earth Defense Force. These include a fire-spewing griffin, a three-headed dragon with the uncanny knack to swim, enormous spiders and giant robotic apes that would like nothing more than to sit on you.
As you progress through the game, you have one goal in mind – blast everything. You can bring down buildings and litter enemies with various weapons, including a powerful seeker laser and a heavy machine gun. You have a time limit in which to do so, so you'll want to do as much damage as possible, or it's game over.
The missions vary depending who you're up against, but completing each one ranks you up and unlocks newer tanks, although they don't really perform that differently from one another. They have five different classes, but outside of their handling, they're all very similar. Each tank does come with two specific weapon power-ups which gives incentive to try each new unlocked vehicle of destruction.
Tank! Tank! Tank! is fun, yet faulted. While the game is good for quick jaunts, and does give you the opportunity to bring down otherwise impossible opponents, it gets repetitive quite quickly, and unless you scamper for special weapons, there's not much change to the status quo. What's worse, the controls are limited to one stick support for forward and backward movement. You can't really roll out of the way of incoming shots, nor can you turn quicker for precise aiming and shooting. It drags as a result.
Worse yet, Tank! Tank! Tank! doesn't support online multiplayer, which is a poor choice on Namco's part. Involving friends is really the way to go here, as single player pretty much has you relying on a weak AI that gets itself captured too quickly (requiring your rescue – go figure). The local multiplayer, however, is great, as you and your friends can guide tanks using either the GamePad or a Wii remote, via split-screen. There are variations of modes as well, including one where one player can control the giant robot ape and try to crash the others before he's shot to pieces.
This game won't win any awards for graphics. While it's speedy and sufficient when it comes to destruction, it looks like something that could've easily been constructed on the Wii, rather than taking full advantage of the hardware at hand here. The sound doesn't do many favors for the game either, between the repetitive voice work (SHUT UP, LADY!) and the plain battle music.
On the one hand, I can see why someone would hate Tank! Tank! Tank!, especially with its nearly full price tag ($50) and its lack of online support. But in a way, it's goofy enough to moderately entertain for a few sessions, especially if you bring some friends along. At the very least, it's worth a rental, just to get squashed by a giant simian robo-ass. You'll never hear the end of it.