Review: Pocket Tanks


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Jul 5, 2008
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Pocket Tanks, by Blitware

  • multiple "shot" types
  • easy to use controls
  • two player "pass the iPhone" mode
  • no wi-fi or internet play
  • limited graphics
  • no tutorial/help for shot types while playing
  • no multiple modes of play

Pocket Tanks is a standard tank shooting game - varying the shot based on shot strength and angle of fire. This is the same version of the game that has been around on the PC and Mac computers for some time. And no it comes to the iPhone.

When playing the game, you can choose between one player or two player (pass the iPhone style). Unfortunately, there is no other iPhone multipler player mode - no wifi or internet based play. Much luck other games, I hope that they will add a peer to peer play mode with the new iPhone software.

When playing, you can choose you tank color, and put in your own name. If you are playing against the AI, you can choose the difficulty level. I have been playing with difficulty 5, and the AI tank pretty consistantly can hit me, so I shudder to think what it would be like for a higher difficulty level.

When you play, you are given a list of 20 "weapons" that you and your opponent alternate choosing. The weapon list is created randomly from the 100+ weapons that exist in the game (with a wide array of names and effects - tracer, roller, nuke, color bomb, dirt bomb, etc). Each weapon has a different effect (there are too many to describe here, but let's just say the effect are extremely varied). My main complaint is that many of the weapons seem to duplicate each other. Dirt bomb, for example, has the same basic effect as mud pie. Your and your opponent alternate choosing one weapon at a time for your ten shots (each game is limited to ten shots, and you get points for various types of hits). There is also a random option where the weapons are randomly assigned to each tank.

Once the game play starts, you and your opponent take turns alternating shots - one each - hoping for hits. The amount of damage (points you get) varies on the weapon, as does the need for a direct hit of a "close" call. You also have the option of moving around a little bit (and there are a few weapons that even move you - like jump jets). After your ten shots, the tank with the most points gets the win.

It's fun, and I like the variety of weapons. However, there is no sort of help or tutorial about what the weapons do. Without having some idea, you don't know if some weapons need adirect hit, if they do damage (or simply destroy the dirt, for example) or even if they need to be fired "through" the dirt or at an arc. The first few times (or maybe even more than a few times) are a hit and miss affair, testing what weapons work the best. You can test the weapons in the "target practice" mode, but with other 100 weapon type it would be nice to have a reminder of each weapon when you are choosing them.

I also wish there were more game modes - not just based on points, but based on trying to destroy the other tank perhaps. Or maybe a mode where you each have the same types of weapons. By varying the weapons between you, it is possible that one side may have all the "large damage" weapons while you are stuck with tracer shots and dirt bombs (that happened to me) making it almost impossible to win.

The graphics are very basic - not as good as the Cannon Challenge game I reviewed earlier, but suitable for the game. Sound effects are very basic (mostly explosion type sounds) but again, suitable for the game.

The game play is very nice, and uses the iPhone touch controls very well. You can adjust both the shot power and the angle of shot with sliding dials, or with a slight adjustment button, allow for very fine control of your attacks (which is needed).

All in all, this is a fun take on the tank battle type games, but I wish it had some features or enhancements both in game play (different modes) and learning the game (a tutorial for the weapon types). The game is $4.99 for the deluxe version (free for a trial version) and for that price I would generally like to see a little more refinement (especially in the grapics). Rather than have 100 weapon types, I would rather have 40 weapons but more differences between them and better graphics. Three and a half out of five stars.

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