Saturday, November 03, 2007

Armada Tanks Review

Armada Tanks, developed and published by Enkord.
The Good: Simple mouse or keyboard controls, purchasable upgrades that beget different strategies, nice graphics and an informative interface, fast pace
The Not So Good: No multiplayer, does get repetitive
What say you? A 2-D tank game whose fast pace and constant action makes for some fun arcade gaming: 6/8

The gaming system of my youth was the Atari 2600, and it shipped with a tank game called Combat. The game features squares in a square maze shooting squares at each other. But it was pretty fun. Hoping to capture that simplified enjoyment is Armada Tanks, a single player action game where you blow up enemy tanks in a maze. That’s all I have for an introduction, so let’s move on with the review!

Armada Tanks features some nice cell-shaded 3-D graphics that are easy on the eyes. Each of the distinct environments are rendered well, the tank models look good, and some of the effects are pleasing. The clean graphics might not have any fancy shading or power-hungry effects, but Armada Tanks does look good. The simple but catchy music and sound accompanies the less-is-more graphics to produce a pleasing package overall. That’s all I have for the graphics and the sound, so let’s move on with the review!

Armada Tanks is a single-player only game where you must shoot and destroy enemy units, usually tanks but sometimes bunkers. You may also be required to defend a base or collect boxes along the way, but in general you’ll be shooting stuff. While Armada Tanks does feature a good number of levels, each of which is designed well with different strategies in each, the game lacks multiplayer so that reduces the replay value dramatically. Games are always more fun against human opposition, so it’s disappointing that Armada Tanks is limited as a single player affair. The game has you destroying a specified number of enemy units before advancing to the next level; each level comes with destructible walls that can be removed for strategic purposes. Armada Tanks has a nice control scheme using the mouse (the keyboard is available but not recommended): the mouse cursor can be placed anywhere on the map and the left mouse button fires in that direction (very easy to track moving enemy targets) and the right mouse button moves to that location. In addition, the path your tank will take is displayed on the map, so there are never any curious pathfinding issues.

While you are laying waste to the various enemies on the map, boxes can be dropped (by destroying indicated enemies) that contain health, invincibility, bombs, and other goodies. You are occasionally given an ally to help with the fight; they are competent assistants, although they keep stealing all the power-ups. The action can get pretty hectic when a number of enemies are present on the map at once. The levels go by quickly, so you are never grinding on the same map; this helps reduce the monotony of the game design. Each level and mission is essentially the same, so it’s good that individual battles are short. Armada Tanks does allow the user to purchase upgrades to their tank. These include stat upgrades, like armor, movement speed, reload time, projectile speed, and damage, and new weapons. I like the design of the weapons in Armada Tanks, as each of them uses a different strategy. The lightning is like a sniper rifle, while the rockets cause area damage and can be used against clustered tanks. Giving the user choices in their upgrades is a good way to tailor to different strategies in the long term: creating a quick sniper tank or a stout, powerful one is up to the user. The workshop upgrades are greatly appreciated and they elevate Armada Tanks past a simple action game.

Despite the relative short length of this review, I did like Armada Tanks. The mouse control scheme is very polished, the graphics are nice, the action can be intense, and the upgrades allow for user customization. Sure, each level is essentially the same as the last, but Armada Tanks does offer some nice designs that allow for different plans of attack. Armada Tanks kept me entertained for a while, but I do wish multiplayer was included to allow for even more value at its budget price. Those looking for a slick action game won’t be disappointed by what Armada Tanks offers.