Tank Troopers is a simple, cartoony-fun $8 eShop title for the 3DS that offers a basic single player experience and support for up to six players in local wireless multiplayer.
Tank Troopers is not trying to be a system seller. It’s a basic game that’s actually pretty fun if you know what to expect. Well, here’s what not to expect: any kind of story or deep gameplay mechanics or elements or online multiplayer. What you do get though is a simple, fun tank game that offers two ways to play through thirty single player stages and three modes of play in local competitive multiplayer. There’s no backstory or any reason not to dive right into it. The controls are basic and have A and B being forward and reverse, or press Up or Down on the d-pad to have your tank continually go forwards or backwards. Pressing L puts you in Artillery mode in which you go first person view and can aim your turret in 360 degrees, using either the gyroscopic control scheme (or not, you can disable it), while R fires your turret.
There are also a handful of different specialized Troopers that you can enlist into your tank crew. These characters also do not have any kind of bio, but they do have their own appearances and voices. Typically, you’re able to have three of these in your tank at one time, but, you can only activate their special power-ups one at a time, with a cooldown timer per character. So if you need some extra firepower, call on Gunnar, if you need speed for a short period, Felicity can help; and there are also other Troopers that provide healing, freeze powers, electrical attacks, and so on.
The enemy is a nameless, voice-less entity and the missions in single player are not connected in any way. Instead, they’re each one-off missions lasting anywhere from two to ten minutes, with a S-rank system for scoring that may entice some gamers to replay them. These missions range from simple ‘destroy all enemies’ to getting a large bomb pushed into their base to battling against boss characters, with the difficulty sometimes spiking at awkward times throughout the missions. Expect a good five hours or so to get through these missions. You can play them in either the Take Orders mode, in which the game provides you your tank and troopers, or in the Custom mode in which you get to choose your load out. Any coinage you collect can be used to purchase different skins and such, but, these are only used in multiplayer. Single player mode is ok and I appreciated the blend of literal tank controls and the cartoony, laid back design of the animations. The maps are actually quite large which, at times, became a nuisance because it would get difficult to find the objective or find the last remaining tank I needed to destroy. Overall, though, given the low cost of admission, the single player experience is not bad.
I have not had a chance to play multiplayer, even view the Download Play option in which you are able to let a buddy play the game with you on a single map with no customizations. It’s a stripped down demo basically, but you can have up to five players join in on the fun. I imagine it’s pretty great, but unfortunately I was not able to test this. Three modes make-up the multiplayer component including standard deathmatch, team battles, and Bomb Battle, which has teams trying to blast a large bomb into the enemy base, kind of like a reverse capture the flag.
At $8, Tank Troopers is priced fairly, but might have faired a lot better had online play been supported or if there were just a little bit more of a hook for solo play. Still, for a simple, short, and mostly fun game, you can do a lot worse than Tank Troopers.