Yep, you guessed it, this is a game amount tanks. And for me, it immediately conjured up memories of the fantastic Tanks game which formed part of Nintendo’s tech demo title Wii Play, albeit a little more grown up looking. That, however, might just be down to the bland colour palette.
In Tanky Tanks you can battle it alone, with a friend in co-op, or against three others in Vs mode. Cooperative plays exactly the same as that of the single player, except you’re fighting the enemy tanks alongside a friend. Vs mode meanwhile allows up to four players to battle it out in a race to be the first to reach ten points.
The single player mode can be played in five (slightly) different ways, all with a tweak to the gameplay which differ from the normal standard mode, which is the entryway to play for the uninitiated. A couple of examples of mode types include “bombs only” and “invisible enemies”, amongst others. In all truthfulness, they don’t really provide enough reason to play through all the levels again, and the reason why will become clear throughout this review.
Tanky Tanks is pretty simple. You move around with the left thumbstick and aim with the right, using A to fire and B to lay down bombs. Shots fired by every tank in the arena will bounce off walls numerous times, and not always in a predictable way either, so you’ll need to watch you don’t get caught out. Sadly, you can’t use the right trigger to fire though, which feels like the natural choice whilst manoeuvring with the thumbsticks. That’s a poor decision. This leaves the controls feeling clunky, with you having to stop to fire accurately which leaves you vulnerable to losing a life.
The aiming feels oversensitive throughout, with no option to tweak, meaning trying to land a shot on an enemy tank whilst moving can be extremely tricky. Also, your aiming target can go off-screen like a mouse cursor, so can get lost and be difficult to find. This all means that Tanky Tanks, whilst perfectly playable, controls really poorly overall, and it’s especially frustrating when you line up a shot and somehow miss. Your aiming will seem bang on, however your missile will somehow glide past the enemy tank, leaving it undamaged.
The solo campaign in Tanky Tanks is pretty repetitive too, with little variation. Some tanks move, some tanks are bigger so are tougher to destroy, there are occasionally obstacles to work around, and you can shoot down some walls. Otherwise that’s about it.
In Tanky Tanks’ campaign, you start with five lives. There isn’t a way of getting an extra life, as there are no points to be earned, so it may take a fair few attempts to beat the game. You’ll soon get bored though. That said, the achievements will keep you going, earning 1000 Gamerscore from Tanky Tanks with ease. You get 100 just for completing the first ten levels, which takes minutes. In fact, you get 100 for every ten levels you beat. Hands down, these were the easiest 1000 Gamerscore points I have ever “earned”.
The more I have played Tanky Tanks the more I have felt it’s extremely similar to Wii Play, even down to the sound effects. It even looks very similar, with the arena walled off by children’s building blocks paired with a top-down camera angle. However, it just doesn’t feel as slick to control, and looks more bland on screen, clearly lacking colour. Even giving the tanks different speeds of fire or different colours would help the player identify them and improve how things look, but instead they’re all the same shade of green. You can change the colour theme of the battle arena from the main menu, but it’s hardly inspiring.
On a different note, rather oddly, as I played a small crosshair was fixed in the middle of the screen. I couldn’t do anything to move it, and it didn’t affect the game either. All I could think of is that it was a help to aid aim, as the target does not have a line of sight linking back to your tank. But instead it was just pointless and distracting.
Talking of glitches in Tanky Tanks, and after a while the music will come to an abrupt halt, and then you will be forced to play only accompanied by the sound effects. The game will also occasionally freeze for a second just before an explosion, and often drop its frame rate when dealing with several tanks and explosions at the same time. Rather peculiarly, to round things off, when you select “quit” on the main menu, nothing happens. You can only exit the game by using the “home” button on the Xbox controller. For these reasons and more, Tanky Tanks feels very rough around the edges, almost unfinished.
Tanky Tanks on Xbox One is a bit of a mess really. It feels way out of its depth on the Xbox, and instead would be much more at home as a £0.99 mobile app or, at a stretch, seeking out a new life on the Nintendo Switch, preferably only after some major improvements. As it stands, this is one battle worth avoiding.