Panzer Tactics DS (Hands-On) (Nintendo DS) Preview

By Adam Riley 20.11.2007 1

Wartime strategy titles are usually reserved for the realm of PC gaming, whilst consoles and portable devices are treated to strategy games that are more of a fantasy RPG ilk. However, given the touch-screen input of the DS is somewhat akin to that of a mouse, veteran developer Sproing has decided to give the PC genre a whirl on Nintendo's system. But will this handheld edition of Panzer be enough to satiate the vast demands of PC gamers and, at the same time, draw in the casual crowd that lap up anything in the vein of Advance Wars? It certainly seems like a tough challenge, but certainly not an impossible one...

Just like Sproing's other recent DS release, Undercover: Dual Motives, Panzer Tactics DS is set in a war-torn period

Screenshot for Panzer Tactics DS (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

Since the game is far more in-depth than Nintendo's own Advance Wars, it is definitely advised to take a run through the various training aspects of Panzer Tactics. The basics are all there, such as being able to use the terrain to your advantage, yet there is so much more included, such as certain areas of land being great to hide in, but slowing vehicles down or even restricting their own vision and making the subsequent situation far more dangerous as a result. Weather effects come into play as well (you can get a weather forecast of up to two days in order to plan ahead), with specific times when planes cannot fly due to fog, for instance. Not all vehicles can attack opposing vehicles either, due to the logistics of what equipment you have in your arsenal at any one time, meaning careful thought must go into what is used and when. After all, what is the point of a moving something with a ridiculously strong weapon towards a unit if it cannot actually do any harm to said enemy?

Screenshot for Panzer Tactics DS (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

Upon making contact with an enemy, the screen changes and a singular image of whatever unit you are fighting with (tank, infantry, aircraft

Screenshot for Panzer Tactics DS (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

The beauty of Panzer Tactics is that whilst clearly a lot of effort has gone into making it as authentic as possible and intricately in-depth, the developer has balanced this with ease-of-use to appeal to the general DS audience. The amount of information packed onto the top screen during play is astounding, but in the same breath it is just as amazing how it is all clear and understandable. This is a prime example of how to make best use of the two screens to save going through complex menus all the time. And you are certainly going to want that ease of use when traversing the massive maps on offer and attempting to beat the missions within the set amount of days (represented by 'turns', with you ending your turn once all units have been moved). On the presentation front, the colour scheme is suitably brown, grey and 'dull' looking, in keeping with the period, whilst the overall quality of the graphics is mightily impressive and even the soundtrack has a pleasing wartime feel to it. Panzer really does feel like the whole package.

Screenshot for Panzer Tactics DS (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

Final Thoughts

Whilst gamers eagerly await the new Advance Wars for DS, Panzer Tactics looks to be the game that beats Nintendo to the punch and definitely appears to provide a far deeper experience that will please fans of in-depth PC strategy games, but also not completely alienate the casual strategy DS audience. With a whole host of multi-player options promised as well in the final version, plus plenty of online Wi-Fi modes on offer, next month's release of Panzer Tactics DS cannot come soon enough!

Developer

Sproing

Publisher

10tacle Studios

Genre

Strategy

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I just saw that over on IGN this got mauled because its online element is too 'fussy'...shame, but I think the main game alone is good enough to warrant picking this up. The online element would have just been a bonus. Anyway, when the Euro edition comes, we'll be able to give it a whirl ourselves and see what's it like. I don't always agree with the reviews on the likes of IGN and Gamespot (as obviously opinions differ).

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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