...6? Wow, a bit unfortunate given Infaune's backing!
Following on from The Starship Damrey, the second of the Guild02 titles has finally arrived on Nintendo 3DS eShop in the form of Bugs vs. Tanks from Keiji Inafune - formerly of Capcom and now under the mantel of Comcept. Whilst the more intriguing text adventure fell down slightly, can this unusual strategy game prove to be a surprisingly engaging release?
Real-time strategy titles can be extremely slow-paced and boring if not done correctly. Keiji Inafune and his team at Comcept aim to make the genre more of an instant impact affair with Bugs vs. Tanks on the Nintendo 3DS eShop. Instead, though, it turns into more of an out-and-out action blaster with not much thought required at all.
An army has been shrunk down to a tiny size and the battalion must keep fighting away against a constant onslaught of hazards en-route to finding a solution to their bizarre problem. Unusual comcep...sorry, concept, but intriguing nonetheless and good to see something different being tried. The game itself is rolled out in the form of numerous missions, each of which are ranked depending on performance (time taken, shot accuracy, and so on) and can be tackled on varying difficulty levels.
Players must protect the army's camp from ants, bees, and various other insect-like critters, or try to collect rations around the local vicinity, as well as go on rescue operations whilst dodging deadly drops of rain, plus several others on the same theme of blasting down the ants et al. Rather than commanding a whole squadron, however, the action all takes place with the gamer in charge of a slow moving tank, driving around the undergrowth, shooting down bugs along the way, checking the touch screen's radar to help with progress.
At its core, Bugs vs. Tanks is extremely engaging, offering intense situations to overcome and some intriguing presentation, inclusive of German voice acting (the soldiers are Nazi troops, after all). However, the clunky control system makes moving around slow and painful at times (perhaps purposely so to mimic real tank movement, but certainly not suitable here for a pick-up-and-play title), and the pesky enemy creatures that shuffle around can easily trap the tiny tank in a corner with escape almost an impossibility due to being hit stunning the vehicle and preventing any return fire for a short time. It is simpler to die and restart the mission.
Also, despite plenty to unlock along the way, objectives start to become all too familiar further in, meaning the variety starts to wane quickly and by the end, whatever enjoyment factor there was to start with, has begun to fade away slightly. Not completely, but still to a degree.
Bugs vs. Tanks certainly is great at first, and looks like it could work brilliantly given more development time and resources, as well as maybe some useful touch screen commands. In this download format, though, it is a case of 'it has potential' and for readers it will come down to whether or not something like that can justify the risk of £7.19. Given it is something unseen on 3DS so far, it might just squeeze into the 'yeah, why not' category!
Drive around various garden style landscapes in a slow moving, difficult to control tank, whilst firing away at numerous undergrowth critters intent on harming the battalion. The variety of missions is impressive to start with, but grows too stale later in the game - a time when the clunky controls also start to cause problems.
The 3D depth effect is put to great use when switched on, adding a great sense of realism to the events at hand, bringing gamers closer to the action. The camera angle allows for not too much detail to be revealed at once, meaning the speed of the action is quicker than expected, with missions zipping by without a hitch.
The level of detail put into the voice side is commendable indeed, yet when it comes to sound effects, the constant drone of machine gun fire, noises made by enemy creatures, and the odd boom of missiles grows annoying after only a short time, which is a shame as the tunes on the menu screen are decent, but will likely be missed as the volume will be turned down due to other, less favourable, factors.
There are several hours of play to be had with the standard missions alone, along with a local 1-4 player co-operative mission mode included for added longevity (not tested here), StreetPass functionality, as well as customisation options for the World War II tank chassis and turrets. The only drawback is how some objectives become too familiar later in the game.
Whilst The Starship Damrey showed a lot of potential but ultimately fell down, this somewhat underachiever actually proves to be the bigger and better of the two Guild02 titles released so far. Simple strategic elements in a quirky setting fit the portable nature of the Nintendo 3DS perfectly, and the only drawbacks come from a few repetitive missions, the unusual lack of touch screen elements, and somewhat clunky control system. Inafune-san's small test project is a pleasing success and would work extremely well in expanded format.
...6? Wow, a bit unfortunate given Infaune's backing!
Started off as an 8 when I first started playing...and then repetition kicked in, plus the controls started to get more annoying later into the game. Still good, though. Maybe closer to a 6.5. Definitely would benefit from more development time and an expanded scenario.