When we were sent preview code for this game we could barely contain our excitement. Finally, here was a game that would allow us to indulge our life-long hobby of flower arranging! Imagine our disappointment when we discovered that the title was in fact Panzer Tactics and not Pansy Tactics. We're such cloth-eared fools sometimes.
Thankfully, this WWII strategy title promises to offer plenty of fun despite the absence of any kind of horticultural tomfoolery. Developer Sproing is attempting to find a middle ground between the stifling seriousness of traditional war-game simulations and the light-hearted feel of Nintendo's excellent Advance Wars series.
So while the game is looking to retain that all-important air of authenticity – with real units and missions based on actual WWII battles – the player is unlikely to be bogged down with too much in the way of statistical nonsense.
Gameplay is unsurprisingly turn-based and involves marshalling a wide range of units (yes, there's more to this game than tanks, thankfully) around a hexagonal grid-covered map. The major powers are all present and correct and the game offers the ability to play as either Allied or Axis forces.
It's all rather excellent, but arguably the most intriguing element of Panzer Tactics is the proposed wi-fi online multiplayer aspect of the title, which will enable you to recreate WWII's bloodiest conflicts with thousands of gamers worldwide. How ironic that one of the most costly wars in human history should encourage communication between different cultures, eh?
We've gotten our hands on an early build of the game and things are looking very positive at present, with the touchscreen being put to excellent use when it comes to commanding units around the battlefield.
For example, to move a unit you simply have to tap it with the stylus and then it drag to the desired location on the grid. Context sensitive menus mean that assigning specialist orders is a breeze, and although the option to use the more traditional 'pad and buttons' interface is always available, the robust nature of the stylus control means you're unlikely to do so.
In terms of depth, Panzer Tactics should keep even the most demanding WWII buff content. There's a diverse array of land, air and sea units, all of which are unique to each faction. Getting into the game is made easier thanks to some excellent hints and tips that appear in early missions, but from our very brief play test it's abundantly clear that the level of tactical scope offered is considerable.
Time will tell if Panzer Tactics has what it takes to unseat the superlative Advance Wars DS, but the strategists amongst you that found Nintendo's series to be a little too colourful and irreverent should certainly savour the more straight-laced feel of Sproing's title.
There's still no confirmed UK release date for this game yet, but watch this space for a full review as soon as it rolls in.
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