Game Reviews

Tank Battle: North Africa

Star onStar onStar onStar halfStar off
Tank Battle: North Africa

The World War II generation was undoubtedly made of sterner stuff - especially when compared to us namby-pamby young 'uns with our iPads and our soya milk.

Here's a group of people that became experts at making the best of what limited resources it had and putting up a solid front.

It's an apt description for Tank Battle: North Africa - a sparse, economical turn-based strategy game that plays a solid and finely honed tactical game. It's more than the sum of its parts.

Tanks for the memories

At first glance, this is strategy gaming as we've known it since the early '90s.

You move your simply drawn 2D units (which are initially quite hard to distinguish from each other) around a hex-filled battlefield. Entrenched enemies emerge from the fog of war as you creep along, waiting to be engaged.

For every turn, you can move your units a set number of spaces, and then launch an attack if there's anything attackable within range.

There are familiar strategy game mechanics like terrain, which can enhance your defensive capabilities, or buildings that enhance your attacking abilities. It's all as deeply familiar as the game's World War II tanks 'n' infantry setting.

Teaching old dogs (of war) new tricks

Tank Battle: North Africa cleverly hones this PC-centric formula for the iOS format.

Levels are compact, requiring only a little scrolling to see the whole battlefield. Your team is relatively small, and you move each unit individually, so there's no fiddly dragging and only a couple of tacked-on virtual buttons to flesh out your move set.

While the stages are pretty small, and the solution to most of the levels (which are split across two main campaigns) is clear, there's nearly always an alternative route or another approach you can take.

Well engineered

Tank Battle's purity could be seen by many as a lack of imagination, and it's certainly true that developer Hunted Cow Studios hasn't pushed any boundaries here.

It's a condensed, unassuming game with little that marks it out as a potential cross-over hit (though there's a nifty pass-and-play multiplayer mode), but discerning strategists will find it a satisfying blast from the past.

Like that World War II generation, Tank Battle: North Africa is built of sterner stuff than many of the flashier strategy games on the App Store.

Tank Battle: North Africa

A stripped-back, unassuming old skool turn-based strategy game that's been sensibly honed for iOS
Jon Mundy
Jon Mundy
Jon is a consummate expert in adventure, action, and sports games. Which is just as well, as in real life he's timid, lazy, and unfit. It's amazing how these things even themselves out.