Game Reviews

Tank Warz

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| Tank Warz
Tank Warz
| Tank Warz

While tanks have proven highly effective on battlefields, their use is limited by terrain.

They’re great on flat expanses of land where their robustness and power can drive a wedge through any defence, but place them in more extreme terrain and their value is questionable.

Tank Warz fits this description too. While it’s a solid, punchy Worms clone, it’s hampered by a lack of mobility.

Tanks for the tribute

While it takes obvious inspiration from Team 17’s turn-based blaster, complete with a side-on 2D view, angle-based firing system and comically deformable terrain, Tank Warz differs by placing you in control of a single unit.

In order to compensate for this limited control you can customise your tank to your heart’s content, buying different main and secondary weapons, a tougher chassis and up to four single-use power-ups. Credits for these modifications are earned through play.

It has to be said that the opening menus are a bit of a mess. The two modes on offer are not named, relying on a pretty vague picture to signify what they involve. Also, once you’ve selected your mode there’s no option to go back, forcing you to quit out altogether if you entered by mistake.

Of the two modes, one involves a fairly dull trundle from left to right, taking out missiles as they launch in front of you. The other is the main Worms-like mode, enabling you to face three, four or five enemies in a random arena selection.

Think tank

The combat is satisfyingly explosive, with some surprisingly varied tank designs letting off an equally varied array of destructive ordinance.

Some weapons (like the default Tomahawk) act like the familiar Worms rocket, causing decent splash damage. Others pack less of an initial punch but cause continuous damage over time (such as the poison cloud-producing Thanatos).

The actual aiming of these weapons takes some getting use to. While there’s a familiar touch-and-drag system to set the angle of your shot, the angles themselves are quite limited. This can prove frustrating in one way, but it also encourages you to make use of the increasingly irregular terrain to find more extreme attacking angles.

One thing that you probably won’t get used to is the pace of each fight. With even the weakest tank armour capable of taking a serious pounding, fights can be protracted affairs, especially when there are five combatants in the field. The ability to speed-up your rivals' turns would be nice.

Immobile warfare

But the game's largest problem remains its lack of mobility. Despite the Worms-like deformable terrain, the tanks themselves behave semi-realistically, which means movement around each level is often severely restricted.

It’s all too easy to get yourself stuck in a fairly small crater, with your only recourse being to try and blast yourself an exit – an unpredictable outcome that usually leads to self-inflicted damage.

This limitation on movement has a further undesired effect. As war is usually waged from within a few virtual metres of your starting location, the outcome of each battle is too often determined by your seemingly random starting position.

Beginning a round on higher ground and on the edge of the map or with a handy overhang blocking off many angles of attack invariably hands you the initiative. Yet another round with fewer adversaries could see you exposed and in the middle of the action, leading to an absolute pounding.

Tank Warz is a decent turn-based action game, but a sluggish pace combined with poor mobility – not to mention the absence of a structured single-player mode and no multiplayer options – place it well behind others in the genre.

Tank Warz

Tank Warz is a decent turn-based action game that, like an early tank model, suffers from a lack of pace and mobility
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.