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Review: Tank Hero
If the idea of being a train driver was too sedate for you when you were a kid, then perhaps today’s game review might be of interest. Tank Hero puts you in control of a metal monster with which your aim is to be the last tank standing. With multi-touch controls and OpenGL graphics, do you have the skill to avoid incoming fire while aiming your shots? Read on to find out more.
One particularly interesting challenge in game design is how to control any sort of articulated vehicle. To answer this problem, Clampfoot have really taken advantage of their medium by exploiting the multi-touch capability of Symbian^3. The control method in Tank Hero is based on two analogue joysticks, one for each thumb. The left joystick steers the tank, while the right joystick aims the tank’s turret.
Tank Hero's mult-touch dual joystick user interface
Tank Hero has two game modes, Campaign and Survival. Both are seemingly simple propositions. In Campaign, each successive level has a more complex layout of walls and obstacles; and pits you against a greater number of, and increasingly powerful, tanks. To make things interesting, the Campaign mode is the key to unlocking other parts of the game. Each map completed in the Campaign mode becomes available as a map to play in the survival mode.
Unlocking levels in Tank Hero's Campaign mode
Tank Hero has two “worlds” (i.e. environments), the first world looks to have a metal effect look. The second world has the appearance of a wooden table top, with destructible blocks which look like chunks of cork. The aesthetics in Tank Hero are a little ‘odd’. In as much as, it’s hard to decide whether the game is set in a toy-like environment or not, especially given the wooden surface world that becomes unlocked later in the game (when you get to Campaign level 16). Apologies for not showing screen shots of the wooden environment; for some reason our screenshot app couldn’t capture it!
An intense scene from Tank Hero
Moving on to the Survival mode, things get more interesting. As mentioned above, you can choose to play any map which was unlocked in the Campaign mode. Once selected, you continue to play on that map against waves of ever more tanks. Ultimately, it becomes too frantic to survive for long, This all adds to the fun of the game though.
Beginning a Survival round in Tank Hero
Weapon power-ups come into play with Survival mode. Points are scored (in both modes) based on a number of factors: remaining health, accuracy, number of kills, etc. After each round, those points can be spent on advanced weapons and ammunition.
The basic cannon has infinite ammunition, has the ability to ricochet off walls once. The next weapon is the Spread Shot, which fires three shells in a diverging pattern - this is Tank Hero’s shot gun. Next along is the Homing Missile, which locks on to the nearest enemy tank. Finally, there is the Howitzer, the game’s artillery piece. As such, it can fire over any obstacle in the game, and has an area of effect on impact. The Howitzer is more complicated to aim; the right hand joystick has to be used to set its range, as well its direction.
Buying the Howitzer!
The unique selling point of Tank Hero is its multi-touch dual joystick user interface. That, coupled with the speed of the game, means that Tank Hero is the most skill-based game I’ve reviewed for Symbian^3. The steering system with the left joystick is perfectly tuned for smooth turns and speedy maneuvers. The challenge is then getting your right-thumb to aim the turret in the correct direction. In turn, that requires you to look at what the enemy tanks are doing and do some forward planning for your next attack. This forms a highly absorbing game that I had trouble putting down.
I can’t fault Tank Hero, it’s a fun game with no real drawbacks. It’s in the Ovi Store for £1.50.