January 20, 2011
Tanks in video games can mean a couple of things. One is complete and utter domination on the battlefield or repetitive mindless shooting. NormalTanks definitly falls into the mindless shooter category. NormalTanks, from the publisher Beatshapers, attempts to create (as the title suggest) a normal tank game and it can’t get any more average than this. This game is a sold as a PlayStation Mini and it’s developed primarily to be played on the PSP. The game was originally made by Vasily Kostin for PC which you can find here.
NormalTanks is exactly what it sounds like. The player is put in a tank and asked to traverse an area to clear its enemies and obligatory boss with your trusty cannon and machine gun. There is no story at all to tell the player why they are in a tank or why they want to kill the other tanks or the alien looking bosses. You’re in a tank, there are many enemies, go kill them. Classic in every way but it works for this game.
The tank is seen in a top down perspective and moves around very similar to dual stick shooter games. Problem is since it’s on a PSP there is no second stick. So while you move with the directional pad, all your face buttons will be used as your aiming device for you cannon and machine gun weapons. The R button is fire and the L button is used to switch between the two weapons. While the controls are simplistic, they take time getting used to. The aiming especially can be really frustrating and doesn’t ever really feel accurate.
The graphics in this game feel classic and generic. While the graphics aren’t terrible; they just don’t seem all that inspired. I could say the same for the sound design. The sound is your generic rock music that changes up every once and awhile, but eventually loops throughout the level. This is one of those games where it’s ok if the sound gets turned off. Playing other music in the background might actually make the game better. There is also an option that is missing from the game that is rather frustrating. I was playing and got called to leave the room for a minute, well little did I know there is no pause option. Now, I know you can power down the PSP then come back to switch it on, but found it rather awkward there is no pause button.
There are 8 levels that add a little variety when it comes to different terrain (especially the areas that aren’t buildings or desert), and do a good job of introducing different challenges to overcome. One of the coolest tools that the player is given had to have been the spider robot. It was a welcome change of pace every once and awhile to control it, and take out some enemies with the suicidal minion. Just too bad there wasn’t more of these moments. There are a good number of different types of enemies, but they all tend to act and look the same with a little bit of difference. There are parts of the game though where the player can zip by every enemy not destroy anything and not take damage. Found this kind of weird considering this game excels when the players tank is surrounded or during a boss and the pressure is there. Probably the best parts of the game are the actual bosses. The bosses look pretty cool and actually are fun fights. There are also 3 different levels of difficulty to add replay value, but even though they do make it a bit more challenging… It just didn’t feel different enough.
NormalTanks is exactly as the title says. This game doesn’t try to stand out as anything superb, but it’s not a terrible game either. There is fun to be had in blowing other tanks up and taking down the bosses, but once you go through once there is very little incentive to do so again. While the game has a potential to be better than average, the game gives up before it can be an awesome tank.
Out Of 5
The graphics are pretty average and don't seem to be all that inspired.
Same generic music looping with explosions every once and awhile can get very annoying fast.
The controls never quite feel all that accurate and reliable.
The enemies while generic can still put up a fight and the game has a solid classic feel to it.
It is completely fun to wipe out anything that gets in your way and has some thrills but not enough to make it complete fun.