Gratuitous Tank Battles Review
They seem entirely necessary to me.
While I’m not sure the battles approach quite the level of gratuity as Positech’s last game, Gratuitous Space Battles, there are definitely a lot of tanks. Gratuitous Tank Battles is a 2D Tower Defense/Tower Offense game that offers you a ton of customization and ends up being surprisingly addictive. In a year that is already jam-packed with great games from small, or one man, studios Gratuitous Tank Battles manages to impress as well.
Gratuitous Tank Battles takes place in an alternate history where World War One has continued for over 200 years. As you may know, war always brings about technological advances so, while trench warfare is still popular in this world, bipedal Mechs fight alongside tanks and riflemen. This isn’t a game that’s heavy on story or narrative but I thought the concept was interesting.
You’ll start off with a tutorial level that teaches you how to defend your base from an attacker but my favorite part is that you can choose to play each level as either the attacker or defender. Defending your territory gives you access to a number of turrets that can be placed in specific spots on the map and these turrets are backed up by units of soldiers you can place in trenches. Each unit, whether they are soldiers, turrets or mechanized units, has different strengths and weaknesses.
A successful defense will depend on whether you can anticipate the type of units you’ll need to have your turrets take out. Can your machine guns handle the soldiers while your lasers and flak cannons take care of the armor? You’ll have to find a way to stop them because, even though enemy units follow a few set paths, each one that gets by will add to the number of victory points your opponent earns. Hold the enemy under the target amount of points, when they run out of supplies, and you win. It’s a simple formula but it hooked me quickly.
On the flip side, when you get tired of defending, you can choose to go on the offense where you’re the one spawning the troops and trying to sneak units past the defenses of your opponent. I’m not really sure which one I prefer, but it’s great that Gratuitous Tank Battles gives you the option to switch perspective if you get bored, rather than forcing you to attack or defend depending on the level.
Outside of the battles you’ll have some very extensive customization options. Each battle will have you unlocking upgrades for the various attributes of each unit. You can customize the propulsion unit, guns and armor of each unit as well as add bonus augments to each unit. The game will automatically unlock upgraded versions of each unit but customizing your own will give you an edge much faster than waiting on the game to do it for you. This is where you become really invested, when you’ve customized all your units and set them up into divisions for easy access in battle. Only then will you realize you’ve been playing for a few hours when you meant to sit down for a few minutes.
There isn’t any actual multiplayer in Gratuitous Tank Battles but you can create custom maps and scenarios and share them with the community.
Gratuitous Tank Battles may look simple at first but the depth of this game will quickly suck you in. I’ll admit that when I first saw this game I wasn’t expecting a whole lot but I walked away thoroughly impressed. The level of customization available will surprise you and the action will hook you.