Developer: Michael Brough
Version Reviewed: 1
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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If the developers of the Atari 2600 classic Combat were on the drugs common in 1977, they probably would have made a game a lot like Glitch Tank. The combination of incredibly old-school graphics with strategy/board game mechanics is a strange one indeed. Beneath all of that weirdness is a good game, although not necessarily a great one.
If anything, Glitch Tank's biggest issue is that its visuals are sometimes retro to the point of harshness. That's apparent the moment one starts the game as the chunky, neon, pixelated look makes it a tad difficult to decipher what's going on and what to do. Also, while it is a neat effect, this coherency issue isn't helped by the game staying true to its name and occasionally, intentionally glitching out visually. Add in an appropriately sub 8-bit soundtrack and players will see that Glitch Tank is a game that picks a style and goes with it, haters be darned.
If they can get past that initial barrier though, players will find a strategy board game as fun as it is unique. Two tanks are pitted against each other on opposite sides of the board. To control the tank, players must use the four cards at the bottom. These cards can do everything from turning the tank, boosting it in various directions, firing its laser and even deploying an assist tank or land mine. Once a card is used another one takes its place. Land three hits on the enemy tank and it's game over. In turn-based mode, it's a little dull as players will tend to meander until getting good cards. However, in real time the game becomes fast, chaotic, screening filling nonsense, especially against human players. That's the best way to enjoy it and it is enjoyable.
Glitch Tank is a trippy little game. It's a shame that its aesthetic, while appreciated, can be a little hard to look at. Still, it's an experience totally worth having.