Developer: SilverStarJapan
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.2
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Touch Battle Tanks SP is a weird game to play in 2013. It’s all about the tank-on-tank action. There’s no in-app purchases to speak of, no upgrades, just tanks fighting it out. It feels weird.

The goal is exceedingly simple: be the last tank standing. There are a total of 70 arenas to attempt to survive in, 50 of ‘regular’ difficulty and 20 extra ones that are ‘extra’ hard. Wordplay! There are two tanks available, a blue tank with a charge shot and a red tank with shots that bounce off walls and a jumping ability. Enemy tanks come in all shapes and sizes, some requiring more damage than others, or with different types of shots to use.

The aiming controls are a little bit wonky, in that players have to essentially aim directly at the angle they want to fire, instead of having a second joystick to use. It does provide the benefit of giving being a bit more accurate but it isn’t as easy to use as a dual-stick setup would be. It’s easier to control using one’s index finger hovering above the screen versus using a thumb. The controls are set up to support lefties and righties, thankfully. The red tank’s jumping ability is something of a challenge to use since it requires two fingers to activate the jump. The game appears to have origins as a 3DS title, which may explain the awkward touch screen controls.

The game has a clear Japanese origin thanks to the Japanese icon text on the Springboard, but it’s the design aesthetic and feel that give it away as well. It’s generally a simple game, with the complexity coming in the variety of level formations that get used, and the strategies that advanced levels require, but it’s kinda fun to just blast tanks, without worrying about spending coins on upgrades or any of the other IAP-laden features that populate today’s games. It’s just tanks, battling it out. It’s not the best-controlling game ever, and the concept won’t light the world on fire, but it’s just tanks. It’s 99 cents to control a tank across 70 levels, and that’s it. I kinda dig it.

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