Reviewed: June 9, 2003
Released: February 14 2003
For some of you older gamers out there you can compare Think Tanks to the arcade classic Battlezone but with a cartoon twist. Think Tanks is basically a game where you guide your tank over varying terrains and try to destroy other tanks. Fortunately, this is a fun and easy to learn tank game. The controls are simple and intuitive and there is enough variety in this game to appeal to beginners or gaming gurus.
When I first heard that I was going to review Think Tanks I was thinking that I was going to be reviewing something educational. I am so glad that it was a tank game with giant brains sticking out of the tanks because I was really in no mood to learn. Not that there is anything wrong with learning it is just that when I am playing games, learning is the last thing on my mind. The game is fairly simple and at its discount price it may be worth your time and money if you are looking for a nice little distraction in your daily grind.
The gameplay in Think Tanks is very basic yet the game offers up a nice variety of game options to hold your interest. There is a mission mode and a couple of online game modes to test your destruction skills. There are also various power-ups and obstacles in each game that make the game more interesting. When playing the game you can choose a light and speedy tank, the medium tank or the heavily armored tank. Each tank has its own properties and advantages and depending on your playing style you will soon settle on your favorite type. The controls couldnít be simpler to use; the arrow keys control your tanks movement and the mouse aims and fires your weapon. The game option that I found myself playing most often was Scrum mode. To go along with Scrum mode you can also choose Solo or the online Battle mode.
Scrum mode can best be describe thusly:
You are cast into a veritable feeding frenzy of tanks. You need to simultaneously track the position of your tank relative to the scrum ball using your radarscope, while navigating your tank along the bumpy terrain. If you are quick enough to pick up the ball yourself, you must make a mad dash to the goal, evading the thirsty pack of mad bots heavy on your trail. You win by capturing the most scrum balls in the allotted time.
This is an absolute riot. The goal is very hard to get to when you have nine opponents blasting you with everything they have but if you do reach the goal with the scrum ball in your possession you feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment. When you are chasing it is fun to jockey for position so that you can pick up the scrum ball when the holder is demolished in a barrage of ever changing fire. Weapons power ups like bouncing ball ammo, rapid fire and an icy blast from the cannon help add to the game and help you destroy your intended targets.
The online Battle mode is just as you would expect it to be. You and nine opponents drive around like madmen and shoot at anything that moves. Nothing could be simpler or more entertaining. The great thing about Battle mode is the fact that everyone is a potential target. With the combination of tanks and weapons power-ups both of the online modes, whether played cooperatively or not, your interest will be held for some time and with the online chat you can always make battle plans or just talk smack to the recently vanquished.
The solo mode is very similar to Battle mode except you are playing against the computer controlled Bots. The goal is extremely simple; kill all of the Bots on succeeding levels until you have dispensed with all of them. You would think this sounds easy but it really isnít. You can easily burn through your allotted lives when the deadly accurate Bots swarm on you like flies on stink. With a little practice, though, youíll soon be destroying the brain machines with very little trouble. Remember though, the brains are brains and they will learn from their mistakes so beware.
For what can be considered a bargain game, the graphics are quite good. The richly detailed and vibrant worlds of ThinkTanks are designed to provide you with different challenges on different worlds. The rolling hills and lush valleys are great for longrange sniping and dogfighting. The dark and spooky missions are harder to navigate, and you must keep your wits about you or you may get ambushed by others lurking in the shadows. The skatepark-like lava fields are great for highflying mayhem and aerial assaults. All the missions offer their own unique challenge and will provide hours of fun as you seek to refine and improve your fighting skills. Each different world is nicely done and just large enough to allow you to play with some strategy but not so big that it is hard to find your potential victim.
The tanks are whimsical and the weapons are fun and creative. The cartoonish appearance of this game utilizes its graphics to provide the user with a fun yet challenging gaming experience. The animation is fairly smooth even though there is a lot of action on the screen and only a few times while playing online did I experience a serious framerate drop. The landscapes are impressive even though they could use a few more covered places for hiding.
The tanks look good even with large brains sticking out of the tops of them. When the battle is on is when this game shows that it deserves a shot from gamers, especially in Scrum mode. When you are near the back of the pack and you are chasing the tank with the scrum ball it is fun to see all of the other tanks bombarding the lead tank with the variety of finely animated weapons. My favorite weapon that also looks the best is the Bounce-Back gun. When you get this power-up your tanks ejects a barrage of shiny purple balls that bounce around before exploding near a tank. The animations and the balls themselves look great and are a lot of fun to use.
The sounds of Think Tanks are very simple but sound very good. The game does contain some basic midi-type music on the menu screens but that is about the extent. During the game however you are treated to a plethora of cartoon battle sounds that sound very realistic (if of course you were a giant brain that was operating a tank).
The battle sounds are pretty much the standard tank battle fare. There is the sounds of the tankís diesel engines that sputter after you have sustained damage, the sounds of clanking metal as your vehicle takes an enemy shell and the sounds of the explosions as the shells explode around you. Each weapon has a distinctive sound and are synched seamlessly with the unfolding action. While this is still what you might call an indie game, the sound crew did a great job with providing the right sounds for this game.
Because of the online play available with Thin Tanks there is an unlimited amount of value attached to this title. You may play this game endlessly when you first get it and then you will become slightly bored or frustrated but you will find yourself occasionally squeezing in a quick game or two when the mood strikes you. Because of the somewhat limited playing options, solo mode and two online modes, the online facet makes up almost all of the value of this game.
There really arenít many options for gameplay and therefore the online game id the heart and soul of this game. If you could find a few friends that have the game you could spend plenty of time giving this game a workout and having a lot of fun. I on the other hand fare much better against the more predictable bot opponents and therefore prefer the solo mode. There is no easier way to lose interest in a game than when you are getting routinely spanked by a bunch of unpredictable human opponents.
Overall, Think Tanks is a very simple but enjoyable tank game. The addition of the cartoon-like brain pilots help add immensely to this whimsical battle game. People will be enamored with the zany animations and sounds and the overall fun of the online facets of the game. For itís bargain price of $19.99 it is very easy to see why giving this game a shot wonít break your wallet and can easily be worth the small amount of money you have to shell out for it.
While it does lack a lot of depth, Think Tanks is a games that warrants at least a look. Head on over to garagegames.com and get a taste of this title with a demo download. Once you have developed a taste for the game download the full version and enjoy a nicely done game and a welcomed distraction to your normally mundane day.