Tank Beat combines rolling combat action and real-time strategy command, dividing attention between the top screen's muddy 3D rendering and the touchscreen's rote 2D world of targeting, route management, and support direction. Draw a blue line from your tank's radar blip to a destination, sweep the stylus to change the view, blow enemies up with a tense tap of the corresponding red dot, and issue orders to companions. The elements are simple, and there might've been a decent game in there somewhere, but any potential enjoyment is squashed by the poor execution of every last element.
Drawing a path for your non-descript box is simple, but the resulting blue line can't be altered or extended. Worse, drawing new ones results in a screeching sitting-duck halt, and the reference line disappears entirely any time a cut-scene interrupts the mission. Even without these annoyances, combat boils down to ceaselessly drawing semi-circles around red blips, and the fact that anything but a dead-center tap yields a miss prolongs the life of even stationary targets. When you do finally hit something, you're rewarded with a laughable pixelated explosion and nails-on-blackboard sound effects.
Your opponents might never develop anything resembling a strategy, content as they are to run away or attack at random, but their base stupidity can't compare to that of your supposed assistants. You can command buddies to follow, attack, or micromanage their movement, but you're usually better served telling them to idly defend some remote patch of dirt so their inevitable suicides don't prematurely end every mission. So much for teamwork and strategic depth.
Online multiplayer support could've put a lonely medal on Tank Beat 's hollow chest, but playing friends doesn't make basic movement any less tedious, and finding an adversary on the deserted network takes the patience of a saint. When the single-player campaign only offers a few meager hours of tedious line-drawing and bottom-drawer pyrotechnics, it's not hard to see why players are staying away in droves.
You'd think slamming shells the size of watermelons into heavily armed rolling metal fortresses would be hard to botch, but Tank Beat digs a design rut too deep for even the most ardent artillery lover to climb out of.