A port of a three-year-old arcade game doesn’t exactly make for the most compelling offering under the best of circumstances. That goes especially so for Tank! Tank! Tank!, a Wii U launch title that finds itself heading to retail alongside myriad other party games, such as New Super Mario Bros. U, Rabbids Land, and the Nintendo Land pack-in. And while the game does suffer from many of the same issues that plague most early launch titles, Tank! Tank! Tank! is ultimately a solid little party game, provided you have someone to play it with.
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If you’re not familiar with the original title (and you likely won’t be, considering that arcades in North America have long since gone the way of the Dodo), Tank! Tank! Tank! is essentially a Michael Bay movie filtered through the lens of a Japanese game. You and a teammate take on wave after wave of giant, mechanical foes, blasting your way through destructible environments to, ironically enough, save a city from destruction. Given its arcade origins, the gameplay is very simple, amounting to little more than shooting everything in your path. But it’s also a lot of fun, particularly when you have to do battle with one of its monolithic bosses.
The main campaign is bound together by a very thin narrative, but each mission you take on effectively boils down to defeating a certain number of enemies or toppling a boss within a set time limit. While this over-the-top destruction is initially entertaining, it quickly becomes repetitive thanks to its lack of variety, so there’s little incentive to see the story through to the end. Fortunately, the game gives you the option of playing it with a companion, which helps alleviate some of this repetitiveness. It feels very rewarding to clear a hectic mission through genuine teamwork, and the GamePad’s extra screen is put to good use, giving each player their own dedicated view of the action.
While the story mode is a little underwhelming, it’s supplemented by a handful of multiplayer options, which are easily Tank! Tank! Tank!’s biggest highlight. Up to four players can team up or duke it out in cooperative or free-for-all battles, ranging from standard death matches to team missions. One mode in particular, My Kong, really demonstrates the system’s touted asymmetrical gameplay, giving the player with the GamePad control over a giant mechanical ape while the other three, armed with regular Wii Remotes, try to stop him with tanks. It’s easily the game’s most original mode, but the rest of the multiplayer options are just as fun despite their familiarity.
Still, while the multiplayer is undoubtedly the game’s biggest strength, its few modes (there are only four to choose from) and general lack of content mean that even this will grow tiring. There are a number of different battle arenas to unlock, adding a bit of longevity to the title, but even then, there’s little to justify its current price point, especially when there are more robust party games already available for the system.
Ultimately, then, Tank! Tank! Tank! is a fun little diversion. Solo gamers will find very little in the campaign to keep them interested for long, but the title is at its best when you’re playing it with friends. If you can pick it up at a discount, and can round up a couple of people together for a gaming session, you’ll be in for a riotous time, but there are better options on the system to get your multiplayer fix.