War of the Human Tanks is a very literal title. It’s a war between tanks that are human. I swear I’ll do a better job at describing the game after the jump, but I just wanted to get that out of the way first. I didn’t actually know what I was getting into when I received a copy of this game in my mail one morning besides the trailer that was included with it. I have to say that after having played the it, this is one unique game. Hit the jump for the review.
We’ve reviewed visual novels on the site before, but this is the first time I got a visual novel when I actually expected a game. That’s not a bad thing, per se, but the actual game is sandwiched between a lot more narrative than I initially expected. However, when the actual game portions happen, they happen fast and they happen hard.
A hybrid between grid strategy games like Advanced Wars and real-time combat, the game has military campaigns played between two enemy sides using their human tank regiments. Beginning with a preparation phase, this is where you build units and strategically place them on the grids of the battlefield. Fog of war covers all the lands so recon units are key in a quick and efficient victory. Once the units are laid out it’s time for the battle to begin. The unique element to all this is that the battle system isn’t turn based. Instead, each unit must wait until she receives the signal to move. The signal is different for each unit but until she receives the go-ahead to move, she is at a standstill. Once she does receive this signal, the tank can move, recon, or attack. Additionally, the same applies to your opponent as well.
What this basically means is that you and your opponent are both anxiously waiting for the seconds to tick down in order to move rather than politely waiting for one another to finish their turn. This adds an extra amount of pressure as your opponents can move anytime they please granted their units are allowed to move. Similarly this allows for a much faster combat on your end giving a new definition to Blitzkrieg. It’s a much quicker paced sort of action than I was used to for a military SRPG like this and it works to add an added layer of intensity and enjoyment of the battle.
However, because of this, battles aren’t longer than 10 minutes a piece and then it’s back to the visual novel storytelling. It’s a shame that such fun combat only last minutes, but if you’re a military buff with a thing for anime then you’ll definitely be interested in War of the Human Tanks.
[+Fun, fast, intense action] [+Time elements add an extra level of enjoyment] [+Unique battle system] [*Surprise Visual Novel] [-Battles don't last very long]
See, I like visual novels, but there’s a reason why I wasn’t too keen on the sudden appearance of one in this game. The thing is: the story isn’t all that interesting.
You are a commander of a falling empire under siege from a much stronger nation. In fact, your country is all but a single city by the time the story starts. Using your keen intellect, it is up to you and your company of human tanks to return glory to your nation. That is, if you can keep yourself from getting distracted with the newest anime/video game release. The story is cute, but some awkward writing and cliches keep it from being anything more than “really, really anime”.
While the overall story lacks a certain depth, a lot of quirky details keep it from becoming too stale. For instance, the game is divided up by episodes and each episode opens with an anime-like opening and ends with an appropriate ending. There are even some sponsors at the end. This particular detail always has me smiling when it happens and it shows off the tongue-in-cheek humor of the game.
Similarly, the very premise of tanks in the form of anthropomorphic girls is morbidly comedic. Especially when they do what tanks do and either destroy or get destroyed. It’s dark, played for laughs, and while the humor doesn’t always hit there’s a quirky energy that runs through it. Or at least there is until it gets old or sometimes downright terrifying.
The major issue I have with the story is that it’s written in a way that hits all the cliches of anime without the subtlety to pull off a lot of them. When all that remains is the story, all one really has are a checklist of anime tropes that aren’t worth whole lot on their own.
[+Lots of quirky details] [*Humorous to an extent] [-Not really interesting] [-Awkward storytelling] [-Cliched]
10 dollars will snag you a game which is part visual novel and part strategy game. It’s been a long time since the last Advanced Wars or Fire Emblem so War of the Human Tanks is a welcome surprise in that department. It really depends on how you feel about two things: 1.) How much you like anime; and 2.) How much you miss those SRPGs I mentioned.
I really like the combat. It’s intense, deep, and all the fun of a military game but with cute female tanks. But as an anime fan I didn’t particularly enjoy the story. If a great game wrapped around some lackluster storytelling sounds good to you for 10 dollars, then by all means have at it.
[+Great game] [-Not so great story]
Like I said before, I will sing the praises of the combat. It’s something I haven’t seen before and something with the potential to become even more amazing. However the story left me underwhelmed and in the end hurt the overall game. Two of my greatest loves are these SRPGs and anime and while War of the Human Tanks delivered fantastically in one, it failed in the other and left me fairly disappointed as a result.
[+Fun, fast, intense action] [+Time elements add an extra level of enjoyment] [+Unique battle system] [+Lots of quirky details] [+Great game] [*Surprise Visual Novel][*Humorous to an extent] [-Battles don't last very long] [-Not really interesting] [-Awkward storytelling] [-Cliched] [-Not so great story]
Pre-Order Here: War of the Human Tanks!
Also on Steam Greenlight