Monday, May 18, 2015

Five Tank: Desert Scorpion (iPhone/iPad)

Platforms: iPhone/iPad
Genre: Arcade/Action
Rating: 7/10

TL;DR: A fun game with minute-lengthed levels and some interesting concepts that doesn't quite flesh them all the way out. Can be very brutal, sometimes requiring numerous plays through a level to memorize enemy patterns. Sometimes hard to control due to small phone and big fingers, probably easier on an iPad.

Five Tank: Desert Scorpion has a very simple concept: press one of the five tanks at the bottom of the screen to shoot at whatever they might come across, making your way across a stretch of desert without running out of tanks. This simple mechanic had me both worried and excited for the game, wondering just how much could be done with such a restrained system over a whopping 60 levels!

The game is quick to add two more controls: a downward swipe uses an item and an upward swipe uses your "support" - an air strike that does major damage to all enemies on the screen, for example. Tanks and support can be upgraded using coins found from defeating enemies and desert obstacles ranging from simple cacti and barricades to enemy soldiers, super evil worms and gigantic tank bosses, although unfortunately not much is earned per level, so replaying levels to earn money takes quite a while.

While the game offers a good bit of variety, some of it can be rather annoying. On my iPhone 5c, it was rather hard to tap two tanks right next to each other at the same time, and some enemies seem rather unfair, shooting an impossible-to-defend bullet that knocks out half of a tank's life only a second or so after it appears. About half way in, levels take place in a particularly windy part of the desert where a crazy sandstorm is going on, and your support is a sensor that lasts for a few seconds. One of these levels has me so stuck that I had to give up entirely, so I was unable to review the entirety of the game. 

Despite these flaws, the game does have some unique fun. There are four different tanks to choose from once they're unlocked, and sometimes you even have to go back to earlier ones to defeat a boss or different enemies in a level. Every ten levels has a boss fight that ends up being quite hectic, and typically earns you a new tank or support. 

All in all, the game was pretty fun to play, and if a sequel came out that was a bit less twitch/memorize-patterns based I'd be very happy to give it a shot! For more screenshots, including my own progress over the first 30 levels, slide your eyeballs a little lower!

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