Gratuitous Tank Battles | Review (PC)
Imagine if you will, an alternative reality where, one hundred years from now, World War I is still raging on. The opposing side remain the same, but the weapons have become deadlier. Oh, and all warfare has become one giant tower defense game. That’s exactly the world Positech Games has created in Gratuitous Tank Battles. Many people might be familiar with Gratuitous battle games if they’ve ever come in contact with the similarly named Gratuitous Space Battles. Now we’ve all played tower defense games before, thousands of them flood the internet, our smartphones, and out tablet; but one thing’s for sure. GTB is not for the faint of heart.
Gratuitous Tank Battles is an EXTREMELY customizable tower defense game in which you both defend yourself and attack your enemies using a mix of tanks (of course), mechs, infantry units, and of course turrets. Oh the ever beloved turrets that we know so well. Starting the game up for the first time, I found myself staying on it the entire night, and most of that time was spent just on customizing my tanks! There are so many options available that you can literally lose yourself in it. Making choices about what weapons to use, what armor, what colors (all my tanks are pink and blue because I can), and right when you’re about to hit save, you second guess all your decisions and start over. There are some negatives to this, however. Most of the time you will spend customizing at first, will be just figuring out what the the difference is between all the weapons and armor. You’ll stare at the screen scratching your head, trying to figure out the difference between Laser Cannon 1, and Plasma cannon 2.
Visually GTB looks fairly decent. I especially like zooming in to see the action up close, and to hear the sounds of my troops fighting to the death. The visuals do start to feel bland the more you play the game, as most of the maps use the same color schemes. I guess you can forgive that only because that is exactly how I picture the world to look after 200 years of war, bland, grey, and lacking in all hope and faith (and they’d probably be rationing all the twinkies in the world, what a sad thought). The units are pretty bland looking as well, adding to the gloomy hopelessness that is WWI in the year 2114. While I wish there were a bigger variety of colors and terrain and things of the like, you can’t really expect a game of this nature to look any other way.
The gameplay, as it should, is the real strong point to Gratuitous Tank Battles. Attacking or defending, the AI will put your real time war skills to the test as it will keep adapting to how you are playing the game. Making a lot of infantry? AI will start using more troops that are strong against them. the constant adjusting means you can’t do the old “let’s just spam a whole bunch of units and eventually they will make it” routine. The hardest part about this, just as when it comes to customizing your tanks, comes from remembering which weapon type is good against which unit. You have to always be aware which units your opponent starts making and adapt to stay in the game. Multiplayer is an even better experience, human competition makes it more fun and challenging, and you can easily play this game for hours before ever even thinking of stepping away from your PC.
I love playing tower defense games, I’ve said this before I’m sure. I’ll also be honest and admit that many tower defense games are very bad, especially ones that try to incorporate actually attacking your enemy’s back. They usually fall short for one reason or another. This is where Gratuitous Tank Battles rises above the rest of pile and really shines. Yes, it’s difficult, and may take some getting used to, but that is what makes it all worthwhile and all the more rewarding. This is one of those games that I’ll just keep coming back to, and it reminds me of why I’m so strangely in love with games in this genre. I want to see what their next endeavor into Gratuitous Battles will be. I mean, think of all the wars that could have maybe, possibly, never ended? What if the American Revolution never ended?! (Assassins Creed III would end up being 400 years long).