War of the Human Tanks Review

War of the Human Tanks (Available exclusively on PC)
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: 1
Genre: RTS
Publisher: Fruitbat Factory
Developer: Fruitbat Factory
Release Date: September 14th, 2012

Parent Talk: While the ESRB did not rate this game, it does feature some animated blood. I’d say this is the perfect T rated game as anyone younger may be confused by the gameplay, and some of the situations.

Plays Like: If you’ve played Fire Emblem or Advance Wars and other turn-based strategy RPGs you have a general idea of how Human Tanks works, although this one is more of an interactive digital manga than a full on videogame. More on that in a bit.

Review Basis: Completed all 30+ maps.

War of the Human Tanks was originally released in Japan and became a hit indie title. New-found localization company, Fruitbat Factory picked up the rights to the North American market, fixed up a few things and released it to a whole new market. What makes Human Tanks so unique is that it combines a manga with a simple SRPG, and the experience is rather unique.

The Great:

The fog of war system is way more interesting than I thought it would be. Each map is blanketed in permanent fog of war, meaning you always have to use your scout to locate enemy troops, but the catch is the enemy is doing the same to you. This ‘give and take’ system really changes the gameplay, I only wish there was more of it and lot less dialogue.

The Good:

+ Battle system is simplistic, but fun once you learn the ins and outs and how the five character classes work.

+ Episode structure helps to keep a nice steady pace. Each episode has an intro song, and end credits which further enhance the anime feel.

+ Detailed character portraits are really nice, but sadly don’t animate.

The So-So:

+/- Interesting character classes, but limited uses even while in upgraded form. You need to use resources to upgrade and deploy new units, but only three different classes are of any real use in-game.

+/- I enjoy anime storylines featuring wacky characters and bizarre situations, but one of the biggest problems with Human Tanks is there’s just too much text. It’s uninspired, has a lot of the typical stereotypes you’d expect, and just goes on and on for way too long. If you adore anime you’ll have a few chuckles, but an editor really needed to go through and omit several pages worth of dialogue.

+/- The tutorial really needed to be reworked before release. Given how much chatter there is in the game, I expected a more thorough tutorial. Sadly it can be really hard to follow which class does what, and I think it would have been much easier to slowly introduce one class at a time and show how it works before dumping the rest on the player.

The Bad:

– Some might enjoy the way backdrops were photoshoped into the anime cutscenes, but I find it takes away from the experience. It would have been much more enjoyable to have the backdrops animated to go with the rest of the game. This just feels tacky.

– Each episode only has one map, which can sometimes end in one move. After that it’s back to the endless dialogue.

The Ugly:

Units can’t move through each other. It seems like a silly thing to harp on, but when your starting area is jammed with troops, suddenly you find yourself in a situation where you can’t move the units you need.

The Lowdown:

War of the Human Tanks draws its inspiration from Advance Wars and Fire Emblem, but fails in execution. It’s just not as fun to play as those games that came before it. The manga storyline is cute, but overboard and lengthy, the gameplay is simple, and poor design choices keep this from reaching its full potential.

If you would like to check the game out for yourself, the publisher was super cool and gave us some review codes for Desura so just leave a comment and let us know.  Don’t let review scores sway you from trying out the demo because you may find that this game is the perfect fit for you.

Final Score: 4.5/10

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