A free, online, top-down tank game is a tough offer to pass up. Unfortunately, Touch Tanks Online doesn’t deliver on many of the most important fronts, keeping it from being the glorious artillery shooter we hoped for. Unless you are willing to shell out the extra money to upgrade your tank in the in-game store, which we recommend against, don’t spend your time in this war zone.
Conceptually, Touch Tanks Online isn’t terrible, but it’s very simplistic. By pressing a button, you are randomly matched with either four or six other players on one of two maps. The clock then starts ticking, giving you a couple of minutes to rack up as many kills as possible. To do this you must hide under trees, drop mines, and utilize powerups such as extra health, a higher view of the field, and markers that point out where enemies are. You can hone your skills against computer AI in the training mode, although there aren’t many skills to master.
Guys, we better make tracks.
Immediately noticeable are some technical difficulties. For one, the aiming controls are problematic. In order to move your turret without completely rotating the tank, there is a very thin wheel around the shoot button. Moving it is a hassle, because you’ll often fire by accident. Also, you can’t clearly see your own tank when you’re in hiding.
The online aspect of Touch Tanks Online has its pros and cons. On the positive side, this is one of the few online titles available that works flawlessly over 3G, if your connection is fairly strong. Another nice feature is that you can become a spectator for other matches. There is also an option to choose what map and how many players you want to play with.
So much more satisfying than TP-ing the neighbors.
Beyond this, the game has some glaring flaws and oversights. There isn’t a way to invite other Plus+ friends to play, which is a key feature of both the social gaming platform and online games. Also, after each match all of your opponent’s names show up as ‘guest’. This may be due to people not signing up for Plus+, but since it occurred every time we played, we think that it might be an internal issue.
Finally, where Touch Tanks Online really takes a wrong turn is in its implementation of the freemium model. Developers have tested various iterations of this model, but this game is easily one of the most broken we have encountered. At first, the game is loaded with a boatload of ads. In order to get rid of them and be allowed to use three mines at a time in-game, you have to make a purchase of $1.99. On top of this, players can buy all the top gear for $2.99, giving them an instant advantage over free players. This price for victory isn’t something we support.
Due to that fact, there isn’t much incentive to play Touch Tanks Online. As a game, it’s simple but flawed, and it’s the overall package that fails to impress. You may not lose any money, but don’t waste your time, either.