Subspace Radio

And now another game in the anime-girls-who-are-also-tanks genre. Because that is actually a genre, apparently

Luckily, perhaps, War of the Human Tanks doesn’t seem to be a dating sim, at least. Instead, it’s a strategic RPG. Where your units are tankgirls.

 

So, in this game, you are the commander of an Army Corps of the Empire of Japon, which has almost been taken over by the forces of the Kingdom. At the beginning, your unit has been frozen for a while, leaving you to basically sit around and watch anime. Then you get reactivated and have to turn the war around. The human tanks are, we are quickly told, less intelligent than humans and also given absolutely no human rights. Also, as you see after the first mission, when they get old, they explode. Poor Granny Masmune …

 

Gameplay is fairly good - your units come in a number of flavours with distinct roles and uses - Shock tanks run into the enemy and explode themselves and everything around them, Assault Tanks shoot stuff, Recon tanks do .. recon and Command tanks cannot be lost or you lose the mission. And, on what can be such a frustrating move, you can only command units when they’re ready. You can upgrade them and give them modems and such to improve this time, but once you do something with a unit, you can’t have it do anything else for a while, no matter how much you need it to. And some missions are timed. Barely scraping out a win because your barrage tank connected just in the nick of time is an … experience.

Each mission, also, is presented as an episode, complete with intro and outro sequence, just like an anime. While I understand and like the idea, in effect you quickly get tired of the same old music - although hearing the ending theme after a hard mission does have an odd satisfaction to it.

There’s also no tracking of health - if your tank gets hit, that’s pretty much it for it. Casualties will be high and, thanks to the characterisation of the tanks, actually painful. The poor things shouldn’t be thrown away like this …

Also, the game quickly gives further hints that something isn’t right - the main character is incredibly effective at his job, the Corps engineer - his sister - can assemble a tank in three minutes (standard production time is given as a full month) … and they were basically only reactivated as a unit because there was no other choice.

 

Going back a moment to the music, the music in this game is good and professionally produced, with both vocal and instrumental tracks created for this game, so that’s another point in its favour. The artwork is simplistic, but conveys what it intends to, and the gameplay is far more complex than what the simple graphics would have you believe. Whether you win or lose a level determines what route you end up on, and the map that is (quickly enough) provided makes it clear that there is quite a bit of replayability to be had here.

War of the Human Tanks is deceptively simple on the surface, and ideally packaged in session-sized ‘episodes’, while still having a deeper layer of gameplay and plot beneath it. Possibly because this is the first game I’ve reviewed that isn’t a dating sim, so far this is the clear favourite of the three games that I’ve reviewed.

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