Developed By: Topstitch Games
Published By: Topstitch Games
Category: Multiplayer, Fighting, Action, Party
Release Date: 8.17.18
Have you been playing Smash Bros and thought something’s missing? Maybe it’s too complicated? Maybe you’d rather play as tanks than beloved Nintendo icons? Treadnauts for the Nintendo Switch is here for you. Topstitch Games’ multiplayer tank brawler doesn’t have the deep roster or recognizable names, but it is a fun indie game with a little personality.
Don’t Tread on Me
There’s really no story here, you’re just in a 2D platforming stage with up to 3 opponents. The game is very clearly geared towards multiplayer, but you can play the main versus mode against bots if you want. You have your tank, and you can move left or right, fire your cannon, and jump. How do tanks jump? Don’t worry about it. They do. When you’re in the air, firing your cannon will send you flying as well, which is a good way to get out of sticky situations. Your treads will always stick to whatever surface they touch, whether that’s the ceiling, a wall, or even the floor.
There are a few ways to take out your enemies; obviously, hitting them with the cannon is the most straightforward. Your tank fires in arcs, and holding down the fire button will extend the arc and therefore the range of your shot. Hitting enemies reliably this way is pretty hard, actually, since your enemies can just move. But one direct hit, and bam! They’re out for this round. A round lasts until only one combatant is left, and games are played until one character hits the target number of frags. You can also kill your enemies by ramming them enough times. It takes longer, but it’s more accurate. Or you can just ram them off the edge and into a pit; that works too, as long as it’s a stage with pits.
Making the Doughnauts
There are a ton of options and rules to use to affect the game in the pre-fight menu. You can choose what power-ups will appear during the game, how many kills you need to win, and even handicap people in the lead to make things more interesting. One of the default rules will spawn characters a certain number of kills behind the leader with a shield that absorbs a tank shell hit at the start of the round. It helps make games closer than they otherwise might be. It makes for a pretty balanced game that is friendly towards more casual players than a game like the aforementioned Smash Bros.
There is also a trial mode that is solely a single-player experience. It’s sort of fun, but the challenges all boil down to the same thing; hit the targets in as short a period of time as you are able. While figuring out the best strategy for clearing a challenge can be fun, the lack of variety makes things boring pretty quickly. While it was nice of the developers to put something like this in to add some more value to the game, the lack of mission variety meant that it didn’t really add much longevity to the proceedings.
Tanks for the Memories
The overall design of the game has a funky, cartoony vibe that’s really cool. The music is poppy and energetic, emphasizing the snappy, casual nature of the game’s atmosphere. The visuals are pretty cool, too. The color palette is mostly pastels, but with a few more brightly colored elements thrown in here and there that really pop. The tank designs are pretty cool, even if the sprites are kind of small and hard to see very well in the rush of gameplay. I never really noticed the design of the tanks much during gameplay, I really only had time to differentiate them by color.
The tank pilots seemed like they had some cool designs, too, but I’m not really sure why they were there. I get that fighting games have characters and people choose their favorites, but there’s no story mode to Treadnauts to make the pilots into anything more than portraits on the character select screen. I guess if you wanted to play as a grizzled sea captain commanding a tank, sure, that’s there for you. But it doesn’t add anything to the experience except determining what color your tank is.
Treadnauts doesn’t use any touch or motion controls, so you can play it docked or undocked as you prefer. If you’re playing with other people, I’d recommend playing it docked on your TV because it can be hard for everyone to track their character on the Switch’s screen. If you’re just fooling around with it on your own, though, it doesn’t really make a difference.
TL;DR: Good game and visual design, but not much variety or depth.