Attack of the Toy Tanks
Developed By: Petite Games
Published By: Ratalaika Games
Category: Action, Arcade, Multiplayer
Release Date: 06.28.19
Twin Stick Toy Story
Attack of the Toy Tanks for the Nintendo Switch is a twin stick shooter from Petite Games and Ratalaika Games that sees you taking command of a toy tank in a battle for supremacy against other toy tanks. It’s a pretty neat game, in concept; the aesthetics are wonderfully Pixar-ish, from the graphics to the soundtrack. The graphics look straight out of Toy Story, from the tanks themselves to the inventively-designed backgrounds made from blocks, Lego Bricks, and all kinds of classic toys. The music is a good mix of militaristic-sounding beats juxtaposed against lighter tones that give the game a bit of a more relaxed, childish vibe. It’s just a perfect combination for a game about playing with toy tanks.
The gameplay is pretty similar whether you’re playing single- or multiplayer; you control the tank’s movement direction with one thumb stick and the direction of the turret with the other. The left button moves the tank forward, the left trigger moves you in reverse, while the right button fires your tank’s weapon. In single player mode, there are sixty stages to clear, and you clear the stages by destroying every other tank on the field. If you get hit, you have to start the level over from the beginning. When you clear a level, you receive a bronze, silver, or gold medal (I assume gold is the highest as it’s the highest I got, but maybe there’s a better grade for good players – oh, and also the game statistics screen only lists as high as gold. That may be a clue, too). It’s pretty straightforward, really.
Multiplayer is much the same, except the game has a timer instead of a set number of opponents to defeat. Whoever has the most kills when time runs out is the winner. Each levels has hazards on it like laser-beam shooting lady bugs or land mines, and you get a point if your opponent runs into one of those, too. Both modes have different ammo types that will drop onto the stage; in multiplayer it’s pretty much random, but it appears that the drops are fixed in single player mode. You can get ricochet bullets, homing bullets, and some ammo crates actually slow time for a few seconds. It adds a little variety to the proceedings, which can be pretty fun. The game just had one glaring issue that I couldn’t get over.
They’re Attacking Your Ability to Enjoy The Game
The tank controls suck. It took me forever to get used to controlling my tank with the controls provided, and by the time I did I really didn’t want to play anymore, anyway. Turning is an absolute nightmare; there are really only two directions to move your tank, so using the D-Pad is preferable to the thumbstick. If you’re even a little bit off-center with moving the stick to the left or right your tank turns much more slowly. Even that would have been fine if your turret didn’t have a full 360-degree attack radius; the disconnect between having a free range of movement with one thumbstick and a severely limited range with the other was incredibly difficult to reconcile in my head. I realize the controls are more like real tank controls, and that’s fine; but that doesn’t necessarily make for a very fun game. The appeal of twin stick shooters –for me, anyway – is the speed of the action. Having such sluggish, counter-intuitive controls hampered my ability to learn the game’s mechanics and ultimately left me with a sour experience with the game.
Attack of the Toy Tanks does not have any motion or touch controls, which makes sense given the game type. I didn’t notice any loss in graphical quality whether I played the game docked or undocked, which is always a plus in my book. I found that I was slightly more able to grasp the control scheme more easily with a Pro controller, but that could just be that I’m generally more comfortable with a Pro controller than I am with the Joycons. If you’re playing multiplayer, I suggest playing docked, however, as there didn’t seem to be any options for online or wireless play. Having the bigger screen to accommodate the extra player is a good idea.
TL;DR: Super-fun aesthetic, but the control scheme takes too much time to get the hang of for an arcade action game.