War of the Human Tanks: War is other people

October 10, 2012

Have you ever thought to yourself that war would be a lot more interesting if instead of tanks and people getting shot and blown up, it was soulless, mass-produced little girls who performed every order given to them? If you have, then you should probably seek help. Oh yeah, and then play War of the Human Tanks, cause it’s totally your type of game.

War of the Human Tanks wants to be an anime. I mean really wants to be an anime. About four fifths of the game is dedicated to a badly-written story focusing on a war in “Japon” that’s been going on for over a decade. People don’t fight in wars anymore though. Human tanks do, while real humans are their generals, telling them what to do and where to go. Oh yeah, and human tanks all look and act like little girls. Don’t confuse them for people though, because as the dialogue will remind you before almost every battle, they are not people and have no rights or purpose aside from war.

Oh yeah, and there’s an episode opening and ending song before and after every story segment. This includes rolling the credits every time too. It was charming the first time, but simply annoying the next half-dozen. Luckily you can skip them easily, along with the story, since it is vapid and devoid of anything meaningful. I’m not saying this because I dislike anime. (Far from it.) I’m saying that even if this were an anime like it wants to be, it’d be the one that no one recommends or watches after the first episode.

Luckily, the actual gameplay is rather well done, even if it is only a small portion of the overall experience. Each battle, you’ll upgrade your surviving human tanks or build new ones then place them in your starting area on the map. From there, you’ll generally be tasked with searching out and destroying the opposing command tank somewhere in the fog of war.

Most tanks are destroyed in only a single attack, so it’s important to be good at scouting ahead while keeping firepower close at hand, if you don’t want to lose too many troops. You can also fire into spaces you’ve not uncovered yet, hoping to hit an enemy. Be careful though, because you can see their shots and they can see yours, even if the actual tiles are still hidden. Of course, sometimes this can lead to very short, and cheap, victories if you luck into killing the enemy commander early on.

After each battle you’ll be given parts, more or less depending on how well you did previously, that you use for creating and upgrading your tanks. Eventually you can find yourself with extremely powerful, multi-tile tanks that can be used to mow down enemies. Free battles are also available for you to take part in to gain extra parts if you need them to improve your troops before a new story mission, though you’ll probably rarely need them. You’ll be more likely to do them simply to enjoy more gameplay before the dialogue takes over again.

The graphics are simplistic, but they convey what’s necessary and are detailed enough. The sound effects in battle are fine as well, though the small amounts of voice acting and the soundtrack are grating.

War of the Human Tanks can be an enjoyable strategic experience if you are able to look past, or skip, the attempts at turning it into an interactive anime. It’d be nice to see an update or re-release that focuses more on the battles and less on the rest of it.

Pros: Enjoyable strategic combat
Cons: Too much pointless dialogue, ear-killing songs surrounding every chapter

Score: 3/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.