Retrospective Review: Tank Universal

Tank Universal is an action game clearly inspired by Disney’s TRON. First released in 2008 on PC it is available to buy from Steam now.

Price: £3.49 / €4.49 / $4.99

The premise of Tanks Universal is fairly unique. Your character, George, is terminally ill. Since the doctors can’t do anything for him he instead decides to lose himself within a virtual reality system. But this is as much of the story as you would ever need to know. The fact that the game forces you so sit through more story elements is to its detriment because it is simply not good enough. Fortunately Tank Universal is not a story driven games and its strength is in its gameplay.

SCREENSHOT6Throughout the game you’ll either be walking around exploring the levels you find yourself in or in a tank battling it out with your enemies. Without your vehicle the game plays as a traditional first person shooter (although you have no weapon) allowing you to search around and listen to non-playable characters.SCREENSHOT4

Tank Universal really comes into its own when you’re in a tank. There are a variety of enemies that will try to destroy your vehicle, including turrets and tanks. The general objective during missions is to collect a key from an enemy base and returning it to your own. This capture the flag game mode is challenging as it gives more strategic options for you when in battle, rather than simply having to destroy all enemies.

Firing your main gun isn’t a straightforward affair either. You can fire a quick shot with a single click but holding down the fire button will charge your weapon providing a more powerful shot. Hitting your targets also becomes more difficult the further you are away from them. The projectiles you shoot are affected by gravity so you will need to make adjustments when aiming to make sure you can hit your target, which adds more challenge to battles with moving tanks.

While playing you can collect glyphs and shards to power up your weapons or recruit new tanks to help you with battles. Although friendly A.I. isn’t particularly good and aren’t of too much use in battle. In fact you will often find that even with recruits you will be storming enemy bases with by yourself.SCREENSHOT2

As mentioned earlier the design of the game definitely takes inspiration from TRON. While it is obvious that this is a low budget title, the graphics are usually polished and stylish.  The art design fits perfectly with the feeling of being in a virtual reality. However the sound is mostly generic, although there is a good deal of different effects though nothing really stands out.

Tank Universal is a solid arcade shooter. It could have been made much better by including skirmish modes for quick play, getting rid of the unnecessary story and including more battles and action. If you enjoy this type of game you will most definitely get plenty of fun out of this game.  There is also plenty of value packed in, with 20 levels and around 10 hours of campaign to get through.

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