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G.G Series: D-TANK - DSiWare Review

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G.G Series: D-TANK (a.k.a  GO Series: D-TANK)

DSiWare | Genterprise / SUZAK | 1 Player | Out Now | 200 Nintendo Points
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22nd June 2012; By KnucklesSonic8

I'm sure you've already figured out what the "D" in "D-TANK" is, but how about what it doesn't stand for? To be sure, words like "deep", "daunting", "durable", and "dry" are not fitting, yet they isolate both positive and negative truths about the nature of the game. G.G. Series: D-TANK is about as deep as a puddle; as daunting as a barbed wire fence; as durable as a mechanical pencil; and as dry as a Phys. Ed. class. Jokes aside, although the game may not be any of those things or even free of faults, the game strikes a decent balance of gameplay that most will be pleased with. 

    Offering a total of 24 missions across Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced difficulties, D-TANK has you using a diminutive, military-standard tank to engage in two kinds of objectives. Your main goal is to defend a base (see: satellite) on a fairly open track from waves of enemies coming in from different directions. A secondary goal will rear its head as you reach the fourth and eight missions in each difficulty grouping. At these times, you will have to defeat a mechanical boss within an allotted time frame. And between those two tasks, that's basically all you'll be doing in the game. Whether you have your work cut out for you or not remains to be seen at this point.

    The controls in this game make sense for what you're doing and never does the game put you in a situation where you need to take time to figure things out. Controlling the tank involves using the D-Pad to move, L and R to position the turret atop the tank, A to fire your weapon, and the B Button to plant a bomb. Bombs are triggered when an enemy runs into one, but you can also cause an early explosion by shooting at it. Caution is needed with the placement of bombs for if you should overlook your surroundings and not allow enough time and distance for you to pull away from a potential explosion, you could end up losing a life. Furthermore, the restriction to the usage of bombs is that you can only have one out at a time before you can plant another, but you can change this to have two or even three out at once by picking up one of the bomb pick-ups that appear in some of the levels.

    Other power-ups include such gun upgrades as the Shot Gun, where the bullets can pass through objects; Cannons, which cause a wide burst of damage; as well as Machine and Rail Guns. Each power-up sees limited usage with the remaining bullets being listed in a non-distracting way above your tank. When power-ups are made available, you can drive over them at any time you wish, which presents an element of strategy as far as how you choose to attack and save your skin. On the far right of the Touch Screen is a sidebar that lists a few pieces of information including how many enemies remain. Once all enemies have been destroyed, you will move on to the next mission. 

    Playing this game will teach younger players especially to be adaptable and think on their feet, even with the easier missions. But D-TANK seems to take pride in the fact that it uses challenge as a means of proving itself; that is to say, challenging in the way you have multiple tools at your disposal to fend against what may sometimes be over a hundred enemies forming a progressive assault, with different units presenting different weaknesses and strengths. Playing these missions, you feel like you're being tested as to your ability to carry out a continuous effort against the incoming threats, and it's for that reason that you're left with a feeling of accomplishment. Sure, it's a very temporary feeling, as you soon find yourself wondering what further business you have with the game once it's all over. But considering that other games in this series have not successfully gone so far as to instill a tangible feeling within players, the fact that D-TANK actually projects such things is an accomplishment in itself.

    To arm up an assault on Advanced Mode is tricky because of the amount of enemies that come at you at once. But in what also can be seen as a positive, D-TANK remains challenging without being demanding of players. As I said at the outset, there's a nice sense of balance and accessibility here, but it does so while being average in its gameplay components. Even the presentation works for what it is, but as usual with these titles, it's not all that impressive. With this in mind, D-TANK measures up and avoids coming off as terribly generic. At the same time, it doesn't do enough to distance itself from similar experiences, taking the path of least resistance in what really is meant to scratch an itch.

    Players can earn up to a maximum of 15,000 Points per round, but the criteria for achieving such a quota is more than just a simple evaluation. Specifically with the goal of having no tanks lost,  this key feature of the points system leads to a fraction of replay value that may get some to return. Indeed, without that feature being in place, D-TANK would be little more than a one-time experience -- a fault that other games in this series share -- and it is recognized that the skill that is required to avert danger in this manner may give completionists a bit of motivation to continue playing. Still, the experience is shorter than I had hoped for, with everything being seen in the span of an hour or two.

    G.G Series: D-TANK ranks low on my list of DSiWare titles that come strongly recommended, but for a $2 game, it performs just fine and manages to provide a compact and mildly entertaining experience. What the game does wrong is not taking matters into its own hands and offering something strong. You may have trouble getting your full money's worth from it, but if the thought of a snack-like tank experience appeals to you, D-TANK will be right up your alley. 

21/30 - Good

Gameplay 7/10 - Accessible and fairly average gameplay, strategic approaches enforced through the presence of items and the multiple unit types 
Presentation 7/10 - Easy to follow layout, accessible without being generic, graphics and music are functional but ultimately nothing special
Enjoyment 4/5 - Mildly entertaining, reflexes somewhat involved, satisfying at times, more engaging than some of the other titles in the series
Extra Content 3/5 - Short and sweet experience with 24 missions, points system may encourage some to play missions more than once

Equivalent to a score of 70% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System

Review by KnucklesSonic8

G.G Series: D-TANK
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