As a long time enthusiast of side-scrollers, I was quite eager to review Lil Tanks.
Lil Tanks is a side-scrolling shooter where you maneuver a tank through an onslaught of extraterrestrial life. As you defeat enemies, experience points ‘drop,’ and your tank level increases, granting you access to a wider variety of power-ups and skill sets. Prior to embarking on your mission, you may choose between playing solo or cooperative mode.
Lil Tanks offers four vastly different game modes: Campaign, Endless, Boss Training, and Hardcore. The Campaign takes the individual through a series of levels, where your primary objective is to vanquish your foes until a boss arrives. Endless mode pits the player against a never-ending horde of enemies, while, in Boss Training mode, you may enter an engagement with any boss from the campaign without interference from lesser adversaries. And, if you're looking for a real challenge, look no further than the Hardcore mode.
The lore behind the game centers on an extraterrestrial race called the Cuur, creatures who are exploring the galaxy for a new homeland.
Unfortunately, this brings them to our solar system, and Earthlings quickly find themselves in the middle of an all-out invasion. As time passed, the chances of achieving victory over the aliens became slimmer. As a last-ditch effort to combat the menacing threat, a secret project called “Lil Tanks” was launched. You play as an unknown soldier, piloting one of these magnificent tanks in order to save humanity.
Tanks come with a variety of special abilities. Each tank has a slightly different ability which varies depending on the level. For example, the first tank that you unlock has advanced weaponry; a tank you unlock further in the game has the ability to self-regenerate. To obtain experience points, players conquer hordes of enemies constantly advancing towards your tank. Occasionally, power-ups will appear from a fallen foe and grant you unimaginable [EN: unlimited] power.
The gameplay is very straightforward: the screen continuously scrolls to the right, and your tank is carried along with it.
The tank may move around freely, but it has very limited accessibility. The player is tasked with eliminating all the enemies that stand in your path until, eventually, a boss appears, which you need to clear in order to succeed in your mission and save part of humanity. Throughout the game, you will be able to acquire items that improve your weapon range and firepower. Each enemy has a particular movement and weapon pattern — knowing how to avoid certain attacks will help you navigate through specific situations. After playing for a while though, the gameplay stales, without considerable variation across levels or tanks.
I’m typically not a nostalgic person, but this game pulls on my heartstrings.
Lil Tanks takes me back to the arcades of my youth where I poured quarters into the machines by the bucketload. It does a fantastic job of reanimating the classic side-scroller, and the best part is I still haven't experienced all this game has to offer. Make no mistake: Lil Tanks isn’t perfect. It does, however, bring back fond memories of my time playing the Metal Slug series and in some ways, both games are quite similar. Although there isn’t a lot of variation in the title, the features present are fairly executed and provide many hours of enjoyable diversion. And, the experience is delivered with satisfying and immersive sound effects, with lively, contrasting music (Lil Tanks doesn’t, however, offer you the option to adjust your volume levels accordingly — an option some prefer).
Lil Tanks is a solid title, providing four distinct game modes, twenty unique types of enemies, four tank variants, and multiple power-ups and weapon upgrades. The gameplay is uncomplicated and offers an enjoyable experience. However, it lacks any form of customization, and it might become repetitive after a few hours. Lil Tanks succeeds as a side-scrolling shooter, but there is a scarcity of originality in the game. That said, genre enthusiasts should certainly be entertained, especially at its current price point.