I have a confession to make–dating simulators are a guilty pleasure of mine.
I went through a dating simulator phase a few years ago where I must have downloaded 20 different titles. I found them to be so stressful (I had to get those perfect endings!) that I gave up and watched them all on Youtube. I was addicted, and those beautiful anime-stylized men were my drug.
There was one thing that all those simulators had in common, however, and that was a complete and distinct lack of tanks. As I made my way through level after level of cute coworkers, sexy samurai, heart-throbbing hotties, I kept reiterating to myself that not a single one of them had any tanks. I found the lack of tanks…disturbing.
DEVGRU-P’s gem, Panzermadels, recognized this utter lack of tanks and fills a hole I never realized needed filling. You play as Erwin Lemmor, a new (male) student at Akihabara’s tank school. It doesn’t take you long to realize that this school is for tanks, not about tanks and tank warfare, as all your cute and quirky classmates are…well, tanks. But girls. Girl tanks. Tank girls.
That’s basically the only explanation you get, so do as the tanks do and just roll with it.
As with pretty much all dating sims, there really are no controls. Space bar continues the dialog and you’ll occasionally need to make decisions by clicking on the appropriate button. Simple.
The tanks are styled after their nationalities and the look/feel of the actual tanks. For example, M4 Sherman is an American tank with an “all-American” style. Always showing up late and blowing stuff up, she is unkempt and has a band-aid on her elbow. She’s the friendliest out of the bunch and has a way of getting into trouble by just being herself.
Then there’s Panzer, Tiger, and Maus – the German “cousins”. I found the conversations between these three blond-haired, blue-eyed girls to be the most entertaining. Panzer keeps making claims about owning Breslau and denies knowing anything about the blitzkrieg. Maus has these gigantic…ermm…”ammo racks”, and Tiger is slow and clunky, and keeps crashing into you.
There’s also a really creepy Russian tank, IS-2, that stalks you. If you so desire, you can follow her to a bar and chug vodka as you sing along to the Soviet national anthem.
Poland is more or less Meg Griffin, and the other tanks treat her as such (“shut up, Poland”).
While it’s not required, I do recommend either a healthy knowledge of WWII warfare/politics or at least keeping a google page open because the historical jokes are actually really amusing. At one point, Sherman and another tank girl, Bob Semple, were discussing how to raise money for a school trip. You ask if either of them can bake, and Sherman replies that she “wasn’t called a Tommy Cooker for nothing”. This is in reference to the Sherman tanks burning and exploding when hit, and being nicknamed “Tommy Cookers” after the portable stove troops used. You also ask Panzer and Maus if they can raise money for this school trip, and they decide to use their occult club to summon otherworldly beings to “give them the money…or war-winning weapons. You never know with them”. This, of course, is referencing the Nazi party’s affinity for the occult and pagan worship–they really did ask for victory through rituals unknown to Christendom.
As far as the mechanics of dating simulators go, this one was par for the course: the art was nicely done–characters were stylized in such a way that they were slightly generic yet were actually quite cute. The backgrounds were painted in a different style that was vibrant and dynamic; I was reminded of Phoenix Wright with their detail and overall fit with the storyline. The music paired well with the art and general text flow–the songs were never annoying and didn’t distract from the text and my inner voice. The story progressed evenly–there were enough chapters where you “make a move” on a tank with a few “filler chapters” sprinkled throughout to make it feel more fleshed out. You can tell the developers are big fans of dating sims because they got everything right in those regards.
On a personal note, I have to say how much I enjoyed playing through a dating sim where I felt like I was learning something. I found myself googling the tanks and comparing them to their characters. The tank girls really did encapsulate the tank personalities very well. My favorite was the Bob Semple–hailing from New Zealand, this tank girl actually tells you how she’s really nothing more than a tractor with a gun on it. She even wears a farm hat and makes reference to how all movies from NZ features panoramic mountain shots.
My playthrough ended with me boning at least one tank (I possibly boinked two - the POG II snu snu-session was a bit ambiguous). If you are able to bed a tank, you are rewarded with a sexy shot of the tank in question. I chose to woo the blonde bombshell, Panzer, and received a fully-clothed, doggy-style, up “armored skirt” panties shot. This picture can be viewed again at leisure in the library on the main screen.
The game never does explain how high school girls can also somehow be tanks, but I stopped caring about that halfway through because the dialog was entertaining enough to keep me absorbed. I usually do not play dating sims where the love interests are girls, but this was too funny in a History nerd kind of way to pass up. I would like to see what DEVGRU-P does in the future–they certainly brought a unique angle to this genre that I never would have thought of. Overall they did a great job with this title, and I can really see this one making the rounds on every hopelessly romantic nerd’s iPad.
Overall they did a great job with this title, and I can really see this one making the rounds on every hopelessly romantic nerd’s iPad.