I’ve been notified several times about this game and today I decided to try it out. The game is Tank’u AR, turn-based artillery shooter for iOS using Augmented Reality.
About the Game
Tank’u AR (an awful name for a game in my opinion) is a 1 to 2 player turn-based artillery tank shooter AR game for iOS. I’ve played it alone against an AI, as there was no one to play with me at that time.
Each tank spawn on a different side of the map. Each player (or the AI) has a limited amount of fuel to navigate through the map in each turn. Once you are satisfied with your position (you can stay in place if you want), you now need to use the cannon aiming controls to target your enemy. There are two controls, one for rotating the cannon and the other one for controlling its angle. Once ready, you need to click and hold the shoot button to release a projectile. The longer you hold, the longer the drop of the bullet.
Let’s check out some gameplay before we move on.
The map contains buildings that might block your trajectory, so you can shoot those structures down to make room for the bullet to pass through. Furthermore, those building can be used for strategic hiding locations.
Each tank has a health bar, if that health bar reaches zero, you lose the game. After every match, players will receive in-game currency which they can use to unlock new skins or battlefield maps.
So Many Issues
First of all, the game, at least on my iPad 2017, doesn’t have any sound, I mean nothing. The funny thing is that I did hear sound when the advertisement was running. This is definitely a bug that should be fixed.
The gameplay felt boring and unexciting. The controls aren’t that straightforward, because it took me a few minutes to figure out that I need to tap on the map to move the tank. I was playing with the awkward controls trying to figure out how to move.
The visual effects and overall graphics look uninspiring and boring to look at. It was only due to the beautiful scene that I’ve played the game at that make it somewhat good.
I mean, you don’t really have to make triple-A quality graphics to create interesting visuals for your game. Look at Smash Tanks! and you can see what I mean. Smash Tanks has a simple design but it did a few things right. For example, making the floor transparent for better blending of the game with the environment. Second, use 3D tank models that look funny and animate them in a way that gives them personality and make them more entertaining. The game boasts beautiful visual effects and great sound effects, music and voice lines. It also sports great destructive environment with satisfying destruction animation.
Yes, it’s those little things that can make all the difference in the world and make a simple game so much entertaining and fun to play over and over again.
I think there are quite a few augmented reality games that can inspire developers. Tank’u AR, in my opinion, failed quite miserably in that respect.
The UI and the entire game design looked like a game from 20 years ago, reimagined in AR.
This actually made me realize how genius a game like Smash Tanks! is. It was designed to make the game feel more interactive using push and release hand gestures and instead of shooting projectiles, you shoot the tank itself.
Although the game controls are different, those two games had a few things in common. Even if Smash Tanks! was designed for artillery shooting, it still would have felt better due to all of those game design features that I’ve mentioned.
I really love artillery shooters. It brings me great nostalgic memories from the times I’ve played Worms on my PC (later I also played it on the PS4).
I was excited when I’ve read that Tank’u AR is an artillery shooter, but I just didn’t expect it to be that bad. I’m sure that with sound effects it would feel better, but even with, there are still too many things that need to redesign to make this game worthwhile for me to spend my time on it, let alone coming back to play more.
In terms of AR experience, there s nothing really exciting here. It felt like more like a board game, there was no use of the vertical space and the design looked flat and indecisive (futures ground mixed with modern looking tanks and concrete buildings).
I don’t know if there is a lot that can be done to save this game, other than redesigning it from the ground up and trying to be inspired by other well-designed AR games. Again, I have nothing against the core gameplay mechanics, it’s just that the overall design, awkward game controls, poor visual effects and the lack of sounds ruined the entire experience.
So overall, you can safely skip it and search a better game to play.
You can download the game from the App Store here.