Attack of the Toy Tanks review for PS4, Xbox One, Switch


Platform: PS4
Also On: PC, PS Vita, Xbox One, Switch
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Developer: Petite Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

At first glance, you might think that Attack of the Toy Tanks is meant for kids. After all, it’s literally a game about toy tanks, albeit ones with surprisingly strong firepower. Couple that with the fact it looks like it’s set on the floor of a child’s room, and the overall aesthetic isn’t one that immediately suggests the game is out to kill you at every opportunity.

Whoever designed Attack of the Toy Tanks’ look and feel, however, apparently didn’t talk to the person in charge of its gameplay, because beneath that shiny, happy veneer lies a game that wants to kill you at every turn.

That’s the only explanation I can think of for why the controls in this game are so terrible. Manoeuvring your tank around is a massive pain. The default control scheme involves using a shoulder button to move one way and a face button to move the other, and it’s even less intuitive than it sounds once you factor in steering. Even if you go for the simplified controls, which bring the game closer to the twin-stick shooter it was clearly meant to be, you’ll still find yourself guessing as to which way you’ll go at any given moment.

This is clearly a problem, and it’s compounded by the fact that your enemies are so skilled right off the bat. While you’re sitting in the middle of the floor, spinning in circles and trying to figure out which way is which, enemy tanks — other than in the first tutorial level — will almost immediately make a beeline for you, and the AI is smart enough that it knows to hold back and avoid fire if you just spam your shots in one direction.

What makes this all so puzzling is that it doesn’t feel like the game is intended to be so difficult. I mean, it’s a twin-stick shooter. From a player’s perspective, that sort of game design feels like it should be pretty basic, yet somehow, they make it way harder here than it needs to be. Plus, as I said, it looks like a kid’s game. Everything is so bright and colourful, it feels like you should be enjoying yourself, but instead you’re stuck with frustration at how annoyingly hard this game is.

Obviously, the existence of games like Dark Souls proves that there’s a market for ultra-hard games that test your patience and your skill. And those people may be surprised to learn that this colourful game about toy tanks is secretly exactly what they may love. Everyone else, though, who just wants a twin-stick shooter that works, would be well-advised to avoid Attack of the Toy Tanks, since it doesn’t come close to delivering on that promise.

Ratalaika Games provided us with an Attack of the Toy Tanks PS4/Vita code for review purposes.

Grade: D+