Tiny Tim’s Tremendous Tank
October 17, 2012 7 Comments
Tiny Tim’s Tremendous Tank has sat on my to-do pile for a while. I’m not sure why it took me so long to review. It looked good. The trailer made it seem cool. Chalk it up to me being a scatterbrain, but it always slipped through the cracks. Well, yesterday I finally got around to playing it, because there had been a serious drought in new XBLIGs. The moment I finished the game about an hour later, I had three review requests. Today, I have seven total. It’s like a running gag with Indie Gamer Chick. The minute I start a game that was released over a year ago, the flood gates open and all the new releases hit. I’m onto you, XBLIG.
The idea is you’re a tank that has to plow through a world, shooting enemies and innocent wildlife, rolling over things, and trying not to flip over. The game is physics based, and rolling over is the toughest thing you’ll have to deal with. The rolling over stuff is what got me killed the most. I rolled over more than a dead dog caught in a clothes dryer. If there was a hill, a crate, or a shell from the machine gun, you can bet I flipped the tank over trying to get past it. The physics and the terrain seem tailor-made for causing you to do your best beached-turtle impression. In fact, that seems to be the game’s sole goal, rather than be entertaining. I mentioned this to the developer, and he told me it was like Trials HD, only with a tank. I think he forgot the part where Trials HD is actually fun.
Along with bumpy hills, there are enemies. Guys who shoot guns at you, guys who shoot rockets at you, and landmines. To counter this, you have a minigun and the tank’s cannon. Neither of them are easy to line up and aim correctly, especially given how herky-jerky the physics are. Enemies also seem to fire at a rate faster than you, and are typically placed in a position where you’ll already have rolled over from trying to clear a hill with more divots in it than a driving range. Thankfully, they don’t respawn if you kill them and you die. I think. Honestly, I’m not sure if that’s true because I experienced one of the most pleasant glitches I’ve ever encountered in a game.
Check this out: I’m playing the game and I get a phone call. So I pause things and answer that. The phone call ends and I pick the controller back up and press A expecting to continue. Only I don’t, because for some brain fart of a reason, when you pause the game it doesn’t highlight “Continue.” It highlights “Restart.” There’s also no “are you sure?” confirmation screen. So I had to restart from the beginning. I handled this about as well as you would expect me to, IE I lost my shit. Screaming, cussing, declaring my intent to assassinate the last surviving Time Lord, blot out the sun, club a baby seal, and cast every first-born male into the Nile.
But, before I could turn off the Xbox, I was reminded that I would give every game at least an hour before doing a rage quit. Well fuck, said I. So I decided to eat shit and restart the game. Only this time, there were no enemies. None. Every single living thing, even the birds and rabbits that you could shoot just for shits and giggles, were gone. No landmines either. Just me, some bumpy hills, a few checkpoints, and a silly ending that teased a sequel. No, please don’t. I think you’ve said all that needs to be said with this one.
Of course, the professional thing to do would have been to restart the game and play it again with all the enemies. I didn’t do that, but it would have been. I had encountered enemies in my first run. I didn’t think it was well conceived how they were used over the course of the first twenty minutes of playtime, and I can’t imagine it would have been better for the last twenty. Really, the problem with Tiny Tim’s Tremendous Tank is it’s just not fun. The only way to clear some of the hills without flipping over is to inch up them, and what’s fun about that? Enemies are too easily able to double up on you, and with poor aiming mechanics it’s kind of hard to fight back. I think somewhere along the lines, the developers had the right idea for a decent game, but the final product is dull, frustrating, and glitchy as hell. Ignoring the no-enemies thing, I had one instance where I was driving off a hill, barely caught my bumper on the back of a hill and the whole thing fell apart. I was boggled by how exactly that kind of damage could happen, but soon afterwards my tank fell apart again. Only that time, I was rolling along a flat piece of terrain. I hadn’t hit anything, or gone over a hill. It just sort of crumbled. Since I have no logical explanation for that, I’ll chalk it up to my tank being driven by Chief Quimby and one of his messages to Inspector Gadget detonated prematurely. It’s bound to happen once in a while, right?
80 Microsoft Points said “maybe it was built in Russia” in the making of this review.