My Little Tank had potential to be the newest action game that every Palm user would want to play, but crumbles under its own design.
The player takes control of a typical army looking tank through an overhead perspective. If you played the newly released real time action segment in Advance Wars Dual Strike for the Nintendo DS, then you will have a general idea of how My Little Tank will play. Each stage has a different goal that the player must fulfill such as ?defeat all enemies? or ?defend the base.? Power-ups make dispatching enemies easier and spices up gameplay. Plus, the game grows progressively harder with each passing level. Everything that any basic action oriented game needs is in My Little Tank. Then, why such a low score? The game suffers tremendously from horrible play control.
The game offers two types of play control: with the stylus or D-pad (or any other buttons on your Palm as they can be assigned). Unfortunately, the player can only move in the basic four directions: up, down, left, and right. Not being able to move on an angle dramatically reduces mobility, variation, combat strategy, and not to mention, fun.
The stylus type play control is a lot worse than playing with the D-pad. When the screen is tapped, the tank moves in that direction but not to the destination. For example, say your tank is placed in the middle of the screen but you want to travel northeast. So you tap the screen in the northeastern corner. Instead of fluidly traveling to that destination, your tank will only move east then stop. It will not move north at all. This will require another tap of the screen to travel to your original destination. Traveling to any given point on the screen literally requires double the amount of moves as it should, if not more if objects or obstructions are in the way. If you tap the screen, your character should move to that target in the shortest possible path. Also when using the stylus, the player cannot rotate or face a different direction while standing in place. This makes it easier for enemy tanks to pummel the snot out of you while you are trying to face the other direction. This is just plain weak.
The D-pad is more accurate than the stylus, but it still totally sucks. You still cannot move on an angle, but you can rotate in place by tapping that direction one time. Only being able to move in the basic four directions is incredibly frustrating. If the developers added the ability to move on angles it would have doubled the four movable directions to eight, adding variety, convenience, and tons more action.
Power-ups also appear from time to time, aiding in the destruction of the enemy. However, these power-ups almost seem unnecessary because of the lacking A.I. Enemy tanks pretty much roll around like idiots with no goal or destination. They rarely even shoot. However, the difficulty will eventually increase upon later levels, but the beginning stages are just too easy. They are so easy that the game grows boring by level three. And for some reason, the Speed Increase item doesn?t work. At least, the increase in speed is not noticeable at all.
The graphics have been rendered with a realistic-type setting. This game has the look of the cult classic game Cannon Fodder. The environment looks detailed, as are the other sprites onscreen, but the enemy tanks are mostly pallet swapped. Also, some backgrounds and sprites do not mix well with each other, which can cause some muddy or blurred pixels between the foreground and background. The game does support a musical score and sound effects, but for some reason, this game?s audio always seemed louder than it should be. Even after turning the game?s volume to 20% I still thought it was a bit too loud. However, the quality of the music and sound effects are about average for a Palm game.
My Little Tank is a disappointing action title. If the play control was smoother, then perhaps it could have been a different story. Unfortunately, no matter if you use the D-pad or the stylus, you won?t be able to control your tank how you want. Only moving in four directions are extremely limiting for an overhead perspective arcade-style game that is based around action. If there was a better control scheme and if the enemy A.I. was a little smarter, this game could have been a killer app. Instead, it falls way short. You will want to love this game, and it will kill you to say that it is sub par, but you must look reality in the face.