The name “Pocket Tanks” finally makes sense as Pocket Tanks Deluxe makes its move to the iPhone and iPod Touch. Traditionally, Pocket Tanks is played on the PC and this is how I have played the game countless times. Now that the game has made its move into our pockets, players will be glad to know that the developers managed to make the game smaller without shrinking the fun as well.
Pocket Tanks will immediately draw comparisons to both Scorched Earth and Worms. The sits somewhere between the two, the aesthetics and functionality are closer to scorched earth, while the humor is more along the lines of the Worms series. The player is cast in the role of a tank, and is pit against one other armored combatant on a randomly generated piece of land. One must adjust the angle that the gun make’s with the horizon, along with the power that the weapon will launch with. The player can choose from 150 weapons, only ten of which can be taken into each battle. Once all ten weapons have been used, the round ends and whichever tank did more damage over the course of the game is declared the victor.
Players need not struggle with controlling the game, the interface is intuitive and there are sometimes several ways to do one thing so that one can just do what comes most naturally to them. One negative aspect of the interface is the fact that menu items will often have a box that is checked next to them, and players must press this check to navigate further into the menu. In a world where a checked checkbox usually means “this option is on”, it is strange to have it actually be a button that takes one deeper into the menu and in some cases function to cycle through different options.
Pocket tanks is deeply customizable, players can set the rules, how the land forms, how large the explosions are, how intense the wind is, how frequently the wind changes direction, what items are available, and the list of options just goes on and on. Unfortunately, listening to your own music is not one of those options.
Multiplayer is easily my favorite part of the game, the game has “pass the iphone” hotseat controls that allow for two players to anger each other to no end wherever they please. The game can also be played against a computer in “one tank” mode, or played against oneself in target practice mode. Note that target practice mode lets the player choose from all of the weapons available in the game, which is very handy when learning the game. Weapons all have the same mass, so players don’t need to worry about changing the angle or power to adjust for the use of a different weapon because as long as you don’t alter these settings all projectiles will have the same trajectory path. Also notable is the destructible/deformable terrain that will succumb to the force of your artillery barrage.
If there is any question about the matter, this game is worth the 4.99 asking price. Players that aren’t sure should be sure to download the lite version, as it features almost all of the functionality of the full version but does not include all of the weapons. If it’s somewhat older look and feel don’t bother you, a purchase is in order.
Presentation and Graphics
While the original style is far from being an eyesore, the visuals are somewhat dated and could easily do with a re-imagining. The deformable terrain is a big plus, and the weapons all look unique and interesting.
No, you cannot play your own music. Yes, it would make single player much nicer. While the in-game soundtrack and sound effects are nice, I usually end up turning the sound off when playing multiplayer anyways.
Pocket Tanks Deluxe is a classic artillery game executed with grace on the mobile platform. More variation in landscapes and environments would spice up the rounds a bit, and could perhaps bring additional challenge.
Unless you have a friend nearby to play with you may not pick this one up quite that often, but it has the potential for hours of fun.