Dead…game over…wtf? Blam…kill….game over….woot? Yeah…nuke….boom….game over….hey wait a minute. Crush….path blocked….rapid fire….game over….Vector Tanks EXTREME!
If you haven’t tried Vector Tanks Classic yet you have just missed a great freebie. It was free during the launch of the sequel Vector Tanks EXTREME!. I bought the Classic back in the day, and whenever I review a game with a retro flair I tend to compare it to Vector Tanks. Vector Tanks Classic combined retrotastic fantastic graphics with progressively harder tank battles. The sequel is much like the original but forget about progression: this starts at hard and kills you before even taunting you with an harder difficulty.
Vector Tanks is totally controlled by touch, and the game has solved the controls in a unique manner. Instead of the usual virtual stick you use individual controls for the left and right threads. The left side of the screen controls the left thread, and the right side controls the right. By applying full forward power to one thread, and full reverse on the other you can turn on a dime. Tapping the screen fires the main cannon. That is all you need to know to play the game.
There are three game modes available:
Practise mode lets you learn the controls, and test out the different power ups. You can still die though if you manage to run over a landmine.
Combat mode is the main mode with four different levels of difficulty. Survival by killing as many opponents as possible. It gets harder the more kills you get, and you level up. Local high scores are recorded, but the game needs some global leaderboards to make it a true contender.
Rage mode is nuts. You have to kill as many enemies within 2 minutes as possible. I found that the only viable tactics is to just stand around rotating and shooting like crazy.
The graphics are totally vector based with user options for brightness, filling and line thickness. I enjoy the uncompromising retro graphics with tanks firing vector squares. Only three different vehicles are available but that is certainly enough as I have no time for sightseeing: tanks, jeeps and helicopters.
There is no music in the game, and I am pleased about that because the sound effects are awesome. Heavy thumping weapons firing and a bass heavy throbbing engine sound. This game needs to be experienced using some great headphones, both for the heavy sound effects and because it helps you finding the enemy using positional effects. You have a selection of two different far out crew members throwing hilarious one-liners at you. Jeff Straub and Jon St. John(Duke Nukem) do a great job, but you can shut them up if you want to as well. You can play your own music, and keep sound effects and voiceovers.
Vector Tanks EXTREME! is a great pick up and play action shooter. It is really intense, and it takes a lot of focus to get anywhere fast. I have spent quite a lot of time in practise mode just enjoying the great controls. I hope that the developer sticks with the Vector Tanks formula, and creates a Vector Tanks with a serious campaign. Having a arcade shooter without online functionality or achievements is quite limiting. I still find it a blast, and it gets my full recommendation if you are interested in an intense over the top experience.