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PSP Minis Review – NormalTanks

Originally a PC release, NormalTanks brings players into the world of yet another 16-bit inspired top-down shooter. This time with players in command of a tank.  Developed by Beatshapers, the game aspires to bring the fast paced run-and-gun gameplay of days past with this mini.  Do the treads on this tank stand up to the test, or does this get stuck in the mud?

The gameplay in NormalTanks is pretty simple: run your tank around the 8 different levels and destroy everything in your path. There is plenty of resistance, too with tanks, missle turrets, mini spiders and flying bats to deal with on your mission to kill. This wouldn’t be a problem if the control scheme was more forgiving. The movement of the tanks is not the issue, with the D-Pad controlling the direction your tank is going. The problem is how you control your tank’s 2 different turrets during the game. The face buttons are used to control the turret by moving it at a 45 degree angle or by holding the button to quickly turn the turret all the way around. This becomes incredibly difficult to master, especially on the harder difficulties in the game and against some of the quicker enemies you face.

The tank is equipped with 2 turrets during the game: a cannon and a machine gun. Each weapon is limited in ammunition, but ammo is plentiful so don’t worry about running out. You can power-up each weapon with stars found by killing enemies or destroying objects. If your tank ends up destroyed, you will be parachuted back into action, however, you are stripped of all your upgrades. Not all your time will be spent in your tank, some missions you are required to park your tank at a control terminal and bomb creatures to take out enemies and objectives. In some levels you will be required to destroy walls or rocks to proceed to different areas of the map. These provide a little bit of variety from the normal rampaging tank, but that’s about it. During the game, you also face off against bosses, and these fights are actually quite enjoyable, providing some strategy in the game.

The game’s visuals are sub-par, even for a mini. The environments limited to jungles and underground caves, and they look bland. The music won’t inspire you either, as the beat gets a bit monotonous after a while. Luckily the game won’t last much longer than an hour, so you won’t have to bear it very long. Replay value is limited to the game’s 3 difficulty settings.

Overall, NormalTanks is not a terrible game, it doesn’t really provide anything special or memorable. The game is very short, with the easy and medium modes not lasting more than an hour and a half, though the hard mode does provide a good challenge. The boss fights are fun, but the game is hampered with a very awkward control scheme that never seems to get any better. For the price of admission, you are really better off looking to other minis.

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PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

Awkward and annoying control scheme

Very short

Fun boss battles

4 out of 10