Touch Battle Tank SP is a game that just showed up from out of nowhere on the Japanese eShop without any previous promotion or listings. By the looks of it, it’s some sort of sequel to a series of tank-based games previously released on the 3DS. To top it off, it costs only 500 yen ($4.50, as of June 22nd, 2017). I clearly shouldn’t expect a masterpiece of a game with this pricetag, but was it worth it?
The game’s premise is very simple: you’re a tank, and you need to shoot at other tanks. There are half a dozen varieties of enemy tanks, and each type attacks you in a different way. You have two attacks, a simple shot and a charged shot. That’s all the game has to offer: shoot, evade and repeat. Sounds very simple on paper, so there’s absolutely no way the devs would mess up with the controls, right?
Oh man, they’ve done some fantastic cramp-inducing innovations when it comes to those controls. Only one input from the joycon is used, the control stick, in order to move your tank around. In order to aim and shoot, you touch the portable’s screen. That leads to an actually very uncomfortable control scheme, as the Switch isn’t exactly the comfiest handheld out there, plus the fact you have to constantly block your own field of view by tapping at the screen all the freaking time in order to try to shoot at the tanks coming at you. Touch Battle Tank SP‘s controls are, granted, an interesting idea, but they aren’t practical, and completely ruin the experience.
It also doesn’t help that Touch Battle Tank SP is downright hideous to look at. I know the Switch isn’t any graphical powerhouse, but this game looks pathetic. The visuals are reminiscent of an early Atari Jaguar game, with incredibly simple polygons and archaic textures. Even the bullets look ugly, with your charged shot looking more like a beercan than a menacing projectile.
And, to top it off, there’s the issue with the soundtrack. Well, simply put, there’s just one song which is played during all levels. And a very bland song at that. Given the fact this game was made to be played on handheld mode, just leave the Switch on mute and listen to something else while playing it. Better yet, just don’t play it.
Touch Battle Tank SP is just yet another below-average Japanese shovelware title willing to make a few bucks based off its minuscule price tag. It’s not good looking, it’s not comfortable to play, it sounds like crap, and it won’t distract for more than 5 minutes in a row. It definitely looks like something developed in less than two months to take advantage of the fact that the Switch’s library is still in its infancy.
If you want a cheap game for your Switch, just buy one of trillions of Neo Geo titles available for it. I can guarantee you that your hands will hurt less, at least.