Review – Total Tank Simulator

I completely understand if you’ve ignored Total Tank Simulator ever since its release. The simple fact that it has the word “Simulator” in its title makes a lot of people think this is just another poorly made Unity asset flip.  Not unlike the myriad of Simulators released over the past few years, ranging from waiting in line to, uh, “self pleasure“. Total Tank Simulator‘s title is very misleading, as this is far from being one of these poorly crafted games. It’s not even a proper “simulator” to begin with. Rather than a realistic tank sim, this is actually an easy-going strategy game that’s very forgiving with newcomers, yet way more layered and detailed than one would expect from its silly visual style.

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Battlefield, eat your Frostbyte-powered heart out.

Total Tank Simulator is a title that’s basically a sum of two different kinds of strategy games in one. Before tackling a mission, you can look at a map that reminded me a lot of the Total War games (wait, is that where the Total in its title come from?), letting you research new units, recruit officers, and select which nearby settlement you’ll attack.

The game truly begins once you choose a scenario. You’ll be transported to a small map and you’re tasked with placing units on your side of the battlefield, until you run out of resources. Imagine being given a bucket full of toy soldiers, toy tanks and toy planes; that’s basically how this first step of the scenario mode works. Place them according to the enemy layout on the other side of the map, also paying attention to nearby points of interest, where units will focus their efforts on. Put landmines where you think enemy tanks will eventually move. Place anti-air batteries on higher areas in order to take care of a possible air raid.

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This would have been the perfect opportunity to blast “Ride of the Valkyries” at full volume.

The cool thing about this mode is the fact that it can appeal to newcomers and strategists. A newcomer will have a great time by just shoving the map with a nonsensical amount of units, overcoming their enemy by sheer force and financial superiority. It is just too much fun to witness your army mutilate the opponent just because you have three tanks for every opposing rifleman. Veterans will also have fun trying to win scenarios with the least amount of resources possible, honing their skills as strategists. Total Tank Simulator barely advertises how appealing it can be, which is something the developers and publishers should have done much sooner.

After placing all of your units on the battlefield, sit back and enjoy the show. All you have to do now is watch the action unfold, in a pseudo Football Manager style. Just like in FM, ironically enough, you can give units an extra vague hint of where to go and what to do. For the most part though, you’ll just watch them kill each other until the game decides to consider one of the sides the victorious one. This won’t be appealing to everyone, since the graphics feature an intentional low-poly art style in order to render a literal thousand soldiers at once without melting your graphics card, and the soundtrack is quite repetitive after a while. Still, watching your army defeat the opposing side on their own is still weirdly rewarding.

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A tank with a flamethrower is the most metal thing I have ever seen in my life.

Total Tank Simulator won’t exactly please hardcore strategy fans, but there’s a lot more to it than being just a toy soldier war game with silly graphics. It knows how to please both newcomers and veterans with its gameplay which, albeit simple, is a lot deeper than I could have ever expected from a game with such an unremarkable name, giving you equal chances to defeat your enemies either by sheer force or by being thoughtful and strategic.

 

Graphics: 6.0

The visuals are excessively simplistic but also charming at the same time. At the very least, the game does a good job at maintaining a decent framerate after you’ve just deployed a literal thousand soldiers to fight against another literal thousand soldiers in a small battlefield.

Gameplay: 7.0

You don’t exactly do a lot in here, as most of the gameplay revolves around planning where to place your soldiers before each scenario, but there’s also a huge layer of strategy involved. You can give out orders after the round begins, but it’s actually more enjoyable to watch the battle unfold than to partake in it.

Sound: 6.5

The game’s soundtrack tries to evoke a sensation of being part in an epic war, and while I can’t deny that it does occasionally succeed, it’s way too repetitive for me to care about after half an hour or so.

Fun Factor: 8.0

As long as you don’t take this game seriously, as it’s definitely not a tank simulator, you’ll have a lot of fun with it. Watching these pseudo toy soldiers shoot themselves to death is more fun than it seems.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Total Tank Simulator is available now on PC.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of Total Tank Simulator was provided by the publisher.