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Review: Bugs Vs. Tanks!

Bugs Vs Tanks Guild 02 Quirky 3DS eShop Level-5 Comcept

Developer: Comcept Inc.

Publisher: Level 5

Platform: 3DS (eShop)

Release Date: June 20, 2013

ESRB: T for Teen


A download code was supplied by the publisher for this review


When you pick up one of Level-5's Guild-01 or Guild-02 games, you know you are at least going to get a quirky and unique experience. From Liberation Maiden to The Starship Damsey, each title is bound to offer you something interesting and exciting, even if in some cases the execution isn't as as great as the idea.

So, where does this newly localized title Bugs Vs Tanks! land? Is it a great idea with a poor execution, or does the quirky idea of taking on insect forces with military firepower stand on its own six legs?


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Bugs Vs. Tanks! has an interesting, if minimal, story: It's World War II, and a platoon of tanks mysteriously vanishes. The German troops are thought to be KIA... but they are still very much alive, shrunk down to miniscule sizes and fighting for their lives against ants, mosquitoes, and other typical tiny nuisances. There's little else to the story than that, but it serves to understand why you're fighting giant (at least from the characters' view) insects and general survival in the suddenly harsh environment is good enough motivation.

As such, this title must rely on gameplay to shine, and in that aspect it doesn't fail, but it doesn't stand out either. You move around both the tank and its line of fire, and the cannon either shoots automatically or with your manual input, which you can toggle in the options menu. There's also a once per mission SOS button, which you use to summon some back-up fire... and well, that's it. The simplistic controls lend itself well to the game, making it easy to pick up, shoot some termites, and be done.

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The game is set up into missions. There are sub-missions, which usually aren't terribly storyline important but need to be completed regardless, and key missions that typically have a boss battle and a change of scenery. Missions tend to be over very quickly, with few lasting more than four or five minutes, making it even easier to play in short bursts.

Speaking of, playing in short bursts is certainly the best way to enjoy Bugs Vs. Tanks!, because unfortunately the missions can get old very quickly. You have timed missions, destroy X amount of bugs missions, search and rescue missions... but there are very few unique missions to look forward to. Thankfully the maps and their environmental hazards change often enough to keep it from becoming a complete grind, but sitting down and playing the entire game straight through will make the title feel like a slog.

However, for those that are entertained by the main game, there is plenty to do even past the main game. After the main levels of missions, there are not only EX missions but also extra Co-Op Missions that you can tackle with like-minded bug busters (or even alone). Also, with varied difficulty settings and the various ways to customize your tank, you'll find plenty of depth in this title.

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To be honest, the various tanks you can unlock are the best part of the game. They are historically accurate for the World War II setting, which is really a neat touch. You can use any of the tanks that you find scattered about the missions, and even customize their cannons and fire rate, amongst other things. While a typical playthrough on Normal probably won't need you to go that deep into customizing, having the option there is welcome for those that enjoy tweaking their tanks. Also, if you have any Guild-01 save data, you can unlock a gold plated version of the starter tank... and even if that doesn't make sense, it's still pretty neat looking.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with Bugs Vs. Tanks!, it's still hard to recommend. It's quirky enough and decent fun to play, but there is little that makes it stand out of the crowd as a 'must-play' game. Shooting up various insects with tanks may sound great, but all in all it's... almost a little dull.

 

Pros


+ Quirky, light story doesn't try to make sense

+ Historically accurate, customizable tanks add depth and charm


Cons


- Missions are cookie-cutter and can quickly get old

- Gameplay is very simplistic, but can border on boring or tedious


 

Overall Score: 5.5/10

Average


Bugs Vs. Tanks! might have a stand-out concept, but the gameplay and mission structure is anything but.




8 Comments

The game sounds like it could be entertaining to a point, but for $8 I could probably find more engaging digital titles...not to mention I don't really play my 3DS much except to play Animal Crossing, so I probably wouldn't spend much time with it. Nice review though. ^_^

I have played this as well and it is definitely average. There are cool spots, but overall even the mass amount of tank customization isn't enough to make it very compelling. Quite a shame considering otherwise it could be a good secondary game for fans of Earth Defense Force. 

Seems like one of those games thats good for wasting time with lol. But like Venom mentioned 8 dollars seems like 4-6 to much even if the game does look charming in an odd way.

Those steam bundles are way better deal than this lol. Also forget this game and just play Animal Crossing. Now there's bugs in that, but no tanks.

lot of 3DS reviews lately, you guys really seem to like the platform ;)

 

Unrelated really to this review, but I noticed you rated it as a 5.5/10 with the title "average". I always considered average to be about in the 6-7 range personally, so is there a place on the site that lists your whole rating system and a brief overview of it's meaning? Most sites seem to have a page for this, but so far I haven't been able to find one on GP.

We do actually have a page for it on GP but it is hidden, so it really doesn't serve a purpose to the general visitors. Thanks for bringing that up! I'll definitely see about getting that posted to a visible location because it is useful to see our whole scope of review scores and their meanings.

 

As for 5 being average, well, that's what it would be in the purest sense when using numbers 1 to 10. After all, it doesn't really make sense to have 6 varying degrees of bad while there are only 3 for good, right :P?  Of course many people skew toward average as being higher because of a history of many reviewers doing so, as well as the A to F school grading system present in various countries. Anyway, we should probably continue this conversation if you are still interested in a different thread considering this is just one review, not the grand scope of reviews as a whole. :)

We do actually have a page for it on GP but it is hidden, so it really doesn't serve a purpose to the general visitors. Thanks for bringing that up! I'll definitely see about getting that posted to a visible location because it is useful to see our whole scope of review scores and their meanings.

 

As for 5 being average, well, that's what it would be in the purest sense when using numbers 1 to 10. After all, it doesn't really make sense to have 6 varying degrees of bad while there are only 3 for good, right :P?  Of course many people skew toward average as being higher because of a history of many reviewers doing so, as well as the A to F school grading system present in various countries. Anyway, we should probably continue this conversation if you are still interested in a different thread considering this is just one review, not the grand scope of reviews as a whole. :)

of course, didn't mean to go off topic. I get your reasoning behind it, but I suppose you are right in that I'm stuck with a different mindset from so many other review sites. I'd definitely like to get a look at that page if it goes live, hopefully you can get something sorted ^_^

 

And not to go further off topic, but I just thought I'd mention I've been seeing some reviews pop up in new content that lead to 404 errors (Metro Last Light and Call of Jaurez Gunslinger are two I remember). Just thought you should know in case it's a glitch where it is putting up posts early or something.

This game sounds alright. But honestly for $8, it isn't a bad deal for an average game. You might find that you like it more than other. Remember a 5 is still average ;).

 

 

 

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