Tiny Timís Tremendous Tank

Tiny Tim and his Tremendous Tank is an awesome physics based action platform shooter that allows you to Destroy and Splatter anything that moves. This war just got messy!

Tiny Tim sets out to rescue Tall Tom in this side scrolling physics-based shooter by Lighthouse Games Studio. Tiny Tim's Tremendous Tank is a less imposing tracked war vehicle which moves about on loose and bouncy treads. Everything the tank rolls over, from bridges and rocks to bunnies and sheep, impacts the stability of the tank, giving it less of an action packed war game feel and more of a tight roping simulation as the game's physics engine forces more cautious play than one would anticipate from the game. There's nothing wrong with being light on shooting action as these sorts of physics-based obstacle games can be wonderful when done well, but unfortunately some missteps leads to a game more annoying than fun.

Tiny Tim's Tremendous Tank looks great with detailed 2-D landscapes and a nice variety of enemies and obstacles with which to contend. While the demo spends a bit too much time introducing players to the wildlife Tim will slaughter throughout the game, later on players will have to avoid mines, kill various soldiers, face airplanes, and more on his left-to-right quest. Tim's tank is equipped with turret cannon and a secondary machine gun, weapons Tim can man one at a time. Each weapon has unlimited ammo, and they both have their uses -- the machine gun being perfect for high threats and spraying bullets while the main cannon's heavy shell packs more power and will bounce slightly across the ground, skimming the surface until it finds a target. The transition between the two weapons is next, and I like how the game shows Tim going back down into the tank when operating the main gun and then popping open the door to man the machine gun. While the control is too simplistic for a physics-based game when compared to Trials HD's weight shifting gameplay,† I did enjoy how players can use the tank's cannon to shift its balance somewhat when toppled over. Aiming is about as well as one would expect with the analog stick, and targeting enemies was never an issue.

What does become an issue during the game is the control of the tank itself. The rubber tracks under the tank give the game its physics flavor but doesn't take consideration of the theme nor what would result in a fun game with good control. The tank is far too flimsy, flipping over like a turtle while riding over tiny boxes, sheep corpses, and more. The game uses simple horizontal movements to maneuver the tank across the screen, and traversing the terrain is made annoying due to the lack of better control over the tank's weight and positioning. It's not only that the smallest of things can pose trouble but also that the player has little in the way of controller tools to help navigate the levels at a reasonable pace. The sensitive way the tank reacts to anything and everything turn what should be a fun action game into a plodding, cautious exercise in tapping the tank forward, hoping to adjust it when it topples over, and using the occasional burst of fire to balance the tank long enough to ride over things it should be easily crushing under its weight. It also feels odd how the enemies themselves only become a threat when some ground obstacle has flipped the tank on its side, leaving it vulnerable to enemy fire. The physics gameplay does add a layer of depth to an otherwise simple side scrolling shooter, but it's not presented in any manner which makes for enjoyable gameplay, killing the pacing and stalling the action.

It's too bad, too, because Tiny Tim's Tremendous Tank looks great. Animals and people explode when shot or run over, the tank and overly rubbery tracks animate well, and the environments show excellent attention to detail. The coloring on utility poles, bridges, trees, and other set pieces show an artist with a great eye for design, each contributing to the overall semi-realistic look of the game. The variety of scenery helps keep the action feeling somewhat diverse despite the repetitive ground, and it's disappointing to see such wonderful graphics handcuffed to such disappointing gameplay. Beyond the obstacles tossed in the tank's path, the game refuses to deviate from its flat plane, and the occasional short bridge or shallow stream isn't enough to shake things up. Worse is that these bits of variety inevitably force the player into stopping the tank to proceed cautiously, turning what should be welcomed visual treats into gameplay eyesores. The level design just doesn't stand up to play, and while the demo left me appreciative of the game's wonderful graphics, aesthetics alone wasn't enough to keep me coming back for more and make a purchase.

Tiny Tim's Tremendous Tank feels different, and I definitely think the concept could have worked even though the result indicates otherwise. The artwork and music are great but suffer under the weight of dull level design and an overly touchy tank. The war torn ground is too flat and control too simple to make the physics engine necessary, and the odd way the developer attempts to make it matter via crate climbing and whatnot are poorly thought out. Tiny Tim's Tremendous Tank makes for a pretty tech demo but an average at best game, one which finds itself relying on the lure of blood and gore for its final sales pitch that to me likely indicates where the development priorities may have been and why the game unfortunately falters as it does.

★★★☆☆
October 28, 2010
October 21, 2010 | 80 points
Developer | Video | Download

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