I was recently contacted by the guys over at Monster Finger Games and was asked to review their upcoming game, Dash Tank Fever. After spending a good while on the beta, here’s my thoughts on what I’ve played.
Let’s start out with what works; I was genuinely surprised to discover how obsessed I was with beating my high score. It’s a topdown shooter where you play as one of two tanks set on eliminating each other, with the arrow keys to move, and space to fire. It’s a pretty well-worn retro formula, but what impressed me was how the concept was laid out. Both you and your opponent are separated by a wall of randomly generated bricks. So the key to getting to your opponent is to create a path through the bricks and set up a proper ambush, which always felt fun and different. Here’s a picture of the layout for reference:
The brick walls are what you’ll try and break through to get to your opponent, the bricks with dynamite sticks will set off an explosion (so make sure you’re far enough away when you shoot them) and there are secret power ups hidden around the map that can only be found when your radar starts to detect them hidden behind a brick block. It’s also worth noting that if the two tanks are to collide, then both of you will perish. Since there’s no extra lives, planning how you attack your opponent is key. After you complete a level, you can choose an upgrade to one of three systems: armor, speed or faster bullets. The catch however, is that if you choose to upgrade armor, your tank will be slower, and upgrading your speed will mean you have less health. There’s a surprising amount of thought that goes into how you want to attack your opponent and I was impressed by that.
But the game isn’t without its flaws either. While all of the ideas themselves are well thought out, the game has a hard time when it comes to presentation. During my multiple playthroughs, sound effects or the soundtrack would just cut out between levels for no apparent reason, and I felt the controls were way too clunky. It’s worth mentioning that the soundtrack starts to sound very monotonous after about a tenth playthrough, and I wouldn’t complain if Monster Finger would add extra tracks to the game to keep it fresh. The layout of the game is also an issue- I like that the game is going after a retro style, but there’s retro and then there’s a barebones design, and this one leans toward the latter.
All that being said, I did enjoy what I played, and if the developers end up developing a version of this for iPhone, I think its a game I’d want to download. I think the game needs a major aesthetic overhaul before its ready for a PC release, but I can’t state enough how much potential there is for a topdown tactical shooter, especially one that, if it plays its cards right, can really carve out a unique space for itself in a market over-saturated with mindless shooters. I’m eager to see the final version when it releases, and I’d recommend any of my followers try to pick it up when they get the chance.
I’m giving the game a 6.5/10. I see some real potential here, and with enough hard work I think the developers could make something truly special out of this game. Be sure to like the post and follow!