Gratuitous Tank Battles is a tower-defense/RTS hybrid thing set in a world where World War I never ended. Tanks are used alongside mechs and laser riflemen against missile batteries and laser cannons. Sounds cool, right?
The game isn’t your typical tower-defense game, you have to use way more strategy and planning to complete each level. Tower and troop points are not that many per level so you have to do a bit of planning. Combine that with the larger maps and branching paths that the attacker can take, it is a rather difficult game. The real game starts right at the first level, giving you access to everything the game has to offer. It has a “tutorial” that shows you what the various menus do and where you can place units, but if you’ve ever play a tower-defense game, you’ll know exactly what to do.
You can play any level (except the first one) as either the one placing all the towers or the one sending in all the troops. This adds some replayability to this rather short game. You can probably finish it in a few hours, even with the DLC.
When you first play this, the game will look horrible. I had a hard time seeing what I was doing for a long time. After a while, the graphics will grow on you. It fits the game I suppose but even after playing for some time, a lot of the units are still hard to see. It also has night time levels, where the map is extra hard to see, but you do have night vision goggles to help you see things. With these on, the game turns green and all units and defenses light up like christmas trees.
Now on to the most interesting part of GTB; the unit editor/creator. You can create your own units to use in the game. Infantry giving you trouble? Make a big, burly tank equipped with a flamethrower. That tank you just made slaughtering your defensive infantry? Make a rapid firing cannon with tons of armor to smash it to pieces. Keep in mind though, the AI is rather smart and can use these units against you. You’ll end up creating more units to counter your own units, locking you in an endless arms race with yourself.
As you play the game, you’ll unlock more and more items to edit your builds. You can create anything from a tiny car that goes super fast to a big tank with a ton of armor that turtles through the trenches, firing incendiary missiles.
There is also a map editor that allows you to edit existing maps or create your own. You can share these maps online. Once you create a map, you’ll want to create a set of enemy attackers to challenge people with.
The DLC adds a new scenario to play, set in a time where you don’t have mechs (aww...). It’s essentially a map pack, with a few additional units to play with. It is slightly easier than the normal game, since you don’t have to worry about shields and anti-shield units.
It’s a fun game but won’t hold your attention for long. The unit creator is awesome to fiddle with and the map editor is a cool addition. It is rather expensive ($19.99 on Steam) so unless you really like tanks, tower-defense and strategy games, I’d pass.
We liked Awesome unit editor, fun playing as the other side, and smart AI.
We disliked Muddy graphics, expensive and steep difficulty.