Everything is better with tanks

For the most part, tanks have found a home among large-scale multiplayer games, thanks to games like World of Tanks. Players who’ve desired a more isolated and casual trip on these militaristic vehicles of destruction have frequently been the recipients of bad news. Fortunately, Codemasters has delivered Boom! Tanks, a one-on-one single player tank battle game. Hardcore tank battle fans may scoff at its simplicity, but that same element is also its greatest charm.

Boom! Tanks adapts to its mobile platform by taking movement out of the player’s hands. At first, it seems odd to have a game about mobile cannons that limits mobility. However, the end result is much more fulfilling because of it. Players are given control of their tank’s turret. Each of the one-on-one battles is broken up into two stages: aiming and firing. The aiming stage requires players to drag a reticle over the opposing tank and hold it until the sights are locked in. How quick the aiming phase goes determines how accurate and damaging the shots will be during the firing stage. Firing is a simple process of waiting for the ammo to load, then tapping the screen when the black marker is in the center of the sights. Both the player and enemy tanks follow these phases simultaneously, making the entire process feel like a heavy-duty Wild West shootout.

Boom! Tanks

That’s not to say there’s no strategy in Boom! Tanks. Depending on what kind of tank is being used, the appropriate approach to a battle can change greatly. Charge shot tanks do the most damage after the ammo has sat in the cannon for a few seconds, while rapid fire tanks are intended to reload and fire quickly, landing tons of weaker hits. There are also balanced and elite tanks that combine elements of both types, creating greater versatility. 

At the time of this review, there are currently just over a dozen tanks available for purchase, with more on the way. All the vehicles are based on real-world tanks, such as the American M1 Abrams and the British FV214 Conqueror. Each unit has stats for attack, defense, aiming, and reload speed. These vary based on shot type, but can also be improved by using in-game currency in the upgrade shop. However, it takes time for upgrades to arrive, making them best to purchase while waiting for energy to reload. Upgrades are necessary to beat stronger opponents, and it’s unfortunate that it takes so long to upgrade tanks to their full potential. Of course, customization isn’t limited to equipment. There are also color schemes, patterns, and premium designs available for those who want to add their own flair.

Boom! Tanks

As much fun as the simple combat can be, the game modes provide few flavors. There are a few game types available, but the only real difference is the difficulty. Campaign missions get significantly harder after each match, while Border Defense gets gradually more difficult and Seek and Destroy has set difficulties. Other modes can be unlocked by completing campaigns, but they still follow the same basic formula. The most fun challenge is the Daily Assignment, a standard battle that uses a tank of the game’s choosing. Daily Assignments are a great way to test out new tanks and add variety to the otherwise-static gameplay.

Boom! Tanks is a wonderful example of how simplicity can make for a fun action game. Tank aficionados may be turned off by the shallow gameplay or the cartoony visuals. Everyone else is in store for a fun game that’s perfect for short sessions. The shootouts are fun for players of all ages and skill levels and the free-to-play model gives the perfect excuse to check this one out.