War and business should never mix, but sadly, they do more often than not! When greedy individuals make money from the spoils of war, it’s cold, callous, and calculated. ConnecTank proves that the wheels of commerce should stop for no one. Subsequently, you must complete every mission given to you, no matter the consequences.
Developed by YummyYummyYummy and Tamatin Entertainment and published by Natsume Inc, this is an action title. Played solo or with up to three others, you command a tank that must roll across an ever-changing world. You are loyal to no one and you are only interested in what they are willing to pay you.
ConnecTank is a hectic production line game filled with tactical choices.
The opener about war is very loose as all-out warfare doesn’t exist in this game. However, ConnecTank is all about smaller battles with rival companies and individuals who stand in your way. The game utilises a production line mechanic as you and your teammates must fix the inside of your tank before blasting your opponents to pieces. Each fight follows a similar pattern, and players are forced to think quickly, repair their vehicle and begin creating shells to start shooting.
The game begins by helping a literal fat cat called Finneas Fat Cat. His delivery company desperately requires your help, and as you need the money, you jump on the opportunity. As time passes, different companies present themselves and you are given an array of missions to complete that all have a similar tone. The main action takes place on a top-down map that spans a random location. You must view the landscape and choose the path that affords you the best chance of survival. En route, you will face an array of machines, collect prizes, and meet vendors who will upgrade your equipment or sell you new ammo.
What I adored about ConnecTank was the simplicity of its core concept, combined with the difficulty of its tactical approach. You begin the game with a basic mech that has set ammo, some perks, and a handful of mods. As you progress, a shop opens and you are free to spend your hard-earned cash on further mods and upgraded shells.
The opening robot is suitable, to begin with, but as you face tougher opponents, its basic armour, health, and attacking capabilities fall short. Luckily, you can unlock new and improved machines by defeating them in battle! Every fight that you win earns you a piece of that mech, and five successful encounters allow you to select that machine. This is brilliant in theory, but in reality, you must work extremely hard to get the high-end brutes, as destroying them is no mean feat.
Once you have sorted the machine of your dreams, you must focus your energy on the finer points of each battle. Ammo isn’t given to you and you must match coloured scrap metal to a pattern to make your bullets. There are three core colours, red, blue, and yellow, and correctly mixing the elements is essential to creating each shell. If you get it wrong, you’ll shoot weak pieces of scrap at your opponent that they’ll simply bat away. Alongside your basic munitions, you can create upgraded missiles that move faster, are more durable, and hit harder. They are an essential tool for victory in the latter game and you must balance robot upgrades with each piece of ammo.
Pesky critters make it much harder.
Learning the fundamentals isn’t that challenging, but the developers had a nasty trick up their sleeves! Just as you get used to setting up your conveyor belts and the weaponry at your disposal, another harsh mechanic is added. Your belt can become damaged and your enemies fire pesky critters into your tank to steal your scrap and to ruin your equipment.
You’ll curse your opponents every time this happens as you must split your attention from firing shells to preventing their mischief. It quickly becomes a hectic nightmare, and failure is all but guaranteed. This is where a tactical mindset is essential, and planning your approach is key if you wish to get the most out of this.
ConnecTank is colourful yet simple.
I loved ConnecTank’s cartoon imagery and comic book style for each of the cutscenes. The striking imagery was pleasant on the eye and I enjoyed the details used in each character. The top-down map and colour palette were reminiscent of PQube’s Cat Quest and Cat Quest II and this simple style was essential when the screen became loaded with monsters and pieces of scrap. Subsequently, anything more complex would have been overkill and would have made it far too busy.
Oddly, the hectic nature of the gameplay wasn’t reflected in the audio. The folksy soundtrack created a calm atmosphere that was at odds with the surrounding madness. It was strange, but it worked, nonetheless. This mellow audio was supported by the crashing sound effects of guns firing and robots exploding. I loved this use of overbearing noise, and it worked well with the theme and the aggressive nature of the gameplay.
The controls are a little clumsy.
When a game relies heavily on planning and quick movement, you’d expect the controls to be accurate and responsive. Fortunately, they are mostly, however, they can be a little clumsy! When attempting to throw any object, it was difficult to see exactly where it would land, and this caused you to misplace your efforts repeatedly. This shouldn’t be an issue, you may think, but in a game where time is of the essence, a missed opportunity is the difference between death and victory.
I admit that I didn’t have high hopes for ConnecTank when I first started it. I had done no research, and it appeared very generic. Fortunately, I gave it the time it deserves as my first thoughts were wildly off the mark. I enjoyed every mission I undertook and love the challenge the new robots offer. Upgrading your equipment doesn’t become tiresome, and though the gameplay was repetitive, it was never boring. Its large achievement list will demand you return, and playing with friends makes it more enjoyable, still.
ConnecTank is a gem of a title.
Rarely do I say this, but ConnecTank exceeded my expectations in every element. Its simple concept, combined with its tactical approach, was clever and the music was understated and well balanced. It took me by surprise how addictive and intelligent the gameplay was and this gem of an indie title is one of my favourite games in 2021. I loved it and recommend you to buy it here! Pick your robot, create your ammo, and collect your well-earned reward.