- Developer: Stegersaurus Games
- Price: 200 Microsoft Points (GBP 1.70 / EUR 2.40)
An absolute bargain, Tank Strike is a passable Tanks/Worms clone with the twist of being able to re-supply in-between rounds. It's a concept which will never really grow old - static guns shooting stuff at static neighbours, firing arcs affected by wind, angle, power and weapon choice, with destructible scenery constantly altering the battlefield dynamics.
Whilst obviously not up to the production standards of Worms, Tank Strike nonetheless offers some intriguing and well-executed variations on the genre.
The nicest touch is the choice of level themes. These not only vary the substance that makes up the 'land', but the tanks themselves, the projectiles and the explosions. Thusly 'Clay' sees tiny tanks firing blobs of Plasticine around the screen, which blossom into lovely little bursts of squidge upon impact, whilst 'squid' turns your tanks into what actually looks like a tiny octopus, shooting shells of ink across an underwater landscape. It's a nice touch and, along with the pleasantly inventive selection of weaponry available, fleshes the game out considerably. In addition there are various shields, shot modifiers, gravity effects and the damage-for-cash mechanic that funds the interval shopping sprees.
Multiplayer is obviously the key attraction - although the levels of AI available should cater for all tastes, too - offering perfect post-pub argument catharsis if you've had one too many Babycham cowboys to focus on Gears or COD4. Up to eight players can huddle round in hotseat mode for local play, but there's no option for play across Live.
Tank Strike gameplay might have pretty much all been done before, and the endgame can drag a little once your weapons stocks are depleted, but for the price of a half of lager, there's nothing to really complain about.
- Developer: Louis Lavallee
- Price: 400 Microsoft Points (GBP 3.40 / EUR 4.80)
Opening with a slideshow cinematic in which a peeved sun fries a couple of swim-suited pretties for encroaching on his beach, Karnn Age starts off quirkily, but soon reverts to type as a top-down bullet-hell shooter. This is no bad thing, though, as it does the job admirably.
To switch things up a bit, the central grassy play area is bordered by a strip of sand, which is the sun's territory. Spend too long on here and Helios' rage gauge will begin to rise. Once he's gotten his shiny little chops sufficiently het up, he'll charge on-screen and begin shoving you around. Shots will push him back but not damage him, so he'll need to be managed and avoided until he stops being such a hissy little queen and buggers off back to his deckchair.
Power-ups spawn randomly around the small map, offering temporary protection, health replenishment or brief increases in shot power. The left stick manoeuvres and the right one fires, dispensing a rapid spray of bullets toward the oncoming giant fish, turrets and cybernetic triceratops trying to erase you. A health bar at the bottom of the screen is the only UI.
You won't need any of this explanation if or when you come to play it, however, apart from the sun thing. Karnn Age is one of those gloriously simplistic and self-explanatory games which can be enjoyed almost instantly by almost anyone. Hearts mean health. Anything which shoots or moves and isn't you must die. The end-of-level bosses are designed according to the school of thought that twins weak spots with large flashing lights.
It's fun, challenging and off-kilter enough to have personality, but also very short. There are three themed 'levels' - although all take place in the same arena, changing only the enemy types. Each of these levels-within-a-level consists itself of three sections: a basic level, a tougher section featuring more enemies, and a final boss. There's replay value for high-score hunters and perfectionists, and the difficulty level will test most, but there's not a huge amount of content here, really.