Title: War of the Human Tanks – ALTeR
Developer: Yakiniku Banzai (Localized by Fruitbat Factory)
System: PC (Steam Store)
Length: 3 – 7+ hrs
War of the Human Tanks – ALTeR is a sequel and side-story of sorts that stars Alter Matsuyukishiro and her friends as they fight to defend the Kingdom of Japon against traitorous insurgents. Where the first game of the series had a semi-decent story, ALTeR definitely shows that it isn’t much of a concern and more anchored around the gameplay. Adding to that admission that the main story only contains 8 chapters in total and very disjointed at that, you will most likely care less about anything going on. Also like the original, alternative paths do exist and can slightly change the flow of events. It is truly something you will have to play for yourself to get the gist of without revealing the whole synopsis in a single sound bite .
With most of the key mechanics remaining as they were in the original title, ALTeR does implement a few new niceties. One is the option to create either Imperial or Royal Army units. Besides cosmetic differences (helmets vs hats), many units do slightly cost more to upgrade than their counterparts and will have alternative starting modules, if available for their class. While you can spend the time to upgrade both unit types, it is advised to only stick with a few from each side to avoid the cost. In addition to Free Battles returning, an option called “The Cavern” is added where you can battle through a series of challenging maps at your own pace and able to earn a greater deal of money and even unlock new units. This is also where most of the extra quest will be located at. Upon completing each map they will be added as Free Battles to challenge again in case you want to. Speaking of new tanks – you guessed it: there are new units also added that provide more intricate details to combat. For example: Sniper units have a greater shooting range and are able to get instant kills on Samurai and Knight units (they usual can evade attacks) while Command units can cancel enemy modules effects. The new units do make battles more manageable, but still require you to bring your best stratagems into play. Sadly, the lackluster map variety is still a deficiency carried over from the predecessor title. Nearly all the layouts look the same with the exception of maybe 4 or 5 of the choices.
The artwork and visual style hasn’t changed that much either with the exception of a few new added assets alongside the old. This includes new CG and bizarre looking backgrounds with the same mosaic style. The overall UI and menus look to have changed abit, but nothing that will appear drastically out of place from the last title. Same can be said for the musical selections and tracks, most being taken from the original – yet their are a few new pieces nestled in there. After beating the game once, you will be able to access both the music and movie modes from the main menu to view/listen to the content.
Even with new additions, War of the Human Tanks – ALTeR still feels like its predecessor and that is actually a good thing. The new features don’t completely go unnoticed or are they intrusive enough to turn the game on its head. The main campaign is very brief compared to the previous entry, but with New Game+ and additional hidden quest, the game does go a long way in terms of what it offers. Knowing that 2015 is not even close to done yet, with all honestly and love, War of the Human Tanks, as a series, is a likely candidate for my top end of the year list in the indie category (right alongside Darkest Dungeon) and making the wait for other release a little less stale. Again, it is not a title for everyone, but for those up for another round of cute and disposable humanoid tanks backed by a competent strategic component, you should probably look into this quirky series. Now if you will excuse me, I have a date with a New Game+ file.
Pros: New unit types add another layer of depth and strategy options to gameplay, tons of extra missions.
Cons: maps still present little variety, main campaign is extremely short, some extra missions depend on a trail-and-error approach than strategy, boring and unfocused narrative.
- Upon purchasing the game, it automatically contains the expansion pack that adds 90 extra missions and if you import a save from War of the Human Tanks, you can unlock a bonus unit. Don’t ask what said unit was, since I’m unable to figure out the transfer feature. The game official releases on 02-13-2015.
- I am under the impression that the devs love meat . Considering there is one Free Battle centering around that and the developers name translates into: “Grilled Beef Oh! Yeah!“, what other proof do I need?
Disclaimer: In no way, shape, or form was I compensated for the composition or publication of this review. This by my own volition. A review copy of the game was kindly provided by Fruitbat Factory. All images and rights to them belong to Fruitbat Factory/Yakiniku Banzai and only for review purposes.