Review: Tank Ace 1944 by Chillingo
This review originally appeared within iLounge’s iOS Gems series within the compilation article, iPhone Gems: War! Military-Themed Games + More. Additional details may be found in the original article.
There are two reasons that Chillingo’s Tank Ace 1944 ($6) might appeal to iPhone and iPod touch gamers: first, it’s one of relatively few games on the platform to use a legitimate 3-D graphics engine, rendering tanks, trucks, ground, mountains, and water with textured polygonal shapes. You can actually control a tank as it rolls through European countryside, tilt its cannon, and destroy other tanks; three total third-person views, two behind the tank and one above it, are available, one only for the purpose of precisely aiming your turret and cannon for elevated shots.
The other draw, for military buffs at least, is being able to play in somewhat familiar surroundings. Depending on the army you choose to fight for—Allies, Germans, or Soviets—you get a different tank and start in a different part of the continent, with either winter or summer artwork. Your goal is to destroy tanks, keep yourself good with fuel and ammo by smashing supply trucks, and basically to continue advancing on your enemy’s capitol city. Drive your tank into the water and you die. Get hit too many times and you die. That’s pretty much it.
Unfortunately, Tank Ace 1944 is as dull as nails—only a little more evolved in gameplay than the old Atari VCS/2600 game Combat, which similarly had players rolling around maze-like environments and blasting at enemy tanks. While photographically appealing, the environments are in practice very sterile, and the presentation of the art is non-dynamic; you roll through a series of fixed camera scenes rather than seeing the world move smoothly around you. Sometimes, enemies fire at you from off-screen, and vice-versa; controlling your tank is also not especially fun. The only saving grace is that the title has apparently dropped in price from Chillingo’s original asking price of $11 down to $6; pretty pictures aside, we think it still has a ways to go. iLounge Rating: C-.