Gratuitous Tank Battles – Preview

Gratuitous Tank Battles – Preview

Yesterday saw the announcement of Gratuitous Tank Battles, the latest game from Cliff Harris, it is sounding mighty fine, read on for our preview.

GTB is a top down RTS/tower defense hybrid which gives you the option to play on the usual tower defense side of…defense, but more crucially you will also be able to take control of the attacking side.. I had the pleasure to speak to Cliff about the game, (the full interview will appear later this week) and he described how the game will play on the attacking side. “Attack is where each wave, it’s you that places down the attacking units to move along pre-set routes past the enemy turrets and trenches.” He revealed that this aspect of GTB has been influenced by a famous game from PopCap and yet will manage to avoid looking like what you expect from a classic tower defense game. “It’s quite influenced by Plants vs Zombies, but done with a lot of graphical detail and complexity so if you turn off the display of the paths, it should look like a big RTS battle rather than classic Tower Defense.”

With the game keeping the top down visual approach seen in Gratuitous Space Battles it is going to remain one of the few RTS/tower defense games that don’t adopt a 3D or isometric appearance. Cliff told me that “I really like top-down games and nobody seems to make them any more, unless they are simple flash or web games. There are a ton of 3D tower defense and RTS games, so I thought it would be more interesting to stick with top-down.”

From the screenshots for the game, you can certainly see that Cliff has maintained a very strong and unique visual style to GTB, he told me that “ I like my games to look distinctive, not just another 3D game.” Indeed Cliff has managed to take the unique graphical identity of Gratuitous Space Battles and apply it to his new setting. “In GSB, spaceships could fly under and above each other, which simplified a lot of stuff. In GTB, they can’t do that! Also, units in GSB were just sprites, but GTB has animated mechs and soldiers, and also all units are multi-layered, so you can mix and match turrets and guns etc.”

Despite a back story which sees the Allies and Central Powers still fighting the First World War two hundred years after it started, Cliff hasn’t ruled it out the game featuring a story drive campaign telling me that it is “a bit early to say”. He told me that he is “planning to give the player the choice of attack or defend at each battle”, this freedom of choice sadly wouldn’t work well with a story driven campaign.

With a unique setting and the promise of laser rifles GTB sounds like it will be a very welcome addition to the crowded tower defense market. You can read the full interview with Cliff later this week here on The Reticule.

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