iCombat: Tank Game in a Sandbox

Posted: April 26, 2009 in Action, Shooter

I played through the various levels of iCombat, and I have to say it’s a lot more fun than it looks.  Since I’ve played with Crazy Tanks since its release, my initial impression of the iCombat all-in-one course screen was that it would be limiting.  In fact, the game plays well and offers a different gameplay experience.

The accelerometer controls are pretty responsive and more realistic because it’s a little slower than what you would find in other tank games.  A new d-pad option was added in a recent update which offers additional flexibility for gamers.  This is not a bad thing because like I said, it adds to the realism of a real tank.  iCombat has the added targeting mechanism, which I think adds to the gameplay.  The game has three settings: easy, medium and hard, and you can also set the tilt/d-pad under the Options menu.

Taking into account that you have a clear line of fire, you tap where you want to launch your weapon (e.g. missile, grenade), and I found this to be pretty accurate.  You can even launch multiple missiles which is limited by how fast you can tap.  During the game, you come across various weapons upgrades that you can collect: mines, grenades, guided missiles, shields and cloaking.  What’s nice is that unlike some games, you can save these upgrades and use them later, but keep in mind they have limited usage.  Tap on them when you’re ready to use them, and they will blink when running low.  Also, there are 3 different types of tanks (green, blue and red).  Of the 3, the red tank requires multiple missile hits to be destroyed and on top of that, in a level when all three tanks in play, you must destroy the green and blue tanks first before the red one is unlocked and in play.

I think the scoring system is appropriate for iCombat, and the score is also your timer.  The faster you destroy your targets, the more points you will receive upon clearing the level (or if you get destroyed).  After clearing a level, a screen pops up showing the total number of tanks destroyed and totals the score to that point.

As for the gameplay action, it’s fairly simple: destroy your enemies before they destroy you.  Missiles bounce off walls so watch out for enemies even if they’re behind walls.  In the medium and hard settings, enemy tanks tend to be a little more intelligent in ricocheting missiles.  Also, watch out for your own missiles because depending on the angle, your missiles will ricochet back at you and destroy your tank.  As you progress through the levels, you’ll see some tanks barricaded behind four walls.  You need the grenade and mine weapons upgrade to blow through the wall (you can also toss it over the barricade into where the tanks are located to destroy them).  You will not be able to blow through the barricade without the grenades or mines in the early stages and as a general rule, pick up weapons upgrades as soon as you can.

iCombat currently has 20 levels which can be fairly repetitive after a while.  I think the dev can easily solve this by randomizing the levels so that the courses change each time you play the game.  Also, the addition of global online scoring would add to the replayability since scores will change depending on how quickly you clear each level.

Overall, iCombat is a solid pick-up-and-play tank game (how often does that get said) with intuitive controls and fun looking course.  In many ways, it reminds of Tank Warrior, another iTunes tank game, with the toy-like approach.

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