War of the adorable!

Look at all those steel helmets!
Look at all those steel helmets!

Have you ever played a game where you control a bunch of soldiers, but had them revolt against you? Maybe it’s something about not wanting to rush to their deaths, but no matter the cause, it’s always annoying when people don’t follow orders. That’s why I’m introducing the Human Tanks. These cute girls aren’t afraid to die for the cause. In fact, they want to die for their commander. In their minds, there is no better way to go than to die in a fiery explosion.

War of the Human Tanks is a top down strategy game published by Fruitbat Factory, the same company that brought us 100% Orange Juice. There are three games in this wonderful series: War of the Human Tanks, War of the Human Tanks – Alter, and War of the Human Tanks – Limited Operations. All three games have very similar, if not identical gameplay, but each is unique in its own way.

The gameplay is actually pretty simple for a strategy game. At the start of each battle, you choose which units from your selection to place on the battlefield, as well as where to place them. You’re given a maximum number of units you’re allowed to place, so you must choose your forces and formation carefully. There are multiple tank types: Command tanks, Recon tanks, Shock tanks, Assault tanks, Artillery tanks, Interceptor tanks, and Samurai/Knight tanks. There are also Sniper and Fighter tanks in the second game, and Sniper tanks in the third game.

human tanks 2
General gameplay

The command tank, while generally weaker, serves an important role in your army. You must bring at least one command tank with you to each battle, but I recommend a second one. This is because if you lose all your command tanks, you lose the battle. Shock tanks are probably some of the most useless tanks in the game, with their only purpose being to blow themselves up. Samurai/Knight tanks (dependent on which side you’re on) are a special type of shock tank. Instead of blowing themselves up, the do a melee attack against the adjacent places. They can also dodge some attacks, making them a pain to kill. Recon tanks do what you think they would do, scouting the area and using their large sight range to let you see the battlefield. Assault tanks are the staple of your army, having good move speed, transmission speed, and attack range and area. Artillery tanks are once again easy to understand, they bombard an area from a long distance away. Conversely, Interceptor tanks intercept incoming artillery to save your units.

Due to this being a Japanese game, it should be no surprise that it contains a story. This story takes the form of visual novel segments in between each story battle, with the story being a mix of seriousness and comedy. Personally, I found the story for all three games to be very good. Again, due to being a Japanese game, it also contains multiple routes you can go through, the first game has four routes, the second game has one route, and the third game has two routes.

The plot for the first game is pretty straightforward, the Empire of Japon and the Kingdom of Japon are at war with each other, and both use Human Tanks fueled by the radioactive particles in the air. The player takes the place of an imperial commander named Dai-Honei who fights against the Kingdom, although things do happen that I’ll let you to discover. For the second game, you take control of Alter, a member of the Kingdom’s royal family who must push the Empire back after their string of victories caused by Dai-Honei. Lastly, in Limited Operations, you take control of another Imperial commander during the closing stages of the war, around one to three decades after the events of the first game.

Although the games are very similar, each stands out on its own. The first game is the original, with probably my favourite protagonist (originality bias?), although the game isn’t as large as the others. Between each battle, you can also use supply crates you’ve collected from your battles to research new tank models, build more tanks, and research and build modules for your cute tanks. Alter goes away from the different story routes of the first game and instead adds the cavern, which makes up the majority of the game. The caver contains around 100 floors, each containing more and more challenging battles. You also discover the fighter tank in the cavern, which will end up making a large part of your army once all the enemy tanks start being able to dodge attacks. Although the first two are fun, they do suffer from one issue. The issue I’m referring to is that there is zero reason to use your old model tanks. Once you get the resources, you just field artillery to spam the field, as well as bring in large amounts of assault tanks to sweep the area of survivors. Of course, recon tanks are important for finding the enemy, but you can forego them in favour of more assault tanks. In Alter, you have to change your army to be full of sniper and fighter tanks, but the strategy basically revolves around fielding your strongest and most expensive tanks.

This issue with the first two games is solved in the third game, Limited Operations. Due to the depletion of radioactive particles, both sides are unable to field many Human Tanks, resulting in a truce. This is shown in the gameplay with them doing away with the supply crate system entirely. There is no researching tanks and modules, and you cannot build your own tanks either. Instead, you are given a pre-set selection of Human Tanks that you must make due with. This makes the game more difficult in some ways, as you can no longer field much stronger units than the enemy. It makes the game easier in other regards however, as they no longer make missions under the idea that you have to grind for all the good tanks. A side effect of this system is that it forces you to use tanks that you otherwise would avoid. I’m specifically talking about the shock tanks in my case, as this is the only game I have ever used them as an actual part of my army.

Sure, of course I will...
Sure, of course I will…

It would be a shame not to mention the soundtrack and audio for this game, as it sounds so good. The soundtrack is absolutely gorgeous to listen to. It’s so good in fact that I had to go and buy the soundtrack from Steam. The sound effects are also good, with the sounds your human tanks make being rather cute. The visuals in this game are also pretty good, with each Human Tank being adorable in its own way. There’s something charming about the way the Japanese draw their characters, but it’s not for everyone.

I highly everyone give these games a try. They’re priced very well for what you get, as well as being published by a company that I find worthy of the money they receive. I also recommend picking up the soundtrack if you can, as some of those songs are better than most songs released today.

You enemy stands before you. Pull the triggers and annihilate them.

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