Panzer Tactics HD03 Jun 2014 0
Back in 2007 there was a Nintendo DS game called Panzer Tactics, and now there is a PC and iPad version of that game ? Panzer Tactics HD. The game is another WW2 game derived from Panzer General, and as such will be fairly familiar to anyone who has played any of the other games based on Panzer General such as Panzer Corps and the like. This review is based on a (late) beta version of the PC game, but as far as I am aware all features were present and there were no stability issues. I have not played the game on iPad yet so cannot report how well it transfers to that format.
So what does the game comprise of? The game, like Gaul in Caesar?s Commentaries, is split into 3 parts ? the base game and 2 expansions. The base game includes an Axis campaign of 11 scenarios, and the expansions are a Soviet and Allied campaign which brings the total number of scenarios up to 33. The base game also comes with a series of tutorials which show the new player how the game works. The base game scenarios cover the invasion of Poland, through Norway, France, North Africa and into Russia. Obviously spreading the campaign this widely means that each theatre is only covered briefly ? Poland and Norway for example have just one scenario each.
In play you?re the commander of a WW2 force fighting operational level battles with specific primary and secondary objectives, which are detailed in the scenario briefing. There are various levels of victory depending on how quickly you win (assuming you win). Success gains you Fame, which can be spent to improve your forces, some of which carry over from one scenario to another. Additionally there is a ?role play? system that gives special abilities to your experienced units that survive multiple battles, and an officer system which allows you to attach commanders with specific abilities to units to improve their performance ? some of these are very useful; for example an officer that gives your artillery an extra hex range so you can bombard the enemy without them being able to retaliate.
The game itself looks fairly attractive with decent sized units on the screen so you can easily see which units are which, and when you select a unit details about it appear on the right hand side showing you what it is and information about its relative performance against different types of targets such as armour, infantry, etc. Whilst the sidebar showing these details does take up a chunk of screen space it is not so much that you are forever scrolling around the battlefield trying to see what is going on. Usefully there is a minimap of the battlefield included in the sidebar. Zooming in and out of the battlefield changes the view from a more or less completely top down (zoomed out) to a partial 3D view when fully zoomed in. One thing I didn?t like was that you cannot scroll around the battlefield by moving the mouse to the edges of the map; you have to click on the map and drag it around. I suspect this comes from needing the interface to work on a tablet as well as a PC.
Movement and the like is straight forward and no real surprises in store. To move you click on a unit, which brings up an overlay which indicates hexes you can move to, and then drag to the hex you want it to move to. If the unit has options, such as getting on trucks or onto a transport plane, a second click on the unit brings those options up for you to select. After moving a unit you have to click on a green tick that appears to confirm, otherwise the movement is cancelled. This may feel a touch clunky to hardened gamers, however, as this game is undoubtedly aimed at the more casual gamer it works as it is effectively an undo function. Movement animation is basic but works, but I did like the explosions when units are bombed or destroyed ? they always explode when destroyed and who doesn?t like a nice explosion?
Clearly this game is not being pitched at the hardcore wargamer, but at players who have an interest in WW2 and wargames, but who would be put off by a heavyweight title with masses of detail. So we are looking at a game pitched at an audience for whom Slitherine?s Panzer Corps would be a bit too much, perhaps more in the market segment that that company?s Frontline: Road to Moscow is being aimed at. I make those comparisons deliberately, not only because it is where I see the game sitting, but also the price points set for Panzer Tactics HD are higher than both of those games, which is interesting.
So does it work for that market segment? Simply put, yes I think it does. The subject is obviously well known and the look and feel of the game is not going to intimidate those interested in trying the genre. Game play is mostly straight forward, and, for the new/inexperienced player, there is the series of tutorials to walk you through how the game plays. Additionally, the AI seems to be pitched fairly well for this type of player as well, giving a challenge whilst not being overwhelming. All in all as an introduction to the wargaming genre it seems to hit most of its targets.
It will be interesting to see how it works on the iPad ? we will try and find out and report back.
If you?re interested here is a trailer video:
Currently available at Steam for $29.99 / £22.99 for the PC version or currently for $4.99 / £2.99 on iTunes with in-app purchases of $6.99 / £4.99 for the Campaign Bundle, or $3.99 / £2.49 each for the Allied and Soviet campaigns if bought separately. For comparison Panzer Corps sells for $19.99 / £14.99 on Steam and iTunes, whilst Frontline: Road to Moscow is $2.99 / £1.99 for the base game with 2 in-app purchase expansions at $1.99 / £1.49.
Panzer Tactics HD on Steam - http://store.steampowered.com/app/277630/
Panzer Tactics HD on iTunes - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id838840864?mt=8
Website - www.panzertactics.com