When you picture an action or arcade shooter, usually it’s fast and frantic, requiring split-second decision making and lightning reflexes. The App Store has plenty of games like that, too; from first-person shooters like Neon Shadow to top-down affairs like Minigore. That’s what makes Atypical Games and Revo Games’ latest offering, Battle Supremacy (out now, $4.99), so interesting. It’s basically an action shooter, but the action is actually quite slow and plodding. It makes the game feel like a breath of fresh air at times, and a bit frustrating at others.
Unlike in Atypical and Revo’s airplane-based outings, this time you take control of a tank (for the most part). The game is split up into three different theaters of war, each set in a different part of the world (Pacific, French, and Russian). Each mission within those theaters has a different set of objectives to complete, which usually involve rolling around on lumpy landscapes and blowing up enemies.
Everything works pretty well, with a standard v-stick and a few buttons being all you need to control your giant heap of metal. Enemies are marked with red arrows in front of you (and red points on a mini map) making it fairly easy to find where you’re supposed to be aiming. One particularly neat trick the game pulls off is semi-destructible environments, so if an adversary is hiding behind a building you can just punch a hole through it. Peek-a-boo!
As far as game modes go, there are a surprisingly large number of options. There’s the main campaign, which has a pretty friendly difficulty level (especially compared to the developers’ Sky Gamblers games, which I want to like but usually can’t get more than halfway through). There are other single player modes in each theater as well, including Team Deathmatch, Capture the Base, and even Free Roam, if you just want to go for a relaxing drive in your giant death machine.
On top of that there’s also an excellent multiplayer mode, which gets pretty much everything right: it’s fast, streamlined, and always has plenty of other players. (Compare this to the recently released Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, which launched at the same price, and is a veritable ghost town online — despite being a far more popular IP and an arguably more accessible genre).
Here’s the rub, though. While the game is bursting with content, great production values, and awesome multiplayer, the inescapable fact is you’re still slowly driving around in a tank. Dodging is basically out of the question, and if you want cover, it’s gonna have to be pretty big. The long reloading times can also feel quite agonizing in the heat of battle, too, so you’d better make damn sure your shots count. It wouldn’t feel quite so slow if there was at least more strategy involved, but it’s hard to come by. You aim, you fire, you move on.
It’s unfair to fault the game for these things, though, because if you were zipping through the hills, nimbly weaving through enemy fire while laying into them with a steady stream of hot lead, it’d be the stupidest tank-themed game ever made. The worst thing I can really say in good conscience, then, is that the inherently plodding nature of the gameplay might be an acquired taste for some. Even that may be too harsh, though, because the developers smartly added in some great airplane and boat sections that mix things up really well. If you have even a passing interest in tanks or World War II combat, Battle Supremacy will definitely live on your device for a long, long time.
iFanzine Verdict: Battle Supremacy by Atypical Games and Revo Games is an extremely high quality follow-up to their popular Sky Gamblers series. It’s a tank-based combat game that looks great, plays well, and is stuffed with plenty of content and different modes (including very seamless online multiplayer). It also happens to be pretty fun, so long as you’re in the mood for being a really big, slow thing. Personally, I’m not always in the mood for that (I usually like my shooters a bit twitchier), but that’s not a knock on this game at all. It does what it sets out to do admirably, and if you’re into tanks and WWII stuff then you’re going to be absolutely in love with this game.