Treadnauts Switch Review  by SwitchWatch

Developer: Topstitch Games

Publisher: Topstitch Games

Release Date: Out Now

Price as of Article: £8.99 GBP

Game code provided by Topstitch Games 

Story

Treadnauts characters have a lot of personality and they could have benefited from having some sort of backstory to get you a little bit more invested as the player but sadly it’s a little bit of a missed opportunity and there is no story here at all.

Gameplay

This game is all about the gameplay especially in a party sense where you can get a bunch of mates over and blast each other to hell. This has Smash Bros. written all over it. Well, Smash Bros with tanks that is! The game feels like it has taken inspiration from that very franchise. With its 4 player brawling in arenas and use of typical moves like attack, recovery, use of items and environmental hazards.

Let me explain what’s on offer and how the gameplay works. There are two main modes: Versus and Target as well as a tutorial and Standard options and Credits. Versus mode is where I spent most of my time, It’s a 1 to 4 player game. If you’ve got no friends around don’t fret, as you can team up with CPU characters with 3 different skill levels if you so wish too. Each of the 5 characters (one is locked at the beginning of the game) has their own tank, however, all the tanks perform the same; it’s purely cosmetic.

Controls are as follows and feel tight the left analogue stick moves your tank from left to right. One unique thing is, though, this is no normal tank game. As your tank can drive up walls and on to ceilings creating some unique battles. These certainly seem like the tanks of the future!

You can jump with the A button and pressing it in the air will result in a double jump so our tanks are as light as a feather too. You fire with the X button, and by holding the button down you can change the trajectory of the shot. Also while you’re airborne, you can use the left analogue stick to rotate your tank, letting you fire while you’re upside down. You can fire at any angle while doing this, meaning you can propel yourself through the air, helping you to either get to the opposite side of the level for a quick escape. There are also other techniques to learn that help you get the upper hand in battle and it’s just pure fun when  4 of you are on screen vying to take each other out. You can also use the ZL trigger to activate your slide treads, which can be useful on slopes or on icy inclines. Plus firing in this mode makes you slide around walls at high speed smashing into your foes and stunning them.

I really like the character select screen while you are picking which character you want to play. A little tune will play, which is really neat. After my sister found out about this she was trying to compose a musical masterpiece. You can pick which character you want as well as adding CPUs. Each having max of 3 levels you can pick from making them more aggressive and more of a challenge for you. While this is happening, there’s little a test pit below where your friends or foes can drive around and get accustomed to the controls which is a brilliant little feature. Also in this menu, you add controllers, see your current level (more on that in a moment) and see the awesome modifiers menu, this little pop-up menu has lots of different options you can play around with such as 6 pre-set configurations for you to play with like – casual, competitive etc.

You have 11 empty pre-sets that you can save your favourite set-ups with. Then you have some other cool little options you activate or deactivate as you see fit. Things like time length, teams, crates containing power-ups, items, gravity settings, different weapons, modifiers for your tanks like rocket boosters, triple jump, increased speed. There are so many different combinations you can play around with. Some, however, are locked when you first start, and this is where the levelling up system comes into play.

Every time you play you gain XP that slowly grows as you play versus mode. Once you level up you may unlock new areas, new modifiers or levels for target mode. This is a handy little feature as it gives the player the incentive to keep playing to unlock more goodies. Believe me, you’ll want to unlock all modifiers, as they really do spice up the game in multiplayer.  It’s a nice addition, as it adds to the replay value, so at the time of writing I’ve levelled up to rank 9, but some unlocks state that they only unlock at rank 20, so still, a lot more work to be done.

After you have picked characters, modifiers you’re ready to rumble. You’ll then taken to a level select menu. There are 4 distinctive areas to pick from. In each area, there are 14 levels that you can pick from with 4 of those being locked. From a neon city to a frost covered landscape, the locations are all different, not only in scope but each has their own quirks and differences like Dreamland reminds me of a UFO research station. It has different contraptions like huge air balloons, buzz-saws and huge wrecking balls that can all be tossed about, or affected by you in the heat of the battle. Other locales include Salt Harbour, Wave District and Rust Valley again each is different and has its own unique look and feel. All feel great to battle on.

What rules you pick may affect how you score points, like being the last tank standing or it may be based on how many kills you get. These options can be changed in the modifier menu. When 1 round is up, each player who killed others will receive a skull on their score chart. Players who get the required number of skulls win the match and are taken to the results screen, where each player gets a podium place and a Roster showing what type of player they were. At which point you’re taken back to the character select screen to start another round.

Battles are crazy with unique moves that you can perform, shells firing all over the place so it can get pretty crazy. There’s also a tutorial mode which feels like it could have been part of story mode. It’s a little brief and nothing to really talk about, apart from the fact it tells you how to control your tank.

Target test is what it says on the tin you pick each level, and try to beat the best time to score one of 3 medals. Each of the levels are based on the ones played in versus, and more can be unlocked through levelling up. However, this is purely single player only. I’ll be honest, I found it really boring. Didn’t like it in Smash and don’t like it here. It feels like it’s just an afterthought. I would have preferred a story mode instead as Target test is really just not that great so I would stick to Versus mode instead as that’s where the fun is at especially with a bunch of friends.

Audio

It’s great! I love quirky little tunes in the menus and in the heat of the battle, everything sounds great. I have no issues here!

Visuals & Performance

Visually the game looks beautiful, really crisp visuals, bright vibrant colours, all character design are equally unique looking, as well as levels themselves. Looks like a title Nintendo would produce, it’s high quality at its finest. Performance was also fantastic, no drops in frame rate, no crashes, everything smooth and runs perfectly. Game also supports screenshots, video capture which is always a bonus in my book!

Value

What’s here is great, I love Versus mode, quirky characters and tank designs. Lots of levels to pick and unlock. The modifiers will change up every game and there’ll never be a dull moment. If your friends aren’t available, then having CPU sit in, is just as fun and you still level up and unlock all that additional content. Single player content is somewhat a “yawn fest” in my opinion. Unless you really love target test in Smash Bros., then you may love it here. Just wasn’t for me. Thankfully versus mode on its own is worth the price of admission. It’s got enough content with its modifiers to make every game unique. This is one party that everyone should attend. It’s not overly violent too, so kids of all ages would enjoy blasting and fighting for victory in Treadnauts.

Pros

P

Versus is awesome

P

Modifiers, Lots of levels

P

A bit like Smash Bros but with tanks!

Cons

P

Target test is boring

P

No story mode