OK, first of all, just look at that box art! Seriously, LOOK AT IT! Isn’t that the most awesome box art you’ve ever seen? And with a title like Squishy Tank, you know it’s going to be a good game. Squishy Tank is a touch screen based action puzzler for the Nintendo DS.
Gameplay couldn’t be any simpler. A field of colored blocks sits on the bottom screen. If you see a group of three or more same-colored blocks, tap them with the stylus and they disappear and new blocks fall in their place. Depending on the gameplay mode, you usually must clear out a given number of colored blocks in a certain time. Sometimes, power-up blocks appear that activate when tapped. These power-ups can clear out blocks in a horizontal or vertical row, make certain colored blocks disappear, or give you extra time. You can get bonus points for quickly linking together chains of colored blocks. And that’s all there is to it, really. A handy in-game tutorial is always present in case you forget how to play, though.
Squishy Tank has several gameplay modes. Story Mode takes you through a series of objectives with a ‘story’ that makes no sense playing out on the top screen. Try Survival to see how long you can last, or challenge Time Attack to reach as high of a score as you can in a given time limit. Finally, in Quest Mode, take on a series of ever-increasing specific challenges to unlock goodies.
Speaking of goodies, you can dress up your cute little tank in different costumes you have unlocked in the Collection Screen. You can also unlock a handful of retro arcade action touch screen mini-games (like a reverse Space Invaders) when you need a break from all that puzzling.
Squishy Tank is a lot of fun, but it could’ve used a few tweaks to make it even better. Like an option to put your initials in when you make a high score, in case multiple people want to play the same game. Speaking of multiple people, some link-up multiplayer modes would’ve been nice, too. Sound effects and music are a little annoying at times, but it’s nothing a flip of the volume switch won’t fix. And some gamers might find Squishy Tank a bit too simplistic and easy. But arcade puzzle fans will want to give ‘tanks’ to Natsume for this nifty DS title. It’s a good buy at only 20 bucks, too.
Squishy Tank is rated E for Everyone with ESRB descriptors of Animated Blood and Mild Cartoon Violence. In the animated segments on the top screen, sometimes the cute little tanks explode in Looney Tunes/Tom & Jerry fashion. But animated blood? Where?!? I didn’t see any. Sometimes the tanks have bandages on them and I guess the stains on the wrappings could be blood, but it looked more like bruises to me.
Reading skill is helpful for the in-game text, but it’s not always required as the game is pretty easy to figure out just by playing. With multiple difficulty levels, players of all ages can feel challenged without being frustrated. Kids will love the simple gameplay, cute characters, and irreverent humor. And adults will like Squishy Tank, too!