|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: 10tacle Studios / Conspiracy Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sproing||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 6, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Nathan Meunier
War games and turn-based strategy tend to go hand-in-hand. There's also something peculiarly alluring about being able to engage in a full-scale war in the palm of your hand. Whether you're sitting on the couch, chugging a cup of Joe in a local coffee shop or traveling on the road, Panzer Tactics DS lets you play out some seriously intense military encounters in one of history's greatest military conflicts on the fly. It may not be the cream of the crop in terms of turn-based strategy on the DS, but this World War II title is bound to occupy many, many hours of your time.
Players who delight in the careful planning of every move, meticulous management of army resources, and slow and steady progress across will easily thrive on Panzer Tactic's numerous battlefields. It's not a game you can easily jump right into, however, and some patience is required to get up to speed with the art of war. The learning curve is a steep one, and all the moving parts take some time to get accustomed to. The built-in tutorial does a decent job of explaining how things work, but even turn-based strategy game veterans will likely have to play a few campaign missions before you begin to feel fully comfortable. Once you've been broken-in, the deep level of strategy and versatility required on the battlefield is quite refreshing.
The game can be controlled by using the stylus or the d-pad and buttons to select and move units. The button controls feel pretty slow and awkward, so the stylus is far more preferable. In the end, you'll probably find the best control method involves using the d-pad to move the view around the map screen and using the stylus to handle every other major action.
Like many other turn-based strategy games, the basic gameplay in Panzer Tactics is pretty straight-forward. You'll take turns moving your military units around a hexagon map grid while laying waste to foes and capturing enemy villages as you strive to complete objectives and turn the tide of battle in your favor. When your units go toe-to-toe with enemy forces, they'll give and receive damage. The general idea is to whittle down your opponent's army one unit and base at a time while keeping yours intact throughout the course of the mission. Of course, this concept gets increasingly more complex as new units, mechanics, and strategy elements come into play. Weather conditions, ammunition, and fuel for individual units, terrain bonuses, unit types, and proximity all factor into how successful your efforts will be.
In single-player mode, you'll have the choice to play through three distinctly different historical WWII campaigns each with 10 missions which cover a mixture of land, sea, and air battles. Played back-to-back, the three campaigns span the entire Second World War. The objectives in each campaign increases in scope as you progress. Players will take control of the Germans, the Russians or the Western Allies, and the three unique campaigns play at easy, medium, and hard difficulty settings respectively. At the start of a mission you'll receive your orders as well as primary and secondary mission objectives for the current battle map. These typically involve destroying specific enemy units or capturing enemy bases within a set timeframe, although assassination and espionage come into play later in the game. From there, players are given an opportunity to purchase a few units and deploy their army on the battlefield. Any units you buy are considered core units, and losing too many of your core units will often cost you a mission. They benefit of these units is they can be upgraded over time, gain cumulative combat experience, and are re-deployable throughout the entire campaign as long as they are not destroyed. Also, during each mission you'll receive a set number of expendable units which do not carry forward to the subsequent missions. You won't be penalized if you lose these units, so they are helpful as a front line attack to soften enemies before you roll in with the big guns.