Developer: Topstitch Games
Publisher: Topstitch Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Action & Party
Release Date: August 17, 2018 (EU & NA)
There has been no shortage of party games available for the Nintendo Switch, and next up from developer Topstitch Games is the chaotic tank-combat title Treadnauts. With a simple, yet high-ceiling gameplay loop I can see this being a staple for any players who like their multiplayer experiences on the Switch. While it is loads of fun, you need to make sure you have friends to play with as this is exclusively a multiplayer couch experience.
At its core, Treadnauts is a competitive multiplayer title where you try to blow up your opponents, and these other tanks are your friends (or family when I was playing). The catch here is that your tanks are acrobatic and can be propelled through the air by simply blasting yourself from the ground and while in the air. You can also wall-climb with your tank and couple this with shooting high arcing shells, can make for quite a chaotic affair.
The controls are simple with you being able to jump, shoot, and wall-climb, but it takes some mastery to perfect the mechanics. When shooting, you have to hold down the button and then let go when you want to release the shot. It’s not very difficult when remaining stationary and timing your shots, but when you add in moving and jumping while also trying to shoot, this becomes much more of a challenge. I could see casual players becoming frustrated, but usually, the random chaos made for a humorous time when playing with my kids.
Gravity plays a big part with if you will succeed or fail, as you have to manage your shots, plan for the trajectory, and where your tank will end up. Think of Treadnauts as a faster Worms type of title where each move and shot you take has to be calculated, but this game is much faster and requires more movement. It’s definitely more difficult than simply aiming and shooting wherever your barrel is pointed. There is a certain amount of skill present, and practice can make you a better player.
Thankfully, there is a Tutorial mode which I advise all first time players experience as it does a decent job of displaying the basics and nuances of combat. There are also single player challenges that can be performed, such as target practice missions if you have no friends to play with. You are given a set amount of time to use your tank and try to eliminate all the targets in the shortest amount of time possible. Getting a fast time earns you a medal: bronze, silver, or gold, and to unlock more challenges you have to get a gold which is nearly impossible. Unfortunately, that’s about it for all the modes making Treadnauts a game you need other players for.
There is no online multiplayer although you can use bots, but unfortunately, they don’t provide much of a fight and quickly becomes a tiresome affair. Modifiers can be accessed before a battle, allowing you to change up the gameplay by changing your weapon types, altering gravity, how many lives you have, and some other minor changes. Experience for a level progression system is gained just by playing, which unlocks new stages, characters, and rule modifiers.
Each level, of which you can select from before a match, is fully encased, meaning that you cannot fall off the map. Some of the maps support environmental destruction, providing the game with another layer of depth and adding more ways to be destroyed. Before playing around, you can modify the range of upgrades that will drop in crates and these upgrades will bestow a power-up to whoever grabs them first. There are shield pick-ups, massive bullet upgrades, and a host of other buffs you can acquire to give you an edge in combat.
I will say for the lack of content, Treadnauts does have great style with the menus and characters you can select from really popping. Artistic flairs and clever use of colors make for a neat visual experience, and the gameplay is slick and smooth. The music and sound effects are pretty basic, but they accompany the on-screen action effectively. While the presentation may seem too simple, I did like the different characters you could select from with different attributes. It sort of reminded me of something like Overwatch with some characters that stick out visually, but lack personality.
Overall, Treadnauts is a fun party title, taking a simple concept and making something enjoyable from it. There is some real skill involved to master the gameplay mechanics and even non-experienced players will have fun blasting around. Unfortunately, the lack of modes and online-multiplayer subtract from the experience as you will need other players to really appreciate what Treadnauts is all about.
The Verdict: 7/10
*Review Key Provided by Topstitch Games
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