Panzer Tactics HD is a remake of the Nintendo DS title of the same name from 2007 and Developers Sproing Interactive have certainly seized the opportunities that iPad and PC formats had to offer their game. Panzer Tactics HD is a traditional hex based Second World War strategy game in the style of the Panzer general series however it simplifies some of the visual complexities to better fit formats like the DS and IPad. The complexity of the genre has not been lost, just stowed away better so that you are not left prodding at tiny hard to read drop down menus with your big chipolata fingers. Panzer tactics provides all the size and scope and time eating gameplay of other turn based strategies it gives you plenty to think about.
The game is built around three campaigns that put you in charge of Soviet, Allied and Axis powers respectively. These thirty missions can also be replayed as scenarios later or can be replayed making different choices in troop’s leaders and tactics. you see, You can often choose to rush to your primary objective and perhaps win a bonus in the next section for being quick, or you could choose to take your time and cover all the secondary missions which might lose you your time bonus but might gain you say cheaper tanks in the next round. Leaders can be hired to add to your troops abilities some will favour infantry over air units so this can also alter how your mission progresses whilst also adding to the re playability.
When the DS came out in 2007 it received a fair amount of negative feedback about its Wi-Fi multiplayer which was unworkable due to difficulties matchmaking such a complex time consuming game. So wisely the developers stuck to their strengths and concentrated on the single player game. I totally applaud the developer’s decision in this; multiplayer is not compulsory and does not suit every genre. Specifically I doubt it would suit this one as it would require a host of boring samey balanced maps, not to mention the problems of finding someone who has two hours to spend on a match? Whilst I like what they have done for touch screen gamers as a pc user i found the control system initially unintuitive until I looked at it from the touch screen angle. Once the penny had dropped it became much easier to navigate the GUI and to direct my units.
The game itself plays stably enough and seems fairly complete aside from some issues with missing text sections which I expect in a closed beta. The missions are well picked and reflect the progression of the war with relevant units appearing across the campaigns in much the same order as they did in history. The art assets and unit models are nice enough graphically and i have seen hex strategies with nothing more than unit markers do well in the past, but while that might suit the purist it wouldn’t cut the mustard with the tablet audience. I was very taken by the officer’s portraits; they seemed to sit in a joyful middle ground between the classic war films and situation comedies like “Dad’s army” and “Allo allo”. I have to admit i have not tried the officers yet in game, it’s hard to tell how much of a buff they would offer compared to their price (basic officer 5x the price of a medium tank).
Equally the music and sound effects are better than most in fact the music sounds quite modern whilst still having the moody epic chords that fit world war two games so well. I think many fans of the genre will be keen to have a way to enjoy it on tablet, as this kind of game is perfect for a longish commute. Casual tablet gamers are also likely to enjoy this title and perhaps go on to enjoy hex based strategy games in general. Somehow i think the PC version might appeal to strategy addicts that want a quicker and more light-hearted fix, one that involves less squinting at menus. Personally I enjoyed this immensely once i had got to grips with its interface and I have every intention to stomp all over Panzer tactic’s 30 glorious missions. I heartily recommend you check it out on its full release as the hex map strategy game has held its popularity by virtue of the addictive fun they provide and Panzer Tactics is a great new example of the genre.