Developer: Mechanical Butterfly Studios
Publisher: Mechanical Butterfly Studios
Platforms: PC, Mac
Tested on: PC
Jump Tanks – Preview
Jump Tanks is Mechanical Butterfly Studios’ latest love child. It features guns, robots and multiplayer carnage, everything needed for a fun time. The game also won a couple of indie game awards over the years. Build your Battalion, customize your tank in every way possible with a huge amount of combinations and dominate the leaderboards in the multiplayer.
Jump Tanks is basically an online multiplayer shooter, but instead of playing with a human with puny guns, you play with huge robots that battle it out in the cities. The game is currently in Early Access so some things discussed in this preview could change over the remaining time of development, where the game should be released in Fall 2016.
The game has kind of limited functionality as of right now. Currently there is a simple multiplayer quick play where you just enter a game when one is available or create a lobby if there isn’t. Right now, there are only servers in the US, which makes latency for players outside of the US a little higher but still manageable. At release it should feature servers in the US, Europe and Japan.
In the multiplayer, there is currently only one game mode: Hunter. This game mode is pretty much a team-deathmatch where every team has one hunter. Killing a hunter will award 3 points and killing a non-hunter awards 1, the game will end when either team reaches 100 points or the time runs out, whichever happens first. When dead, there’s simply a little respawn timer that ticks off so it doesn’t take too long to get back into action. During the respawn timer, you can choose of one of three tanks you’ll respawn as, which can be set in the garage and the pre-match lobby.
At the moment there are 7 preconfigured tanks to choose from but these can be customized in such a way that there’s an enormous amount of possibilities in configurations. Different guns, shields, chassis, legs and attachments can be chosen in order to make the tank as custom to your liking as possible. There are also loads of different stats that can be gained from different tank parts like health, weight, armor, energy, defense from five different elements, speed, number of jumps, hover jump and more. The possibilities are just huge.
In-game is a whole different story however. The graphics look cartoon-like and semi-realistic at the same time, which gives the game quite a nice feeling overall. The tanks themselves handle fairly well and are easy to get around with. There are some quirks to the game here and there however. It seems that you can get stuck on a ledge when jumping at the edge of a building, allowing you to go back and fall off but not go forward. There’s also a particular building on a map where you can simply clip through, possibly allowing the abuse of this when standing inside and shooting enemies that can’t see you. The sound effects also make a weird crackling sound now and then, which isn’t all that pleasant. On top of that, the desktop cursor seems to be appearing above the game crosshair, which can be quite annoying.
The multiplayer is also pretty dead right now. When playing during the “recommended times” which the developers have listed, it’s hard to find a single player to play against. Luckily, even if no players are found you can mess around a bit in an empty city where turrets spawn from time to time, giving you at least some possibility to try out a tank and shoot stuff.
Even though most of these things sound very negative, keep in mind that they’re small issues. The game itself felt very smooth and nice to play. There are a lot of options to customize at your will as well as a fair amount of maps and there are also some more game modes coming in according to the Steam page. Most of the issues discussed above are little bugs and quirks that have to be resolved, but at its core the game is fairly fun to play and it isn’t fundamentally broken at all. However, to counter the dead multiplayer it could be interesting to add bots to the game. This could provide handy for people that buy the game in early access but are disappointed there’s nobody to play against and can give some entertainment until the game takes off and gains a bigger player base.
Right now, Jump Tanks is pretty much a diamond in the rough. The core gameplay is very good and fun to play, but there are a lot of little things that should be addressed as well as some features that would be nice to have. It’s player base is currently very low and seeing as this is a multiplayer game, it’s quite disappointing. Hopefully the game will only continue to grow over the development process in order to have real 5v5 tank battles once it releases.