Byte-Sized Reviews
Battletank: L.O.B.A.

By Jorge Figueiredo - April 14th, 2014

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I met Quentin Preik at the 2013 Fan Expo in Toronto, where he was manning a booth for his game called Steel Archers. Since that time, I have run into him at various events, and chatted him up. In talking with Quentin, it’s easy to see how much he loves making games, and his love of simplicity in game-play coupled with good ol’ fashioned fun makes him a neat person to chat with. These qualities permeate the games that he makes – one of which is a little-known local multi-player PC gem that he sent our way. The game is called Battletank: L.O.B.A. (Local Offline Battle Arena), and it’s a party game with a simple hook: blow the crap out of your friends.

Battletank reminds me a lot of some of my first videogame experiences on the Intellivision, playing a game called Armor Battle. I used to play that game for hours with my dad, or with my friends, and I can easily picture hooking up a PC to my television to play Battletank (because crowding around the computer in my tiny office might actually be uncomfortable). Battletank allows you to play with up to four people (each on their own separate gamepad) for some crazy local showdowns. Bots can be substituted for missing friends, or if your screen isn’t big enough to accommodate four pairs of eyeballs. Each map is presented as a single screen – so there is no scrolling or split-screen (just like the old days).

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Though few in number, the maps are pretty awesome.

Controls are very simple, with use of both sticks (left for movement, right for aiming). The “R2″ button fires your weapon and the “A” button uses special weapons (which are available for pickup as you go about your business killing or being killed). Latency is low between the controls and the actions, which is worth mentioning as I have played indie games that had issues with control responsiveness. In terms of levels, there are not too many – but this isn’t really an issue in a game where you’re trying to scramble around, trying to prevent your butt from being riddled with bullet-holes. The levels aren’t complicated, which makes for a challenging round when the competition is fierce. Powerups appear from time to time – and the their appearance (and variety) can be set before the round begins.

Sometimes it’s great to have a title to fall back on that just strips away all of the complexity and allows you to engage in good ol’ butt-kicking fun. The only real shortcoming in my opinion is the fact that this is local PC – however, most PCs can output to the television, so if you have a fairly good laptop (or a desktop close to your television), and a USB hub (for your controllers), you can get some good couch-sitting party action with Battletank L.O.B.A. – all for a really reasonable price ($2.99). The graphics are relatively simple, but they get the job done – and the animation is smooth, even on a slightly older PC.

You can check out the main page for this great indie title here (there is a link to purchase it if you scroll down); there is also a Steam Greenlight page here.

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