War of the Human Tanks – ALTeR is the sequel to the original WotHT, released back in 2012. The object is to take control of a small army, represented by manga characters, on a hex-board reminiscent of classic Battleship. The enemy player has an army similar to yours, and both are hidden from their opponent’s view. The idea is to reveal the location of enemy units and blow them to bits with your little manga characters who have a special ability, focusing on one of three specific skill radii: Attack, Movement, and Recon.
Attack: Determines how many hex spaces (technically octagons) your firearms can reach. An enemy unit caught in the line of sight will be destroyed. Naturally, long-range weapons are superior to short-range. An RPG is therefore better than a pistol.
Movement: Determines how many hex spaces your character can move in a single turn. Just because a unit has a long movement radius doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea to go to the max. You don’t want to wander too far away from potential support, so keep that in mind as you stretch out your forces.
Recon: Determines how many hex spaces your character can “reveal” in a single turn. An opposing unit standing on a hex revealed in this way will flash quickly into view, and then just as quickly disappear. This gives other friendly units (and perhaps the recon unit itself) a chance to fire at and destroy said enemy. This ability, while powerful, is not always a smart move. It makes no sense, for instance, to perform a recon action if the rest of your army has exhausted its turn and cannot fire. The enemy will immediately move away, and you’ll have to recon all over again.
Overall, War of the Human Tanks – ALTeR is a great game. The characters are endearing and a rich storyline unfolds as you play. There are, however, a few issues that need addressing. The comic-style cut scenes are simply too long. If you like to take your time as you read, you’ll be spending north of 15 minutes each time! Another problem is the screen resolution. In my “late beta” version, the game supports a max of 800×600. This causes letter-boxing, as well as a hard-to-reach “top menu bar”. If this happens to you, simply roll your mouse higher up on the screen than you would normally, and the top bar will drop.
Is the game worth it? I give a resounding Yes. If you are a fan of manga, or simply enjoy the quick skirmish experience, then you’ll like War of the Human Tanks – ALTeR. And hey, you’ll even pick up a few bonus words and phrases in Japanese. Ikimasu-yo!
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