Anyone who has bought a fair number of visual novels on Steam knows all too well that Steam seems to have little quality control nowadays, especially in regards to visual novels. Plenty of visual novels that have been released on Steam fail in all regards, bad art, an even worse story and terrible music. So I’ve become apprehensive about buying visual novels from Steam.
War of the Human Tanks, of course, is not solely a visual novel. Most of the gameplay is a top down strategy game. So, assuming that the visual novel part of the game would mostly be filler in between battles, I decided to pick the game up.
First of all let me say that the actual gameplay in Human Tanks isn’t very interesting. It will likely remain interesting for the majority of your first play through (which will take about 5 hours) but once you go back to get the other endings it will start to become a grind. In short, it doesn’t have much depth. Not only that, but the game is also extremely easy, so little to no strategizing is needed to win the game. Once you figure things out it essentially boils down to moving your units forward until you win.
However, the visual novel part of the game remains interesting throughout. It was often humorous and I also found myself becoming more attached to a number of the human tanks than I honestly should have been given the lack of depth in the story. I feel like I was a bit cheated into liking them because of the cute art style and the overall sadness of their existence, but hey, in the end I cared about the story and wanted to see how it ended and that means it did something right.
The art in the game is serviceable but far from great. For the visual novel part of the game the character sprites are a very simplistic chibi style and look good enough, however, they clash greatly with the backgrounds which are just photographs ran through a filter. In the end, the backgrounds are not that distracting and the various art in the actual gameplay portions go perfectly fine together.
Most of the soundtrack is nothing special, but it gets the job done of setting the tone. A few of the tracks are quite good and a few of them are rather poor. All together Human Tank’s soundtrack is fairly average. The sound effects will be rather loud compared to the music unless you lower their volume in the system options, but it is forgivable seeing as they give you the option to turn them down.
Overall, the gameplay of War of the Human Tanks is lackluster but it turned out to be a surprisingly interesting visual novel. Neither the gameplay nor the visual novel are good enough to stand on their own, but together they’re good enough to keep you interested for the time it takes to finish the campaign and get some of the alternative endings. The visual novel part is the better of the two though, so I would not suggest buying it if you’re mainly interested in the gameplay. If you’re looking to buy a visual novel on Steam that isn’t terrible like many of the others on Steam I’d definitely suggest picking this game up.