Once I got my hands on Battle Supremacy for the iOS, I was genuinely surprised to see that it was very much identical to the game I have been recently enjoying on Xbox Live Arcade, World of Tanks. Battle Supremacy tries to stand on its own feet, offering some distinct differences to help part it from WoT comparisons. But how hard is it to actually get a tank game right? You only need to do three things -- drive, aim, shoot. So let's just see if the team at Atypical Games can put on a death match of rolling steel that is just as engaging as WoT.
About six months ago, I reviewed Sky Gamblers: Cold War, which was done by the same crew over at Atypical. I faulted Sky Gamblers with extremely poor controls while experiencing a broken-record soundtrack, dull sound effects that would often repeat themselves three times a minute and recurring frame rate slowdowns in the midst of the action. Atypical definitely ironed these things out now, especially since tanks are much slower-moving vehicles, right? ...right?
Unfortunately, Battle Supremacy reintroduces all of the same exact problems that I mentioned Sky Gamblers had. Its presentation and graphics are a lot better, but this comes as a result of a trade off with even more frame rate slowdowns than I remember from Sky Gamblers. You would think that due to the pacing of tank warfare, it shouldn't strain an iPad to put Battle Supremacy on its screen. Well, this isn't the case. And restarting the app multiple times didn't help fight off the lagging frame rate even when my tank was driving by itself without any other vehicles around. Who knows how bad the frame rate would be on an iPhone.
Battle Supremacy's graphics are its bread and butter, when it works. It looks great to play on an iPad and with huge terrains filled with destructible environments, and it really captured the general atmosphere of World War-era siege warfare. It's nice that the cutscenes fade to a brown and white, fine-grain type of celluloid film stock attributed to the theaters of time. Sure, the environmental details of each level eventually repeat, but I won't hold Atypical accountable for that due to the iOS format's limitations. But there are two major faults to Battle Supremacy that I will atypically attribute: its god-awful controls and the broken-record repetition of its audio.
You will learn to hate your teammate's voice due to the frequent repetition of his dialogue. Every single action -- each time that you shoot, each time your enemies fire, each shot that hits your enemy, each shot that misses an enemy, each shot your enemies' miss, each time you get hit, each time an enemy is eliminated and each time a new tank shows up -- your partner announces it all to you as it happens. This is fine, but each event only has one line of dialogue recorded for each. Your partner is doing the play-by-play details of war like a professional wrestling announcer armed with only the same six or seven sentences to use every single time. And boy, does that get annoying.
The music itself is rather repetitive, I don't expect iOS titles to have much variance in terms of a soundtrack due to the relatively-small size of each app, but it just felt like Battle Supremacy had the same two or three songs throughout the entire game.
The guys at Atypical forgot a pivotal part of tank-based warfare during this time -- machine gun turrets. Ever notice how the big tanks of old had machine gun turrets on top of them? Battle Supremacy could've desperately used those. Due to the slow-nature of WW-era tank firings, combat is tremendously slow. Every shot, whether hit or miss, results in about 10 seconds of downtime as you wait to reload your tank round. You can only aim up or down if you zoom in to shoot from afar, but that slows down combat tremendously. On top of that, aiming in first person is extremely erratic, even if you slow your swiping to a snail's pace. Not being able to change the vertical trajectory of your shots outside of first-person results in always trying to steer around any types of slopes or hills in your path.
Battle Supremacy falls quite short of the standards set by World of Tanks. The dual-stick control scheme was expected, but its entire aiming system is too erratic. Combine this with snail-like tank turning, slow reload times for every shot you ever fire, and the combat in Battle Supremacy is simply not fun. The online multiplayer combat is a nice addition, but it seems as if everyone just zooms in and tries to pick off other players from afar, which got boring rather quickly regardless of match type. With it's five dollar price tag, it's really tough to try and recommend Battle Supremacy to even those who are hardcore WoT-fans. I recommend just watching the bridge sequences of 'Saving Private Ryan' if you want some good tank action while on the go.