Hero Interactive has just released another installment of their famous Bubble Tanks series with Bubble Tanks 3, an arcade arena shooter in which you pilot a tank made of bubbles and fight other similarly composed tanks for their bubbles on your way to total bubble domination.
There are two sides to the gameplay: semi-close quarters arena-shooter-style combat and exploration. Your immediate playing field is just a single bubble, but that bubble is connected to four other bubbles and those bubbles are connected to other bubbles and the whole network of bubbles stretches out into infinity. Use the [WASD] keys to move, and when your bubble tank moves outside of the current bubble you slide over to the next bubble. A mini-map will help you keep track of where you've been. The farther you get away from your starting bubble the more difficult and plentiful your enemies will be. Press the left mouse button to fire and take down your enemies.
You'll start as a pretty weak bubble tank, but when you destroy an enemy they'll leave some of their bubbles behind. You can pick these bubbles up on your own or, alternately, clear all the enemies from the bubble to have all their remains magnetically drawn to you. Once you have enough bubbles, your tank levels up. And this is where Bubble Tanks 3 differs from previous installments.
In the past, player input to tank upgrades was limited. You were given some pre-determined options to choose from. And while those are still available, now you have the option of really getting your hands soapy and doing all of the tank building yourself. Using the system Hero Interactive was testing in Bubble Tanks Arenas, you can build your ideal tank. Every upgrade level unlocks new weapons and passive upgrades and you're given a bigger pool of gun points to spend. Each primary weapon, secondary weapon or passive upgrade costs gun points to equip, so make sure you have enough available before you start tearing your tank apart. If you're not happy with your build, you can edit your tank in any bubble that's been cleared out.
Bubble Tanks 3 also features some cool sharing systems. From the menu screen you can enter the enemy editor. This lets you create an enemy and upload it. After it's uploaded, there's a chance you might see your creation and the creations of other players in-game. This keeps the gameplay fresh not only in terms of enemy variety, but also because it's doubtful you'll play the same game twice. Also, you will find some premium content being offered in the form of monthly parts packs that will offer more parts for your tanks and for enemy tanks. Don't let this discourage you, though, because it seems Hero Interactive will be offering a lot of free updates as well.
Analysis: Bubble Tanks 3 takes the series to new heights by combining the best of the Bubble Tanks core gameplay with the customizing features from Bubble Tanks Arenas. The result is a solid sequel to a very popular Flash game series that's a lot of fun to play. Although there's no story you need to be familiar with, the combat is simple and easy to grasp and the new customizing features are easy to learn as well.
The best part of Bubble Tanks 3 is also the biggest new feature: the tank editing. It's so much fun to play around with the different weapons and the construction of your tank. There's a nice variety of weapons to try out and all the different combinations will surely keep you entertained. And yet the game doles out gun points rather stingily, which will cause you to stop, think and plan carefully what to add and how to customize. All this is compelling because it makes you want to get to the next upgrade as quickly as possible.
The sharing systems are also well integrated. The tank sharing mechanics give the game an incredible amount of variety. It never stops being cool coming up against a new user-designed enemy in-game. It also means that playing through the campaign doesn't fall into a routine. Which is good, because while the campaign is fun, it doesn't offer a whole lot. The new tanks help keep things fresh and replay value higher than for previous installments.
Bubble Tanks 3 is a great new addition to a great series. The campaign is solid, the user-created tanks keep things fresh and the enemy editor is a ton of fun and will keep this version of the game living for a long time to come.
Thanks to CJ and Code1949 for sending this one in!
Play the entire Bubble Tanks series...