I just want to hug the crap out of him! And then kick the crap out of him…God I wanted to like this game. I really, really did. Its just so adorable and fun looking and it has tanks and I love tanks. Okay, so they’re not technically tanks. But they move on treads and have guns, so dammit, they’re tanks to me. Adorable tanks with happy faces. But man oh man will your face not be happy after dealing with the issues you have to deal with when controlling these cute lil’ buggers.
So the goal of TerRover is to move from point A to point B. However, in between A and B are billions of things that don’t want you getting to B. What these things have against B and your commuting to B I don’t know. Now you might be thinking I’m talking about things like the millions of spinning saw blades that want to turn your tank into several bits of tank, but that’s not really the hard part. The frustration comes from just basic navigation of the terrain. You control the tank with the R2 button. That makes you go forward. L2 breaks, square jumps, X turns you around and triangle flips you upside down. “Wow!” you might be saying to yourself. “That’s a lot of stuff you can do!” No, you silly wrong person, it is not. First of all, jumping is useless. I couldn’t get jumping to do a damn bit of good. The only time jumping did anything was when I was already sliding down a hill and I needed to jump over a pit. Which brings me to the big point of the game.
Physics is your bitch goddess.
You will loathe physics after playing this game. I have yet to describe hills and steps. If you come to a hill your tank doesn’t just go over it. In order to go over terrain you have to use the right stick to move your tank up and down. Angle the tank up and you start to slowly claw your way over the hills. The game requires a lot of clever use of physics and tank movement and surveying the terrain. A good idea in theory. The problem with this is that the control of the tank is incredibly slippery. With almost no effort I start my tank spasming and flipping and jumping all over the level and I have no idea how to get it back under control. And that’s just when standing on even ground. When you have to move over several spiky outcrops, potentially with saws underneath you, this just becomes controller-snappingly maddening. Several times I found myself yelling, “No, don’t move that way, move the other way! No, stop rolling down that hill! No, I didn’t do that I just brushed against the stick! Aw man, now I’m stuck in balls! Why can’t I move?! How do I get out of here?! What, the tank can’t roll out of a ball pit?! DAMMIT PHYSICS!!!” And keep in mind, I kept out most of the words of the four letter variety there.
Now this is incredibly frustrating, but even more frustrating is that there are newer and better tanks you can buy. These tanks have big guns and grappling hooks and stuff that would make your life so much easier. “Oh, so just buy new tanks!” Stop saying wrong things dammit. You see, in order to buy new tanks you have to get red bolts. In order to get red bolts you have to do things that are the reason you want the newer tanks. So you give up because its just no fun, hoping to come back later when you get a better tank. But the tanks are too damn expensive so you need to get the red bolts but to get the red bolts you need the new tank but you can’t get the new tank because AAARGH PHYSICS!!! I swear to God, this is some kind of psychological experiment.
I started thinking maybe it was just me. Maybe I was doing it wrong. So I took my big ol’ George Foreman grill PS3 to a friend’s house and got some people together. Making them my guinea pigs, I handed them a controller and told them to play. And from this end, the end that saw people dying again and again and again and again and again, I actually started to have fun with the game. Yes people, the most fun I had with this game was not playing it. And all the others agreed. While it was hilarious to see just how much this game will punish you, playing it was a nightmare for everyone.
Now I can’t fault the developers for trying here. The game looks fabulous and I see what they were trying to do. But man is this a game without mercy. To buy it is to basically spend $15 to frustrate yourself. And its really a shame because you feel like you should really be enjoying this experience but can’t. Its a damn frustrating, adorable shame.