Review – Atomic Cannon Pocket by Isotope 244

by Reads (12,637)

Atomic Cannon Pocket is a tank combat game for PocketPCs in the tradition of the Artillery Duel style of games–on steroids.

I would assume most people who have played even a minimum of computer games have played some variation on the classic Artillery Duel concept. For those of you who haven’t, the usual idea is that you have two little tanks, sitting on a landscape, which take turns firing at each other, and to hit your opponent you have to select the proper angle and power to hit the other tank while compensating for wind. Most versions add some twists like variable wind, weather, multiple weapons, and deformable terrain. Atomic Cannon, by Isotope244, thows in all of these plus multiple tanks, multiple teams, large playing fields, infinite options, and infinite replayability, resulting in an almost narcotic level of gameplay.

The raw numbers of the game are impressive; 25 environments, 6 landscape types, up to sixteen teams–eight human, eight computer–each consisting of up to 5 tanks each. And let us not forget, 50 individual weapons including nuclear bombs. (Believe it or not, some of the weapons are inspired by the real atomic cannons built by the Army in the ’50s.)

Atomic Cannon SS

Don’t get your hopes up though–when I refer to 8 human players I don’t mean via LAN, Bluetooth, or IR. A shame, since this would be a really killer game to play over the office network. The only multiplayer ability is hotseat, all playing on the same PocketPC, which would take a lot of fun out of it. Still, an equally entertaining application of the multiplayer capability is to play multiple teams all by yourself, either to battle the computer or simply to try and kick ones own buttocks.

Atomic Cannon SS2

Gameplay wise, you really couldn’t ask for more. With the level of customizibility in the settings, you can set up for anything from a simple one-on-one duel to the death, to 80 tanks carpeting a landscape from 1 to 4 times the screen width in a 20 round battle for points. I know I’ll fail, since there are so many, but I’ll try to run down the various options you get.

Rounds vs Deathmatch. Rounds means a user-selectable number of turns are taken, tanks cannot be destroyed, and the winner is the player with the most points at the end. Deathmatch is a battle to the death, tanks can be destroyed, last man standing wins.

Graphics. You can choose anything from antique wire-frame graphics to a lush rendered terrain complete with weather.

ACP SS3

Players. Up to 8 human-controlled teams, and up to 8 computer controlled teams. You can match human on human, human against computer, and even computer vs computer.

Wind and weather. Wind can be turned off, low, medium, high, static throughout a game, variable between turns, or even constantly variable. Oh, and did I mention the rain, snow, and dust storms? Yah.

Weapon effects. Acids, radioactivity, dirtbombs, clusterbombs, what more do you want? If you’re not satisfied with this level of carnage, you’re probably a Viennese weightlifter.

ACP SS4

Custom controls. Kill your enemies using the hardware buttons–even set a button to minimize the game so no one catches you playing while you’re supposed to be working.

Ten difficulty levels. Obsess much? You’ll need to.

Small, medium, and large settings for explosion size, explosion kick, and tank size.

Play in portrait or landscape modes. You can select 1, 1.5, 2, 3, or 4 screen widths worth of terrain, and every inch of it can be blown up or built up.

Atomic Cannons is, effectively, infinitely replayable. It’s also exceptionally customizible, and simply fun to boot. And as an added bonus, if you buy the PocketPC version you get Atomic Cannons for the desktop PC free. Good value.

Pros:
Quality graphics
Exceptional gameplay
Immensely challenging

Cons:
Possible obsessive psychosis leading to insomnia, anti-social behavior, and starvation.
No wireless multi-player options

Bottom Line:
[Adama] If you like the genre, go buy it. You’ll thank me later–or maybe not, when it’s 5 AM and you’re still playing.

[Brian] I’ve had a ton of fun with this game. Games are fast, so it’s easy to get sucked in playing a number of them in a row. The difficulty settings are impressive…level 5 of 10 dominates me. The game is viaually appealing and runs very well on my h2215. I only wish they would have added the ability to play over WiFi. At $20 AC is on the higher side of the price scale, but my feeling is that if you like this genre, it’s a worthy investment.

Purchase Information:
Atomic Cannon is available from the Isotope 244 site for $19.95.

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