Facebook-integrated massively multiplayer online games have been done before –titles like City of Eternals have made use of the social network as a sort of portal leading to a stand-alone site. Such is the case with an app by the name of DDTank. On our emerging list a few weeks ago, the game currently garners only around 300,000 monthly active users. Nonetheless, both this number, and its daily active users (around 46,000) continue to grow at a steady pace.
Developed by 7th Road, DDTank is almost like a massively multiplayer rendition of or the classic Worms franchise. Sounds interesting, yes, but the game has a number of shortcomings, only somewhat made up for by its visual style and the addition of MMO-style features, such as equipment.
Planted in the middle of a very chibi-anime-style of world, players are immediately engaged in a basic tutorial. Unlike other MMOGs, DDTank doesn’t have users milling about an entire world, but blasting opponents with a rocket launcher within isolated matches. The basic idea of the game is to join matches and beat other players in a Worms-style bout.
Taking turns, players move about a destructible terrain and lob shots at each other using similar physics to the predecessor. With each shot, players must take into consideration elements such as wind, angle, and firing power, with the winner taking home the most experience. Even when losing, however, players are able to choose from a deck of overturned cards with each containing a random amount of coin.
With each battle, varying numbers of people can join, depending on how many the game creator allows, but in context, the MMO aspect of the game feels somewhat lost. Regardless, it can be amusing to play as players make use of various special abilities to do extra damage, fire more shots, or even fire more missiles. Unfortunately, the resource that governs these abilities is a bit vague, so it’s hard to determine what limits it uses (usually we can only combine two, but have seen other players use more).
It’s part of the natural growth that many MMOGs have. Such games often only explain the basics, and leave it to the player to resolve the rest on their own. Unfortunately, this tends to be a problem as many users are not going to take the time to figure it all out and can often be overwhelmed when it is all available at once. Which is the case here.
Of the MMOG-style mechanics, players can actually perform quests that will reward the user with random items and gems. In one of the few aspects of this explained, these can be augmented with bonus stats through an in-game armory. However, this section of the game actually has five different things the player can use to improve items; only one of which is explained.
What makes matters worse, is that not only are many features available right away, but each item comes with a slew of tooltips displaying half a dozen or more different statistics, none of which are explained. For veteran role-playing players, the stats will be logical (e.g. Luck probably factors in to a critical strike rating), but such will not be the case with everyone.
Though the game doesn’t make direct use of Facebook for its social elements, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t social stuff going on. One aspect of the game that is of interest is that there are actually scheduled activities for users to participate in, and in a virtual world type of fashion, even a Japanese hot spring space to visit and chat within. Aside from these, however, the social is all standard to MMOGs, meaning chat, guilds (called “Leagues” here), and synchronous play.
The real issue with DDTank, however, is that it just doesn’t feel all that special. It’s basically a classic game, put online, painted with new artwork and called an MMOG. The new title isn’t ‘bad’, but it doesn’t really do anything that stands out at all. The virtual world integration of a Japanese spa is nice, but even this is underused and actually seems expensive (10,000 coins) to enter. Of course, coins seem to be easy to come by, but while on the topic of such, we actually had to search quite a bit to find out where the amount we had was shown. That’s a usability issue, as it was within a backpack that was lost in a sea of stats, tooltips, and features.
Overall, DDTank feels bloated with a myriad of superfluous features that feel more tacked on to the core Worms-style combat rather than integral to it. In that, the core of the game is lost and watered down, and time spent on these could have been spent on making everything feel more unique. Again, the game isn’t terrible, but it’s not all that exciting either. With underused Facebook elements, shallow additions, and seen-before-gameplay, DDTank just feels average, at best.