Playing through the first dozen levels of block-pushing action-puzzler Think Tank, I had this nagging feeling at the back of my mind. That sneaking sensation that I’ve seen this style before, but not quite like this. After beating the first boss stage, I figured it out. Cactus really is inspiring more and more indie developers. There’s definitely an edge of his style mixed in here, although the game is by two Newgrounds regulars – Manly-Chicken & Pjorg.
It’s the aesthetic, really. First-gen Mac style graphics, perhaps. Monochrome with a shifting background colour, and halftone shading. That, and the strangely twisted sense of humour – as you navigate your blocky little robo-tank around the various levels, pushing crates, dodging bombs and dropping through exits, you’re guided by a rather disconcerting-looking scientist. For someone who claims to need your help, he’s rather dismissive of your abilities.
There’s a little story here – you’re the control program for a series of expendable robot tanks, trapped in a building with your creator (presumably) and a mad bomber who might not be quite so mad. The little snippets of story help keep things rolling, but the focus of the game is familiar enough material. You’ve got no guns, and no means to defend yourself (at least at first). You navigate mazes full of deep pits (which are all too easy to fall into) and stationary or floating mines, push crates onto buttons and progress, while occasionally bumping into a boss battle that requires you to really stretch your dodging and pushing skills.
As a piece of design it’s nothing too spectacular, but the aesthetics, the quirky writing and the droning-yet-intense soundtrack make it worth a look. Just don’t expect it to be easy – there’s an achievement for completing the game in under 150 deaths. A number which is very easy to reach. You can play Think Tank now on Newgrounds, and it should work on any Flash-friendly browser.