Monday, 12 January 2015

Battle Supremacy (Mac OS)

I actually took a look at the FPS tank game earlier last year. At fist I was a bit excited as I thought that - finally - a World of Tanks-like game had come to the Mac, but alas I was to be bitterly disappointed.

Don't get me wrong, Battle Supremacy IS like a poor man's WoT - in a very rudimentary way - but simply lacks many of the features that makes World of Tanks so popular. Fundamentally Battle Supremacy lacks both the polish and the depth of the PC version of the popular multiplayer online tank battle game. It took me about 15 minutes of play to realise that it wouldn't give me my 'tank fix' on my Mac and so I shelved it (luckily it was only £3.99 so it wasn't a huge loss)...

However, I recently read a review which highlighted the online aspect of Battle Supremacy - as opposed to the single player campaign mode that I had played - and it was positive enough to have me dust off the app and spark it up again.

While basic the Battle Supremacy tank models are actually similar in their level
of detail to the tank models of World of Tanks when it was very first released.
Unfortunately the physics and handling is a world apart.

Here's where you expect me to say 'and oh, it was lots better than I remember'! Sadly, no, I won't go as far as that, the basic game mechanics and physics are still awkwardly clunky but the added dimension of playing real players did spice up the gameplay somewhat.

And full marks to Atypical Games - the developer - they are persevering and attempting to improve the game. New tanks and maps have been added and they continue to de-bug some of the basic flaws and in online mode there is some fun to be had.

In fact, I would say that Battle Supremacy does add a fairly acceptable fast gratification aspect to my gaming. If I have only 15 or 20 minutes to spare - say during lunch - the game actually does hold my attention for that short period and, I'm surprised to say, does provide me with a certain amount of fun.

I am glad Atypical Games are sticking with the game as I can see how it could turn into a half-way decent casual shooter. It will never have the depth of World of Tanks, and I could never see myself sitting down for a three hour long session of intense tank-battling with it, it simply isn't that in-depth to hold my attention that long. But as a 'coffee break' blaster it has a certain unsophisticated charm.

There are still annoying glitches in the game and the handling of the tanks is definitely not smooth or responsive. Occasionally I find myself driving in completely the opposite direction of where I want to go and the graphics look ten years old, but at £3.99 it's still worth a look.

Things Battle Supremacy doesn't have that World of Tanks does:

  • WoT has 15 v 15 player random games (BS - apply named? - is supposed to be 10 v 10 player, but I've never seen a full server).
  • WoT have in-depth upgrade paths for both tank types and equipment (BS has a very crude equipment upgrade system and no logical upgrade path for tanks)
  • WoT has 'national' tank lines (BS has a hotch-potch selection of tanks)
  • WoT has player/tank skill tiers to balance battle (BS has no skill or tank tech tiers)
  • WoT has currently about 20 different maps cycling (BS has about 3)

I could go on but you get the idea. In it's defence WoT has a HUGE amount of money available for continued development based on player subscriptions and 'pay to win' upgrades, Atypical Games has to work with the tiny amount of money it get's from the £3.99 purchase fee.

I'll continue to play Battle Supremacy (in small doses) over lunch times and really hope it continues to develop as it least it allows the Mac user to get a glimpse into what he's missing and provides a quick fix of shoot-em-up fun!

(Incidentally, there are several ways to get World of Tanks working on your Mac, including STEAM game streaming and Windows emulation, but from my experience the performance of the game is simply too impaired by the software work-arounds to be worth it.)

UPDATE: Well shut my mouth - just finished writing this when I noticed an update which includes greater 'pay to upgrade' features! This is bad and good - bad in that it means that there isn't a level playing field as some players will pay to get the best tanks and good because it might mean greater development of the basic game. Take your pick and which you think it is.

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