Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Mimizu Panzer (PC)

This is a game I first read about on Insert Credit over a decade ago, back when it used to be a news site, though I only actually got round to playing it fairly recently. It's a single-screen shooting game in which you control a long, segmented millipede-like tank, destroying gun turrets in the desert. That ancient IC news post made mention of the plot placing the player in the boots of a moe version of a Nazi tank commander in World War II, though I guess either it's an incredibly loose interpretation, or they based that post on an early version, and all that stuff was replaced with more generic moe girls for the final release.

On first play, Mimizu Panzer seems slow, boring and hard, and the scores seen on the high score table seem unreachable compared to the scores you'll be getting. Most of these things will change once you work out all the little tricks to how the game works. Firstly, there's the length of your tank, which affects things in various different ways. You start with four segments behind your head tank, and gain one for every enemy you kill. Furthermore, only your head can be hurt, and all the other segments stop enemy bullets. If you lose a life, you also lose half of your segments (not including the first four). Some of the segments have holes in, and those holes glow when hit by enemy bullets. If you shoot one of the glowing hole segments with your own bullets, it'll start shooting flames from one side, which is the key mechanic you have to master to get anywhere in this game.

The most obvious thing about the flames is that they're significantly more powerful than your normal shots, which is important, as all but the weakest of the enemy turrets can take a lot of punishment before going down. At the same time, though, they're also significantly harder to aim, unless you pre-calculate the path you want your tank and its fiery emissions to take before letting them off. The other thing the flames do is vastly increase your scoring potential: enemies killed by shot have pretty small points values, while enemies killed by flame have their points value multiplied by the number of extra segments (again, discounting the first four). It's really got everything a good score system should have, in that it rewards both skillful use of the game's main mechanical gimmick, plus it rewards staying alive, and even more than that, it makes staying alive a more difficult task the longer you keep it up (since you have to avoid crashing into yourself and the sides of the screen on top of everything else).

The only real problem with Mimizu Panzer is really more a problem with myself rather than the game, and it's the fact that it's really difficult. To get a decent variety of screenshots for this review, I had to resort to continues and even the game's pre-recorded replays to get a look further in the game. I will say this in its favour, though: even as hard and frustrating as it gets, it doesn't stop being addictive. I've whiled away hours trying to get just one screen further while playing it for this review. It's for that reason that I totally recommend Mimizu Panzer, and I say that it's a shame it languishes in the obscurity inherent in being a years-old Japanese PC game, and will probably never get an official western release, and is even less likely to get the audience it deserves on consoles.

No comments:

Post a Comment