Squishy Tank

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Squishy Tank Game Poster Image
Mildly violent match-three puzzler is short but fun.

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Kids say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

It’s difficult to distill meaning from the bizarre narrative, which sees sentient tanks learning how to fight. It’s mostly just absurd humor, though players are meant to feel some pity for the game’s malleable white protagonists who suffer a mean drill sergeant and incompetent commanding officers. The violence is fairly mild and the player’s attention is focused on the lower screen the majority of the time, so they rarely even see the tanks getting blown up. However, many of the game’s jokes are riffs on scenes from war movies like Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket, making the theme of violence virtually omnipresent.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The squishy tanks, with whom the players are supposed to sympathize, are appropriately scared of war and its consequences, though they tend to express their fear in nervous jokes. Their commanding officers are rude, mean, and show little regard for their lives.

Ease of Play

Play is elementary, though a merciless timer can make things very difficult, especially on harder settings. However, the timer slows to a crawl on the easiest setting, giving even the least skilled players a fair chance.


Sentient tanks are repeatedly blown up throughout the game. The explosions result in nothing more than puffs of smoke, though late in the story a giant, squishy tank-shaped mushroom cloud is seen. In one scene a tank is wearing a bandage and a faint red spot from the wound beneath can be seen through the gauze. There are also several mini-games in which players tap the screen to blow up swiftly moving tanks.


No profanity, but the drill sergeant insults the squishy tanks with words like “fatbody” “worm.”

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One of the power-up tiles is a syringe that restores the health/timer bar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Squishy Tank is a tile-matching puzzle game with themes of war and violence, though the battles portrayed are cartoonlike and quite mild. Cute little sentient tanks are blown to smithereens in puffs of black and white smoke as players tap groups of like-colored tiles on the lower screen. The most graphic moment comes late in the story mode when a faint red splotch -- presumably blood -- can be seen on one tank’s bandage. Many of the game’s jokes riff on famous lines from old war movies like Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket, but they’ve been thoroughly scrubbed of the sort of adult language for which these movies are known. The worst words in the game are insults like “fatbody” and “worm,” which are directed at the squishy tanks by their R. Lee Ermy-like drill sergeant.

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What's it about?

In SQUISHY TANK, players examine a grid of pulsing square blobs looking for groups of three or more like colored tiles to tap on to make them disappear. The goal is to clear a set number of tiles in specific colors before the timer/health bar runs out. It shouldn’t take most players longer than a minute or two to figure out how things work, and perhaps a few more to understand what the power-ups do. Tap a tank tile and a tank will storm through two horizontal rows of blobs, destroying them all. Tap a baby tank tile and it will head off in random directions turning all tiles it touches to the same color. Tap a syringe and it will restore the timer/health bar. The action is loosely linked to a bizarre story that sees an R. Lee Ermy-like drill sergeant training sentient, malleable tanks to fight (before each level we’re ordered to “eradicate” enemy tiles). The story mode only lasts a few hours, but there are some additional ways to play that have us tackling puzzles with an aim to meet specific conditions, trying to set records in time attack and survival mode, and engaging quick minigames unlocked during the campaign.

Is it any good?

Squishy Tankhas a bizarre, inimitable atmosphere that players won’t soon forget, but it’s the game’s action that’s most memorable. The fast paced puzzles keep players’ eyes darting around looking for matches and their styluses perpetually tapping the screen. At first it doesn’t seem as though much strategy is required. In fact, on the easiest difficulty setting one could conceivably play through the entire story by closing his or her eyes and randomly tapping different areas of the screen. However, play at a proper skill level and you’ll need to learn the best ways to use power-ups to your advantage and how to create chains quickly to keep extending the constantly dwindling health/timer bar.

The only downside is that things get pretty repetitive after a while. Aside from the color of the tiles, the puzzle grid never changes much, and our objectives are always just variations on theme; clear this many red tiles or that many blue tiles. It’s fun in small bursts, but it doesn’t have the long-term habit-forming kind of play that distinguishes the very best puzzle games.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the game’s sense of humor. What did the kids get out of the jokes? Did the parents have a better appreciation of them? What age group do you think the game’s humor is best suited for?

  • Families can also discuss the sentient squishy tanks. Did you grow attached to them? Did you feel badly about how they were treated? Were you distressed when you saw them blown up?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi
  • Price: $19.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Natsume
  • Release date: April 6, 2010
  • Genre: Puzzle
  • ESRB rating: E for Animated Blood. Mild Cartoon Violence.
  • Last updated: June 19, 2019

Our editors recommend

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