Wii Tanks! gameplay

Tanks! is the ninth game in Wii Play. The player takes control of a blue tank within a small rectangular arena inhabited by enemy tanks. The objective of the game is to complete 'missions' which involve the player defeating all enemy tanks in the arena without themselves being damaged, thus advancing to the next mission.


The arena plays in two dimensions within a three-dimensional landscape, and consists of rectangular blocks which serve as obstacles in tanks' paths and bullet trajectories. Gameplay involves manoeuvring around the arena and attacking enemy tanks. Since most bullets can ricochet, combat between tanks often requires predictive aiming and angular judgement to strike moving targets while avoiding incoming fire from sufficient cover. Although the playing field is two-dimensional, the vertical stacking of blocks can at times obscure visibility. There are also potholes, which tanks are blocked from crossing but bullets are able to. The player and some enemy tanks possess the ability to place mines, which detonate on a timer in a moderate blast radius, or prematurely, by proximity if approached or if shot outright. This can destroy certain blocks and additionally penetrate through unbreakable blocks. All tanks leave tracks behind themselves.

The player has a single hit point and will be defeated if receiving damage from bullets or mines, including the player's own. When this happens, the player will lose a life and the current mission will be reset. However, previously destroyed enemy tanks from the mission will not be respawned, making it gradually easier to progress. The player initially starts with 3 lives and earns an extra life for every 5 missions completed. The game is ended after being defeated with 0 lives remaining.

Initially there are 20 missions available which all use preset layouts. Completing Mission 20 for the first time will reward a gold medal, and discreetly unlocks an additional 80 missions for 100 in total. After Mission 20, arenas and tanks will usually be randomly selected and generated, although every five missions may feature preset layouts and also introduce a previously unplayed arena to the the arena rotation. Reaching any mission beyond Mission 20 will also reward a platinum medal. Completing Mission 100 completes the game.


Two players can play at multiplayer, player 1 a blue tank and player 2 a red tank. Unlike the other Wii Play games, in Tanks! it is semi-cooperative. Players score a point for each enemy tank they destroy, and whoever destroys the most tanks wins. Friendly fire is a feature, with players able to attack each other should they choose. However, there are no lives, and the game is ended when both players are defeated within the same mission. For the sake of playability, it may benefit both players to spare each other and focus on defeating enemy tanks to proceed through missions, with the other player able to continue should one be defeated, and the defeated player being respawned in the following mission. The same initial 20 missions in single player are featured in multiplayer, although often tanks are repositioned with the presence of a second player (while player positions may be interchanged between each other on subsequent sessions). Completing Mission 20 completes the game and players are scored, with no further missions available in multiplayer.


The nunchuck may be used as an optional accessory.

  • Point wii remote at screen: aim reticle
  • D-pad / nunchuck thumbstick: steer/move tank
  • A button: deploy mine
  • B button: shoot bullet
  • + button: pause game

Tank attributes

Tank First appearance Movement Behaviour Bullet speed Fire rate Ricochets Bullet limit Mine limit
Player Mission 1 Normal Controlled Normal Controlled 1 5 2
Brown Mission 1 Stationary Passive Normal Slow 1 1 -
Grey Mission 2 Slow Defensive Normal Slow 1 1 -
Teal Mission 5 Slow Defensive Fast Slow - 1 -
Yellow* Mission 8 Normal Offensive Normal Slow 1 1 4
Red Mission 10 Slow Offensive Normal Fast 1 3 -
Green Mission 12 Stationary Active Fast Fast 2 2 -
Purple Mission 15 Normal Offensive Normal Fast 1 5 2
White* Mission 20 Slow Offensive Normal Fast 1 5 2
Black Mission 50 Fast Offensive Fast Fast - 2 2
  • The yellow tank deploys mines at a noticeably faster rate in comparison to other mine-deploying tanks. Their tendency to try attack the player this way also lends to them being somewhat careless in the midst of bullet fire.
  • The white tank has a special property that it turns invisible as the mission begins. Its tracks remain visible.


  • Utilising the ricocheting of bullets to fire around obstacles is essential to effective combat.
  • Movement is briefly halted while firing while moving at maximum speed.
  • Up to five bullets can be 'active' from firing at one time, during which no more can be fired until another has been destroyed.
  • Being sparing when firing will help to avoid accidental self-harm from being overwhelmed by unexpected ricochets.
  • Bullets will destroy other bullets, which makes firing directly on enemy tanks' bullets a useful tactic to both avoid having to dodge and reduce their active fire.
  • Enemy tanks can push each other around, which can result in stationary tanks being pushed into walls. In these instances, the blast radius of mines can be used to remotely destroy them from the other side.
  • Enemy tanks which themselves deploy mines will actively try to avoid mines from both the player and other enemy tanks. This can be used to hinder their movement as well as corner them against the boundary of blast radii. Enemy tanks which do not deploy mines will avoid mines from other enemy tanks if possible, but will fail to detect those of the player, so can be considered a potential means to destroy them.
  • Green tanks, unlike all other enemy tanks, use calculated predictive aiming and tend to fire where the player is approaching instead of their current location. Shifting in a perpendicular direction after a green tank has fired should help to avoid their line of fire including followup ricochets, although care should be taken in mind of subsequent shots being fired.
  • White tanks while invisible can be identified by the visible tracks they leave.
  • Black tanks are fast to the point that it is difficult to outgun them from concentrated fire. Alternatively, focusing on cornering them can be a more effective strategy.


The soundtrack is comprised of numerous marching band instruments. During gameplay, however, they do not play all at once. The ones which do play are associated with the presence of specific tanks. Tanks are ranked in the order shown in the below table, which is not the order in which tanks first appear. The instrument configurations are based on which tank of the highest rank is present and how many other tanks are also present. Timpani 2 is an extended sequence building from Timpani 1.

  • Mission announcement: two trumpets
  • Mission introduction: snare drum
  • Main mission background melody: two piccolos
  • Tank kill: trumpet
  • Life lost: two piccolos, tubular bell
  • Extra life: trumpet
  • Mission complete: two piccolos
  • Mission 20 & 100 complete: two piccolos, tuba, cymbals, bass drum, snare drum
  • Results: two piccolos, tuba, snare drum, triangle, whistle
Tank Rank Count Snare drum Triangle Timpani 1 Cymbals Timpani 2 Bass drum Tuba Tubular bells Synthesiser
Brown 1 1+
Grey 2 1+
Teal 3 1+
Red 4 1+
Yellow 5 1+
Purple 6 1+
Green 7 1+
White 8 1+
Black 9 1+


  • Completing all 100 missions will record a score of 540 tanks, an average of 5.4 tanks per mission.
  • On rare occasions, enemy tanks might destroy each other, usually when cornered absolutely. In single player, these are counted towards the player's score. In multiplayer, neither player receives a score from them.