When the Electronic Entertainment Expo took place a few weeks ago, one of the bigger things to hit the floor was Nintendo’s Wii U system, which is still slated to make its debut sometime later this year.  But it wasn’t just the “big N” sitting behind the driver’s wheel for this one, as third-party developers came out in spades to reveal a number of their upcoming projects, including Ubisoft (with Rayman Legends and Zombi U) and Warner Bros. (with Scribblenauts Unlimited and Batman Arkham City: Armored Edition).

However, sitting between these major titles was a smaller game over at the Namco booth, an arcade port for the Wii U simply titled Tank! Tank! Tank!  As you might guess from what the title indicates, this game has tanks.  But it also has the kind of feverish, addictive action that both younger players and hardcore destruction lovers can appreciate.

Though there isn’t really much in the way of story, with a game like Tank! Tank! Tank! there doesn’t really need to be.  The game pits you and up to four additional players either against each other or an armada of alien enemies, including gigantic spiders and red dragons that cause havoc all over the place.  Think of it as a variation of the Earth Defense Force games, but without overdoing it with all the heroic American themes and cheesy dialogue.  Yep, it just gets right down to the nature of letting things go boom, and you sorting out the mess at the end of the level.

So here’s how the controls work with the Wii U version of Tank! Tank! Tank!.  One person takes the helm of the Wii U unit, while any others that manage to join in would use one of the four Wii remotes to connect to multiplayer.  Those who possess the main Wii U GamePad can use the touch screen to choose where the group will be fighting next, but they’ll also be able to take pictures of everyone in the group and associate them on certain tanks.  You don’t want to make too stupid of a pose, as your mug will be appearing whenever the tank comes into view of the other players.  That’ll make them easier to identify, in case you’re hunting a specific target, and, luckily, these virtual Avatars don’t get in the way of the action.

Tank! Tank! Tank! comes with two modes thus far, though Namco is likely to throw in even more once the game launches.  The first is a straightforward deathmatch mode, where it’s you against every other tank on the battlefield, and the one with the most “kills” wins the round.  This mode is pretty straightforward, but there’s no shortage of action, so it definitely earns a pass.

The second mode is an interesting battle against the creatures.  You’ll battle a certain number of spiders in the area, eliminating a certain count either on your own or with the help of your buddies.  We weren’t able to tell if this was a competitive mode, or something you work with others on in terms of a common goal.  Personally, we’d take the competitive route, because we have a feeling that our spider killing ways are certainly better than yours.  We did ask Namco Bandai about possible online play, but the company declined to comment at this time.  Keep those fingers crossed.

One thing we can mention is an awesome boss battle, which took place against a fire breathing dragon that takes a WHOLE LOT of firepower to bring down.  While this boss battle isn’t immensely over the top like, say, God of War’s monstrosity encounters, it is a lot of fun, especially when that thing comes tumbling down at your wheels.  Clearly that dragon deserved it.

As far as controls go, whether you’re using a remote or the Wii U tablet, they’re fine at this point.  Granted, you don’t have COMPLETE control over your tank, as there are times your aiming is handled automatically with the Y axis.  However, considering the large count of spiders that come crawling your way, you might be thankful that you’re such a crackshot under pressure.

Though Tank! Tank! Tank! isn’t the most beautiful Wii U game we’ve seen, it’s quite dedicated to the design of the original coin-op, which was also at Namco’s booth.  And like we said, the multiplayer support is strong, so every player can see what’s happening without being too limited.

Bound to be a pretty good novelty when it comes to taking on your friends (or teaming up with them), Tank! Tank! Tank! is sure to be a lively hit for Namco when it arrives later this year, possibly in time for the system’s launch.  Still, it would be nice to see what other modes the company is including in the game, including possible online ones.  C’mon, Namco, give us the tanks we deserve.