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Developer: Polarbit
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Game Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

The premise of Tank Riders is simple; the player has to navigate a small tank from the start of a level right up until the black and yellow striped end-zone. Of course, it’s not quite as easy as that and there are a whole host of enemies, obstacles and puzzles to contend with.

Luckily, the player’s tank comes equipped with some powerful weaponry to see off enemy units. Initially there is a gun to use, which fires off up to three shots in quick succession. Throughout certain levels the player will find weapon icons to upgrade the tank. These include missiles, which essentially destroy most things in one hit, and mortars. Unfortunately these upgrades disappear as soon as the level ends.

There is also a light puzzle element to Tank Riders. An example of this would be rebounding bullets into switches to activate a door. These aren’t particularly challenging, but offer a nice distraction from the constant barrage of enemy artillery. There’s also an online multiplayer for the player to sink their teeth into.

Graphically the game looks brilliant. It’s vibrant and pin-sharp, with some nice use of shadows. Unfortunately the game suffered from a number of lock-ups during play, where the entire screen would freeze for a good five to ten seconds.

The most contentious issue, however, is the way the game controls. There are a number of set-ups the player can use in Tank Riders. The tank can be controlled via a virtual d-pad with the player tapping the screen to fire, or by a ‘double d-pad’ method, where both movement and shooting are mapped to two separate d-pads.

The problem is that initially neither of the options are particularly comfortable to use. The shooting in the double d-pad method feels far too slow, while the d-pad and tap set-up involves lots of arm crossing as the player needs to tap all over the screen. With both set-ups the tank feels slow as well. It’s something that the player will eventually learn to use effectively, but it never feels quite right.

There’s a lot to love about Tank Riders. It looks and sounds fantastic, and the idea behind the gameplay is sound; in fact some of the levels are quite tense. It’s a shame that the controls always feel a bit too sluggish, because while it doesn’t ruin the game, it’s a prominent niggle in an otherwise fine game.

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