Developer: Polarbit AB
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Playtime Rating: ★★½☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Tanks and games go hand in hand. Vehicles of mass destruction make for a nice way to imply violence and action without ever needing to show blood or gore. Plus, who doesn’t love making things go “Boom!” from time to time? Tank Riders 2 is looking to tap into this carnal desire for decimation while still delivering a comparable experience to the series’ first outing. Will transitioning to a freemium model work in its favor, or is this a battle that is too costly to engage in?

IMG_0308Controlling a tank has never been more straightforward. Sadly, so many other games haven’t been able to perfect navigating a hulking mass of metal, so this fact alone is worth getting excited about. Either one of the dual control schemes utilize a virtual stick on the left side of the screen to move the tank itself, while the firing the turret can be regulated using either a second virtual stick on the right side of the screen that determines the direction of fire, or by simply touching the screen to more precisely aim a shot’s destination.

As players dig into the action they will quickly discover that it may be advantageous to switch around controls depending upon the scenarios presented by any given stage. What makes Tank Riders 2 so much fun is the fantastic variety of level designs on display. It is not beyond the realm of possibility to spend a level trying to perfect an environmental puzzle, while the next entrenches the tank in a quazi tower defense situation. The one common thread that binds the entire experience together is the strong emphasis towards rapid fire action. Kill or be killed. There is no mercy on this battlefield.

IMG_0312For everything that Tank Riders 2 does right, the game gets hung up in the quicksand of its own free-to-play design. Later stages become increasingly difficult to conquer, which becomes an issue when there is only a bank of five lives to draw from. This is further complicated by the glacially slow rate that lives respawn. Regenerating one heart every ten minutes seems excessive, especially when considering how fast a player can tear through a full bank of lives. Dropping a rotten cherry on top are the revive tokens, which do away with the need to start a stage over again. Though they are awesome in concept, aside from the first free taste of the sweet revive nectar they are only available via cash purchase.

If Tank Riders 2 was a for-cost title that offered infinite replay of stages, it would instantly be worth recommending. However, an otherwise pristine gameplay experience is tarnished by a lackluster implementation of a freemium monetization structure. Stay tuned, because this is something that could be corrected down the road. However, in the game’s current state it is hard to picture players staying interested once all of the tutorial lives have been exhausted.


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