Tank Riders has plenty of potential, but it’s all hiding behind a poor control scheme
Typically when you add tanks as a main component to a game, you’ve got me mostly on board with what you’re trying to sell. Going all the way back to Battlezone and as recently as Battlefield 3, history has proven that tanks in video games can kick butt when done right. Developer Polarbit has come around with their latest offering to mobile gamers with Tank Riders, so let’s take a look to see how it stacks up.
Tank Riders is essentially a tank driving battle game where you try to get from one part of a level to another. Along the way you’ll have to destroy enemy tanks, trigger switches to open up paths, and break boxes to gather coins and increase your score. You’ll temporarily gather weapon and tank upgrades as you progress through the 25 or so main levels, and be slightly slowed down by some light puzzle elements.
The game looks very nice, runs silky-smooth, and has satisfying sound effects. While it can be pretty challenging, you’re not always dismayed and generally have fun while blowing up some tanks. Though there’s not much to do, the difficulty makes sure that you don’t breeze your way through this.
That said, Tank Rider‘s default controls are almost unusable. You’ll control the movement of the tank with a virtual joystick on the bottom left corner of the screen and tap around the rest of the screen to fire in the general direction that you’re touching. Most of the time you end up covering the screen to fire anywhere to the left. You can change the controls to two virtual sticks, but this option isn’t much better. I don’t really know what the fix for this is other than putting this game on a platform that supports proper gamepads.
The other main problem with the game is the lack of variety in the level design. Most of the levels look like some sort of simple trenched maze with squared-off walls. The enemies never really vary or present any more of a difficult challenge than they do out of the gate. Some different enemy types, a little more creativity in level design, and variations on goals would have been very welcomed.
There’s also multiplayer available in Tank Riders. The problem is that not many people seem to be playing it, and when I could scrounge up a few strangers it never seemed to be enough players to make it fun. There were also some lag and hit-detection issues that should be able to be ironed-out.
Some talented people made this game – that much is very obvious. Control issues are the game’s main problem, and really prevent me from giving this one an enthusiastic thumbs up. I wish I could go out there and sing praises from the hills, because there’s a fun game somewhere in Tank Riders. I’m just not sure that the mobile space is the right platform for what the developer is trying to do.