Instead of buckling yourself into a car and driving at breakneck speeds, you’re behind the controls of a lumbering tank, tasked with the laudable objective of blowing other tanks to smithereens.
Throughout the game’s vibrant levels, you’ll tackle enemies, collect items, and use special teleporters to move around the map.
You can smash crates and blocks to release health bonuses and coins, the latter of which contributes to your score tally, which is calculated at the conclusion of each level. The tried-and-tested three-star rating system is in force, with the best performances granting you top marks.
Along the way you’ll also gain access to different weapons which make your quest for destruction that little bit easier. Missiles, for example, are a vast improvement on your standard cannon as they have a large blast radius and can slay rival tanks in one shot.
However, it’s worth remembering that your opponents have access to the same arsenal as you, and can just as easily send you packing if you become complacent.
Tanks for the memories
Tank Riders uses a rather unusual control method, and this leads to a lot of frustration early on the game. Movement is controlled by a floating virtual D-pad on the left-hand side of the screen, while your shots are directed by taps in the general direction you want to fire in.
This presents massive problems right from the off, as it’s incredibly difficult to fire towards the left-hand side of the screen, as it requires you to cross your right hand over your left.
Quite why the developer decided to make this the default interface configuration is beyond us - especially when the game also supports a far superior twin-stick arrangement. Switch to this setting as soon as you boot the game up and the controls become largely hassle-free.
As well as a challenging and lengthy single-player campaign, Tank Riders also has online multiplayer. It requires you to sign up for a user account, but once you’ve done that it's surprisingly easy to find a willing opponent.
Sadly, we noticed a lot of latency during our multiplayer sessions, and for some strange reason Polarbit has neglected to include a local play option, so you can’t avoid lag by playing opponents closer to home.
On a side note, Tank Riders features Xperia Play support, although we’re guessing it’s not entirely optimised yet. The Play’s dual analogue pads represent the ideal interface for a twin-stick shooter, but for some reason movement is only possible using the eight-way digital pad.
Aiming is mapped to the right-hand analogue slider, and instead of tapping on the screen you discharge your weapon with the right-hand shoulder trigger. It’s an awkward arrangement, but once you’re used to it you’ll find it soundly beats the touchscreen control setup.
Like Polarbit's other games, Tank Riders looks great. The 3D visuals are sharp and striking, and the music is annoyingly catchy.
In short, there’s little to fault here - aside from the crazy decision to make the twin-stick control method the second choice and the unfortunate omission of local multiplayer, Tank Riders rarely puts a foot - or should that be tread - wrong.