Tanks hold a revered place in any true gamer’s heart. Whether you cut your teeth on the streets of St Petersburg or crushed cop cars to bits in Liberty City, a tank is not just a ridiculous weapon - it’s a symbol of ultimate gamer might.
The cartoony vehicles in Tank Riders are a far cry from those memorable weapons of mindless destruction, but they’ve got a charm of their own. Polarbit, the studio behind the game, is the same developer that made the immensely enjoyable Reckless Racing and Reckless Getaway. It knows how to make machines fun.
Tricks and mortars
The premise is simple (albeit not very original) – you steer a small tank around carefully designed maps in an effort to complete certain objectives. Sometimes this means collecting diamonds, while at other times it simply means wiping out the enemy completely.
It’s a singularly unpretentious game, making no apologies for simply throwing you into an arena of bad guys, handing you a weapon such as missile or long-range mortar, and telling you to pull the trigger.
Thankfully, the aforementioned trigger on Xperia Play is wisely mapped to the R shoulder button, while the D-pad controls movement. The right thumbpad covers aiming and can be a little fiddly at the beginning of levels for some reason, but it's reliable enough thereafter.
The only minor niggle in terms of controls is that the pause function isn’t mapped to the 'start' button, meaning you have to reach to the top of screen to pause. But this is a pretty trivial gripe.
The maps are split into campaigns, with downloadable levels available to add as well as a multiplayer mode for those left unimpressed by the game's admittedly simple-minded AI enemies.
It’s best approached as a bit of fun, but even then some might find the straightforward arcade nature of Tank Riders a little shallow. This is due mainly to a few oversights.
You can’t select between weapons, for instance. Instead you have to rely on what the game hands to you or what you find scattered in the smashable boxes throughout the levels. It also takes a little longer than necessary to introduce you to the full range of items, such as the shield and speed power-ups.
Despite these complaints, the almost leisurely pace of Tank Riders makes it a colourful and agreeable stroll of a game. Like most of the Polarbit's titles, it's remains a lighthearted and enjoyable way to pass the time.