Games for the Weekend is a weekly feature aimed at helping you avoid doing something constructive with your downtime. Each Friday we’ll be recommending a game for Mac, iPhone or iPad that we think is awesome enough to keep you busy until Monday, at least.
Tank Riders ($1.99 Universal, $3.99 Mac) is a good cross between a maze, puzzle and third-person shooter game that can be really fun in the right circumstances on the right devices. Thanks to well-thought-out maps, Polarbit has done an amazing job at keeping the gameplay interesting enough in single-player mode, while also making multiplayer competitive and fun.
Tank Riders has just two basic controls: one for steering your tank, and one for shooting. As the levels progress, you’re faced more challenging level puzzles barring your way to the finish line, and more bad guys trying to stop you from getting there. Along the way, you can pick up extra health and special weapons. But with the start of each level, you get set back to your tank’s starting configuration.
As mentioned, the maps are what make this game shine. In single player mode, crumbling walls and crates that can be destroyed make for a delightfully changeable environment.
What’s great about multiplayer mode is that you can have multiple online accounts on your iPhone, iPad and Mac to play against visiting family and friends. So if you happen to have more than one Apple device at your disposal, you can set up a tournament in the comfort of your own home.
Tank Riders isn’t without problems. On the iPhone in particular, the screen is just too small to spot the enemy, navigate your tank, and shoot your gun turret all at the same time. I did, however, find that using the iPhone like a traditional game controller while playing the game on my HDTV through my Apple TV over AirPlay was a perfect solution to that problem. On the iPad and Mac, you won’t have the same problem, and the Mac’s controls make the experience far easier. So if you plan on going head-to-head with your friends in multiplayer mode, get the Mac version to gain the competitive advantage.