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. Here is one cool enough to keep you busy during this weekend.
Tank Hero Laser Wars ($0.99 Universal) is a puzzle game where you control an armored tank fully equipped to remove all enemy tanks from the battlefield. It just so happens that the battle takes place in a locked room that can be viewed on one screen, which means there is no place to run and hide.
Each tank comes with two basic ways to control how you move around the battlefield. The first is to use either a left or right virtual D-Pad to move forward and backward, right and left. As the tank moves, you tap on the position of the target to turn the gun turret and fire your weapon. So while one hand remains in place maneuvering the tank, the other hand is pointing and tapping all over the screen in order to destroy enemy tanks. The second way to control your tank’s movement is by swiping your finger in the direction you want to move across the screen. When using this swipe to move gesture, the same tapping gesture on the target is used to fire the weapon.
The main floor of each level’s battlefield fits onto a single screen. You can configure the in-game camera to either remain focused on one place, the center of the battlefield, or to follow your tank around as it moves across the battlefield. Each battlefield is set with a different configuration of obstacles. There are normal stone walls that block a tanks movement and create a sort of mini labyrinth, and there are different colored laser walls that block things based on color. Sometimes these laser walls prevent only your tank from passing through, other times they block only enemy tanks. Laser walls can even be selective enough to block a particular tank’s weapons from firing through them. And this variation between the levels is where the puzzle aspects of the game start to come into play. Figuring out how to maneuver around the various obstacles in order to destroy all enemy tanks becomes a unique experience as you progress through the levels.
As you progress, the artificial intelligence of the enemy tanks start to become a factor. Some tanks react on a line-of-sight basis, while other, more aggressive tanks, seem to actively hunt you down and follow your movements. The type of weapon each enemy tank employs is also a factor: Some fire lasers that bounce off walls and around corners, use a sonic weapon that can pass through walls, or lob bombs over walls. There are four difficulty levels of gameplay: easy, normal, hard and insane. The main difference between each level of difficulty is the aggressiveness of each, the style of weapon, and the number of tanks on a given battlefield.
The game is spread across three different environments, which each have 30 levels. There is even a two-player split screen mode that can only be played on the iPad. In this mode, the two players use the same iPad device to play the game. The battlefield is mirrored in head-to-head fashion where each player can see their own copy of the battlefield. When playing in two-player mode, only the swipe-to-move controller style is available. You can choose from several different maps before starting the tournament. The game keeps score on which player has the most wins.
Keeping things interesting, there are boss level battles on each world. The bosses are larger tanks with multiple weapon types and take a lot more fire power to destroy. Once you master the insanity of all of the most difficult levels of the game, you can look to the game’s predecessor, Tank Hero, sold only for the iPhone. While the concept and gameplay are very similar between the two games, you can definitely see where the addition of lasers as a weapon choice, and switching to a higher resolution 3D graphics engine makes all the difference in the world. A good game to have on hand this or any weekend.