Tank Riders 2 Review

Tank Riders 2 Review

Jan 23, 2014

Polarbit comes right back at us with a tank-fighting sequel in Tank Riders 2. Coming off the first iteration, this one has some living up to do.

I noticed the game does provide some customizable options with regards to the controls; it’s possible to have the d-pad for movement along with tap input to fire, or another d-pad can be utilized to shoot.

The gameplay starts easy enough. It’s a solo war of attrition, in that it is necessary to destroy the enemy tanks before they destroy the player tank by completely draining the life bar. It’s also leveled, so successfully competing one level is the prerequisite to moving on to the next. In the first skirmish, it was 1v1 in confined space. The ammunition is basic, and the only issue was blasting through the the flimsy obstacles that prevent direct assault on the lone opponent. As it progress, the enemy tanks become more plentiful, smarter and better armed, with stuff like t21ricocheting rounds. Thankfully, it’s possible to upgrade ammunition and shields arcade-style to keep up. There are also gold coins to collect, teleporting devices and even triggered traps.

Puzzle-solving becomes even more of an needed skill to advance levels. Gates that are toggled by shooting the switch, and getting to a rally point become part the gameplay. There is an energy requirement, so running out of lives induces a refractory period. No need for gnashed teeth, though. It seems shockingly short at twenty minutes per. Impatience can be soothed with real cash via in-app purchase.

The game is well rendered, with nice graphics and expressive animations that are not overdone. The tanks themselves retain the fun look from the original title. The origin map and game scenery look good, with the variation in the latter taking center stage: dusty, sandy beaches transforming into nighttime locales full of foreboding. There are different backgrounds to work through to along with the chunky graphics.

It’s a familiar game, easy to figure out, and fun to engage with. It won’t feel like the most sophisticated game, but it’s charm lays in the fact that it isn’t trying to.

Reckless Racing 2 Review

Reckless Racing 2 Review

Feb 2, 2012

Reckless Racing 2 is Polarbit and Pixelbite’s latest entry in their top-down racing series, back with new courses, new graphics, and more of the all-terrain the series has been known for. Races take three forms: standard “finish first” races, races where the racer with the fastest lap time wins, regardless of overall position finish, and elimination races where the last place racer is eliminated at the end of each lap. Racers earn money for competing in races, which can be spent on new cars, upgrades, and car design customizations.

The game is packed with dozens of tracks that consist of specific sections of an overall larger area are packed in the game. There are a variety of circuits that have specific performance requirements, meaning that just loading up on upgrades won’t just mean instant success. There’s an adaptive difficulty for those that don’t want to worry about the difficulty they play on, but it can also be configured to the level of the player’s liking manually. In fact, this is a game that’s all about control and customization to a great degree.

Reckless Racing 2 comes with quite possibly the best control configuration mechanic ever. Want manual gas and brake controls with on-screen buttons? Sure! Want to tilt with auto-gas! Go for it! Want to customize the exact positioning and effective areas of each button? No problem! Reckless Racing 2 is the Zombo.com of control configuration.

Both the Career and Arcade modes award money for performance, so it is rarely in short supply. As well, there’s an online multplayer mode for taking on up to 4 players across the game. It works well and is definitely fun to check out.

The game does tend to lag a bit on the Motorola Xoom; the hardware may just not be capable of keeping up with the game’s detail at high-resolution. Options to trim back some of the detail like in Grand Theft Auto 3 would be appreciated. Some of the road textures appear highly compressed at high resolution; this game may just not be all that optimized for tablets at this point. Some of the early circuits tend to advance in difficulty slower than car upgrades can be bought. In fact, pretty much the biggest money drain will be cosmetic upgrades to the cars; don’t spend any money on those and purchasing upgrades is easy.

While the game needs some performance tweaks under the hood, Reckless Racing 2 is an otherwise great racing experience. At worst, every game designer needs to flat-out steal its control configuration, because it’s rare to find a game that allows me to get the controls absolutely perfect the way I want them. Seriously, developers, start including this.

Penguin Palooza Review

Penguin Palooza Review

Jan 31, 2012

Some things are popular because they inherently awesome. Things like robots, and ninjas, and zombies and, of course, penguins. I don’t know what it is about those little tuxedo’d guys that delight me so much, but I am defenseless against anything remotely penguin-related. Penguin Palooza caters to that love in a very focused, and successful way.

The setting is a little watery ice flow, with tall glacier walls on either side. There are platforms on either size, and the goal is to get some kamikaze penguins from side to the other. They arrive on the left-hand ledge and fling themselves into the air toward the icy waters below. The user draws trampolines below them to get them to bounce up and onto the right-hand ledge. The penguins have some pretty good bounce, and a tendency to slip off the ice if they don’t land just right. Points are awarded for every penguin that gets across to the cave on the other side. Fish will jump out of the water during play, and points are also earned for every fish that the penguins gulp out of the air. Beware though; the penguins with full bellies don’t bounce as high. There are also some show-off penguins. They wear jaunty red scarves, ignore the fish, and bounce incredibly high. Any penguin that falls into the water counts as a miss. The game is made harder when the ledges randomly move up and down the walls. Users can have two misses, but a third means game over. However lives can be earned back: there is a tiny baby penguin on the ice below, and the longer the game continues, the more fish he eats. When he eats enough fish to grow up, a life is earned back.

This is only the Palooza mode of play. Palooza continues for as long as users can keep the penguins out of the water. If Palooza gets tedious then there are Challenges. Each challenge round is different and fun; Keep all of the penguins alive for 60 seconds; Get three penguins across with no misses, etc. The challenges give the player a break from the frantic bouncing of Palooza, as the longer play continues in that mode the more penguins have to be kept in the air. The trampolines aren’t permanent – after one bounce they disappear, which is a problem if two penguins are falling together. As well, only three trampolines can be active at any given time. It’s a seemingly simple game but is actually quite the challenge.

I believe I’ve mentioned that I love penguins, and these penguins are incredibly cute (especially when they’ve gulped up a fish). The challenge modes are inventive, and Palooza draws me back time and again to beat my last score.

I seem, however, to have run into a rather strange glitch that has stopped me completely in Challenge mode. Challenge number four requires that I catch 1 gold and 1 pink fish within 60 seconds. However in none of the six or seven times I’ve attempted that challenge has a single pink fish appeared. It is currently unbeatable. And worse still, at one point the game crashed an erased all of my saved data. I think they need to do a little maintenance on the game before I can recommend it whole-heartedly.

Raging Thunder Free Races on to the Android Market

Raging Thunder Free Races on to the Android Market

Nov 15, 2011

While Polarbit has been pushing their “Reckless” games as of late, they haven’t forgotten about their earlier Raging Thunder series. This high-speed racing game has players racing against up to 3 other opponents, trying to collect nitro boosts to speed past and take out each other. Now, it’s available for all to play for free, with no limitations at all.

Raging Thunder Free is the same game as the classic Raging Thunder, with the same content as the standard Raging Thunder, still available on the Android Market. The cross-platform online multiplayer is still in the game, all the tracks are here, the only difference is that this version of the game has ads. Get addicted to the game and tire of advertisements? Then pay a $0.99 in-app purchase to remove ads permanently. This is the same price as the full version of the game. Raging Thunder Free is available now from the Android Market.

CannonBall Game Review

CannonBall Game Review

Oct 19, 2010

We have reached our final destination in my rundown of Polarbit/Fabrication game reviews. The last on the list is that of Cannonball, a shooting-gallery genre game using a (you guessed it) cannonball. As usual with the Polarbit/Fabrication games there are absolutely no game instructions or tutorials to give you some sort of clue as to game rules. I will quote myself once more to reiterate my feelings:

Let me start with one of my biggest gripes with the Polarbit/Fabrication franchise. I have yet to play a game made by them that includes any sort of in-game instructions. This is frustrating because it’s naive of them to assume every single user will be able to figure things out. Even if you do figure things out it would be nice to know exactly what each option does. Thankfully you guys have me as a guinea pig.

8ball by Polarbit Game Review

8ball by Polarbit Game Review

Oct 10, 2010

Rack em’! Leading developers and independent publishers, Polarbit and Fabrication Games have just released their pick-up-and-play rendition of the classic game of 8-ball pool for Android. The appropriately named “8ball” is now available in the Android Market for $1.99. Now before you go getting hustled into buying another pool game let’s take a look at some of the highs and lows of “8ball.”