Iâ€™ve never owned a retro super Tank Top I didnâ€™t like…
Super Tank Run is developed by Cantstraferight/CSR Studios and is available on XBLIG for 80 MP
Surprise! I like this game. Itâ€™s curiously addictive and feels familiar though there are a couple of elements that would normally irk and make me shake my fist at the screen before going off grumbling in search of something more in depth with better graphics, engaging story, sweeping soundtracks etc. However Super Tank Run has a retro charm and presentation that doesnâ€™t compromise on quality and is simply too good to ignore, coupled with the ultimate lure – leaderboards…
The premise is extremely simple â€“ zoom your tank down a four lane highway at 70 mph+, avoiding randomly placed, barbed wire blockades as you go. Pick up coins (that have a very pleasant Mario or Sonic â€œping/chimeâ€ sound effect) for extra speed boosts/more points and just keep going until you crash and burn. From the second you press start youâ€™re moving and quick reflexes, keen eyes and nippy fingers are the order of the day. There are four, 2D side-scrolling modes to try out; Defensive sees you ploughing forward trying to get as far as you can whilst scoring big, Offensive is almost the same but you can blow up any opposition tanks that get in your way. 60 seconds gives you a minute to build up as high a score as you can whilst Turret Toss is again similar to Defensive but this time you get to blow your ownÂ top and see how many lovely points you are awarded depending on how far your mangled tank flies.
The Soundtrack – a track from the band Thornwill is a rocking good tune but sadly very repetitive. It fact itâ€™s so darn catchy, youâ€™ll soon find yourself wishing it was purely instrumental as â€œFree Faaaaaallinâ€™â€ kicks in every time you start a new run. Certainly donâ€™t play this game before going to bed as it will stay in your head, driving you crazy for hours! However, the use of Thornwill gives it a current feel and reminds you that you havenâ€™t actually bumped your head and landed back in Atari Land though here more tracks or variations on a theme would have worked well too.
This is modern 8-bit done very well but is it enough to engage a modern audience for very long? Sadly I think not. Despite its clean and uncomplicated approach, itâ€™s difficult to play for long periods of time as each mode is so short (I reckon 15 â€“ 20mins bursts is the max unless youâ€™re seriously serious about leaderboards or are in love with tanks). Still, I like the variation of modes and reaching for the top of the global leaderboards (which only shows the top ten scores â€“ I wanna be on it!!!) is a real challenge as things get whizzy the faster you go, leaving you feeling a wee bit satisfied/smug if you do get on. As it is, the leaderboards currently show multiple entries from the most super tank runners out there but developers Cantstraferight are working on an update to address this. Beating your friends is always good and thereâ€™s an equally basic local multiplayer option where up to 8 friends can pass around one controller and select rather jazzy coloured tanks as they compete for the top ten.
The concept may be very basic but the overall style is polished and will bring a smile to grumpy retro gamers faces whilst giving new audiences a delicious 8-bit slice of fun. This is an addictive title that demonstrates how a good idea, no matter its simplicity, can be delivered. Keep your eyes open for future titles from Cantstraferight as they can only get bigger, better, stronger and faster. Unlike my poor wrecked tanks.