Hug Sandwich has recently released Nano Tank [App Store], a simple, yet enjoyable top-down tank shooter for the iPad that's something of a mix between oldschool classics Armor Attack and Star Castle. With amazingly smooth animation and a glowy-vector aesthetic reminiscent of the color-overlay arcade games of old, Nano Tank brings out a kind of future-retro vibe that's easy to get drawn into.
The goal of the game is to pilot your tank through level after level of scrolling mazes, seeking out enemy glider bases with the aid of your onscreen radar. These bases are very much like the enemy base with its rotating walls from Star Castle. In order to destroy them, you'll need to knock out moving wall sections from the slowly regenerating, concentric defense rings in order to get a clear shot at the core. Of course, being glider bases, a steady flow of enemy gliders is constantly emerging for you to contend with, all the while.
There are three levels of difficulty to choose from: Easy, Hard, and Ouch. Higher difficulty levels bring larger and more complex mazes, faster and more aggressive gliders, and more rings to the enemy bases.
The game is controlled via dual, onscreen analog sticks which center their axis on whatever point you touch on the left and right sides of the screen. The controls work quite well for this sort of game and, together with the aforementioned high framerate, deliver an uncannily fluid arcade feel. Both portrait and landscape orientation are supported.
Nano Tank is currently $0.99, 50% off in celebration of the game's recent v1.1 update that brought a number of notable improvements to the original release. Another improvement I hope the developer delivers in a future update is online leaderboard support -- an iOS game like this really needs it. Even so, this one is simple iPad fun with definite retro appeal.
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