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Tank Biathlon

For: iPhone   Also on: Android, iPad

Tanks, but no tanks

Product: Tank Biathlon | Developer: Grotburn OU | Publisher: Grotburn OU | Format: iPhone | Genre: 3D, Action, Simulation, Sports | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Tank Biathlon iPhone, thumbnail 1
It's easy Tank Biathon is aiming for, which is a tad ironic since it's often pretty hard to see what you're aiming at in the game.

It works hard to make tanks fun, and not with the usual war zone antics. It swaps out derby cars for armoured behemoths and challenges you to master driving, shooting, and shooting while you're driving.

It's a noble intention, but it's running on fumes.

The caterpillar tracks of my tears

The tutorial in Tank Biathlon is tough enough, which gives you an idea of the challenge facing you when it comes time to compete.

The rounds rattle past faster than the shells you're sending into empty space (aiming is hard), and a game can be over before you've really had much time to practice.

There are a good number of tests in Tank Biathlon, although they're naturally based around those two core mechanics -driving and shooting.

A couple of control methods are available, which are labelled as 'arcade' and 'simulation.'

To be honest, we're not sure which is which. Both seem equally tricky. You can choose between using a lever either side of the screen to control the caterpillar tracks individually, or using a lever for speed and a digital switch for turning.

No matter which you use it'll demand you keep your eyes glued to the controls, and leave you missing the beautiful 3D action that's going on behind them.

And that's a shame, because Tank Biathlon is a very good looking game, and uses the Unreal Engine to deliver some realistic and detailed vehicles and environments.

But most of the time you'll be too busy trying to keep between the bollards during driving stages, or attempting to land a shell on a target, to really appreciate the splendour.


Because the game excels in so many ways, from its decent concept, outstanding visuals, and full voice-over commentary that really brings the sporting side of Tank Biathlon to life, it ought to be more entertaining than it actually is.

We tried it out on different devices, since the iPhone 4 struggled to run it smoothly, with some lag in the controls and a lower frame rate.

On a Galaxy S4 it ran super smooth, to the point that the slightest touch sent our tank veering out of control. Unfortunately that's something of a theme that runs through Tank Biathlon.

The game never quite hits that essential sweet spot, where accuracy of simulation meets tank-driving fun. Instead you're forever chasing the controls, or missing what's going on because you're watching the gauges intently.

It's fast and unforgiving, too, so you either learn very fast or fail just as quickly.

In some ways it's pleasantly reminiscent of the classic 8-bit Combat School. Not so much in content, but in the way it takes the more typical war-based gameplay and presents it in a sporting arena.

This makes it worthy of attention, but in practise it's just too much of a clunky, uncomfortable ride to keep you playing for long.
Tank Biathlon
Reviewer photo
Spanner Spencer | 4 August 2014
For a game that demands you take very careful control of targeting and independent caterpillar tracks, the overall experience Tank Biathlon offers is surprisingly unbalanced
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