Atari created the overhead tank shooter genre with its classic VCS/2600 pack-in game Combat. Now Gameloft has brought the game into the modern era with Tank Battles ($7), a Mac App Store download that’s far better in motion than screenshots would suggest. You take control of a yellow, green, blue, or red tank, steer it with one hand and move a targeting reticule with another, firing off shots in a series of four-player deathmatches in 50 city, country, and military settings. Power-ups fill the screen with explosions until one tank emerges as the leader of the pack.
The single most impressive part of Tank Battles is the graphics engine, which makes outstanding use of the 3-D graphics capabilities on even 27” iMac screens: Gameloft nicely blends cartoony and realistic art together here, using gentle camera zooms and pans to focus on the action, while playing inspiringly epic World War II-era music and sound effects to keep the energy level high. With local and online multiplayer modes, Tank Battles runs on most recent-model Macs, except for those with Radeon X1600 or Intel GMA 950 cards.