Destroy enemy tanks from the air with Air Patriots

Strafe columns of tanks with this free Android game.

Smashing columns of enemy tanks with air power is the basic premise of Air Patriots, a free Android game. It's a variation on the familiar tower-defense game, but instead of stationary towers, you're behind the stick of a fighter plane on a ground attack mission. And what is the mission? We've already told you: destroying columns of tanks before they can cross the terrain you're defending, which can cause you to lose heart (and, thus, lose). You start out as a Rookie, but skill and audacity will see you promoted quickly, with better and faster aircraft to choose from. Air Patriots is suitable for all up-to-date Android devices.

Air Patriots has excellent graphics for a small-screen game. You have a choice of maps to overfly, each with several levels of play, though only the Grass map is unlocked for rookies. The game's settings are similar to other apps' options, and you earn credit to unlock new levels and upgrade your gear as you win more games. You can add planes to your squadron, too. You control your plane by tracing its flight path with your finger, setting up strafing runs that destroy tanks. Each tank has a small bar graph indicating how many hits it's taken; pour enough lead into a tank, and it explodes. You can strafe whole columns of tanks, but every now and then some tougher tanks appear. You have to loiter over them and really hit them hard to destroy these tanks, but you earn a lot more points, or Gears, which upgrade your plane and squadron.

It took a few tries to break the habit of trying to control the plane directly; you have to draw its flight path, and it automatically attacks any vehicles it flies over. But we soon figured out how to place the fast-moving plane over the slow-moving column to maximize our destructive power. Be sure you don't let any tanks escape, though! That causes you to "lose heart," and lose hearts, too, which costs you points. Air Patriots is totally addictive, though, so you'll probably be a fighter ace in no time.

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