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Rio – The Map Review

It’s on a totally different level. In fact, I dare say it puts all other maps to shame. And if you had to grade it on sheer stunning looks, even the strictest teacher would mark it an A*. The much-anticipated and completely revolutionary new map. It’s time to welcome to our battlefields the beauty… that we know as Rio.

Rio has taken the servers by storm ever since it’s release under a week ago. With nearly half of the battles on each and every server dedicated to this entrancing piece of art, I would class it as “Highly Unlikely” that any of you active players reading this will have failed to complete at least one battle over there. But despite the popularity this map has had in its earlier days, many players remain clueless on taking full advantage of a map that offers so much to a team. In this map review, I will be unpacking Rio from the start, running over its release, layout and gameplay in depth, before closing with some opinions on a map that surely will remain to be one of the most popular in Tanki for a while.

The Landscape of Rio

This, in effect, is quite honestly the one and only thing that really tells us how good a map is. Its layout. To be quite blunt, if a map isn’t constructed well, it isn’t good. And if isn’t good, no-one’s going to play it, are they? To really uncover the set-up of this map, we must first take a look at the birds eye picture taken below of Rio. Take a good look at it. You’d be surprised how much is there you haven’t noticed.


If I’m going to be honest here, when I saw that picture – I was extremely surprised. Extremely surprised. Playing the map for a few times, I had expected it to look a bit more wild. Looking at the picture above actually shows that Rio is very orderly. Simple, and effective. And with that, I think that can help us to uncover how Rio is set up. First things first, we must put down a list of the obvious facts about Rio.

Firstly, Rio is clearly not symmetrical. With the beach on one side of the map, and the town up on the other; this automatically creates a viewpoint where we can see different techniques that can be operated by different teams. This fact, though not crucial, is a very good asset to a map – it means that there’s lots to discover and different tactics for each side.

Secondly, quite obviously, Rio is pretty large. But don’t be fooled by its large, open appearance. Take a glance up at that picture and pick out the two flags. Pretty close together, huh? This layout gives a great diversity to the map – particularly in the CTF Mode. Large for the long-range, but Compact for the close-range!

And thirdly, we must note the walls down each of the ends of the map where my epic Photo-edited Spotlight fades away. Well, obviously, some of us Parkourers wanted to get behind them – but as soon as we found ourselves over, we self-destructed automatically! It was a painful experience, fair to say. Respawning in an unknown land. Anyway, that section, just so you know, was added for self-destructing because it would be too easy for Railguns and Shafts to snipe there untouched. Also, co-incidentally, the edges of the beach also Self-Destruct the tank so don’t go right to the edge! Probably a good warning for real life too… stay away from the sea!

Now, let’s take a look at the two sniper sides to the map, and then we’ll investigate the compact middle – what do these aspects add to the map? We’ll begin over on the sunny side of the map – joining the sunbathers on the beach. The interesting thing about it is its openness. Like, there’s not a thing on the beach. Perhaps aimed at making the map more natural – after all, who builds a building on the beach? But anyway, its open – which we can see is in total contrast to the opposite side.

Over on the other side is what looks like a sort of Brazillian favela (known to us as a sort of “shantytown”). The complete different angle on Rio; we now see the activity and cramped nature of the town life. That side is clearly particularly made for snipers – with the nice high level and decent amounts of cover. Intriguing, however, that the buildings we see are all behind the boundaries the tank can drive to – and so, really, its not all that stuffed. Its just a nice raised platform by the side of the map for the long-ranged guns to protect their base and snipe off enemy defenders.

Right, we’ve covered the two sides; now its time to take a quick look into the middle. Basic things first – clearly, the middle is formed of two different levels – up and down. It is also surrounded by a road encircling what looks to me like some sort of multi-story car park – which co-incidentally has a Drive-thru at some point down the side. It is rather eccentric, but the different routes inside the maze is very useful to learn. Unfortunately, this guide can’t tell you everything – you’ll have to look that stuff up yourself.

Now, the building itself is what most people class as the hub of Rio – but the road that runs around this mess of a building really has a key role to play in all sorts of Game Modes, but particularly CTF. This is often the ideal route to escape, with less enemies to encounter and less cramped. Particularly this is true with fast tanks. Anyway, I should really be saving my tactical strategies for the next section. But this road is often as busy as the building inside where the action is known to occur.

We’ve finished, haven’t we? No, wait! I’ve forgotten the most crucial part of the Landscape of Rio – thanks to FBI’s screenshot showing solely the props. If you ever feel like just admiring the game, join a Rio, and stare at the skybox. And dream you were just in the sun there, chilling. An effective, contrasting construction; a beautiful landscape – as we enter the section on gameplay, Rio is looking like some serious potential blockbuster of a map!

The Battleground of Rio

I’m probably gonna sound like some over-dramatic TV presenter by saying this, but to be quite honest, even though construction is crucial, it all eventually leads up to the point which everything balances upon – the gameplay. Tanki is a game, believe it or not, and maps are there to be played in – not admired from afar. So how does Rio work, and what’s best in Rio’s battleground?

Right, first we must go through the basic battle stats from Rio. Firstly, it offers room for 20 players. 10v10 in Team Battles, 20 max for DM. Secondly, it’s available in three game-modes – DM, TDM and of course CTF. Thirdly, and lastly, the map is only available in “Summer” Mode. Its obvious why – who would want to go to a Beach in the winter?

In this first section, I’m going to do an overview of the modes before giving some serious tactical advice. Firstly, what about DeathMatch? Suited in Rio? Well, DeathMatch is one of those modes, that to be honest, can be done anywhere. Its just mass-murder – hunt ’em all. Rio is one of the better maps for DeathMatch – because of its awesome looks and its diverse size enabling all sorts of weapons to thrive. However, it can sometimes be rather pesky to play DeathMatch in a map that sometimes does lag for players and so it may not be ideal. All the same, DeathMatch is suitable for Rio. Not ideal, but suitable. I’d say one of the best combos in a Rio 20-player Supplies DeathMatch is probably either Twins or Thunder with a Medium Hull.

Team Death Match Mode is very commonly seen at the lower ranks, but rarely seen at the higher ranks – because of the fact that many high ranks prefer not to have such a dependency on the skill qualities of their team-mates and prefer not to have such an over-reliance on them for the result. All the same, its worth considering. How’s Rio in TDM Mode? I would say, rather poor. Unfortunately for Rio, the sniping sides unbalance TDM. This is because of the domination that snipers can have without dying – which is the name of the game in Team Death Match. And so, if you’re playing in TDM in Rio, the best combo would likely be something like Rail or Shaft with a Medium Hull for decent maneuverability and sufficient health.

Finally, undoubtedly the most popular mode in Tanki – we will dwell this final section on Capture the Flag and what Rio offers here. I would guess that almost all of you readers will have tried out a game in the different teams. I’m not going to give my reasons for why Rio is good at CTF ~ in my opinion, it just is. It’s one of those maps. It works. I’ve discussed why in the above section on the Landscape. The question I first want to ask is what team is really more effective here?

In fact, what I love about it is that it’s not clear cut one way at all. I created a poll on this topic here and surprisingly, at time of writing, my poll left it at a staggeringly close score of “16-15 votes in favour of Red. I personally differ from this opinion. Blue has the potential to be the better team and in the next couple of paragraphs I hope to explain why I believe Blue is greater than Red – particularly in a No Supplies Battle.

The thing is, Blue has the simpler routes to escape with the enemy flag, and though players might say Red can easily get the Blue enemy flag, there’s not much defence for the Reds if both flags are taken – and trust me, this is not a rare event in Rio. Another thing that doesn’t sit well with the Reds is their lack of defensive positions in comparison to the defence of the Blues. This is why using snipers for Reds can be crucial in creating a path for the flag-runners.

Another reason people bring up when explaining their reason for Red being better is the respawn points on Red, which are surprisingly “high up the playing field”. Though this can be useful, its not enough reason for me to be convinced that Red is better. A final thing that people bring up is the “thin entries” into the Red Base which can easily be mined up. This is a very valid view, and this is why I think its more clear-cut that Blue is greater in a NS game. However, there is still a fair way of entering the base untouched, and as mentioned before the defenders for Red never have that much cover, meaning their mines are often killed much quicker.

The Reaction to Rio

Of course, this article can only really state my opinion on this map. And as a result, I felt compelled to put in the reactions to this map from 7 members of the English Community, and asked them (politely, of course) to express their thoughts on Rio from their own personal perspective. Below, you can take a look at their reaction when asked to talk “All things Rio”…

Valletta – Rio is a constructively ingenious map in my opinion, as it is built so that there are no spots where one can just camp and be untouched. Rather, there are plenty of spots where a player can stay and have access to most of the map to shoot at, but he can also be easily taken down by a shot from somewhere else. Traversing the map is especially easy too. Mammoths and Titans may have a hard time, but any other tank, especially light tank, can move to different corners of the map in no time. The other day I was waiting for a gold box on top of the buildings, when it fell on the edge of the beach. I had no trouble getting down with my hornet and getting there in time. (See a picture of the epic catch here…) Rio resembles some rather large maps that can be traversed easily, like Esplanade, for example. A fun map indeed.

Who.Cares – As I played in the awesome, new released map Rio, I have realized that playing in blue side has a slightly greater advantage than red side. Blue side has more camping spots, which make it harder for enemy to take the flags, whereas red side has less camping spots. Unlike red side, there are more suitable places for defender to find a position in defend to save the flag. Blue side doesn’t just have advantage in defensive mode, but also in attack. There are more and easier routes to get to the red flag in groups and get a flag. The shortest and best way, in my opinion, would be the way that goes above the center buildings connects both flag bases. In an experiment, it was identified that the center way could save one third of the actual time to capture a flag. In conclusion, using the easier route, attacking in groups of 3 or 4 people would be a promising attack from blue side and keeping few campers and one or two main defenders can save the flag as well.

Remaine – It’s not as great as I thought it would be. I was genuinely disappointed with the outcome of the map. It’s not a map to have great “replay value” if you will. By that mean, it’s not a map I feel you can play again and again. I appreciate that the skybox and the beach have been placed to give it that Brazilian feeling, along with the favelas but they weren’t so successful with the favelas. Granted, there’s not much you can do but in all honestly, they just look like squares with windows stacked on top of each other posing as a supposed “favela”. And then there’s the gameplay, of which is not that great. Firstly, the map seems totally biased toward the red side. It feels like there’s a lot less distance when on the red team. But that’s just me. Also, the map doesn’t offer diversity really well. The average CTF consists of attackers running around the road easily capping time and time again – there’s not many unorthodox methods that’s on offer for you to me. Overall, I find that this map will lose its popularity in around a fortnight, just like what happened with Future. From what I’ve gathered, it’s an unpopular opinion but it’s my one.

DarkOperative – Rio map, known for its beauty. It is a good place to visit and seek what peace actually is. Just look at it’s scenery, a bunch of buildings at one side, then again a bunch of buildings in the middle, and a very distinct scenery at one side. That distinct scenery is what makes the map beautiful. You can just stay there and enjoy the scenery. You can observe the beautiful mountains at the sides; you can observe the beauty of the sea. You can have a lot of fun with your friends when parkouring with them, then you’ll realize what team work is. You can see the map’s perfection, you can see how distinctly it has been thought of. Observing the scenery from a higher level makes it even beautiful. You can make new friends in that map, even by parkouring. You can seek the true definition of beauty, peace and silence simply by visiting it. Once you leave the war zone and come towards the beach side, you’ll feel peaceful. You’ll feel great. You’ll feel safe. And you will feel calm and careless about some numbers. It is a great place for gameplay as well. You can defend properly with the help of barricades. You can attack properly due to the roads, short-cuts. You can even sit at one place and snipe easily as targets will be seen everywhere. You can place mines very effectively, as the map isn’t big enough, there are many thin roads that targets go through. Both of the team’s flags aren’t at a big distance which makes the game even interesting. Attacking both of the bases seems almost impossible but with a little planning, you can change the whole game. Rio map is a very distinct map as it is the only one with the most beautiful scenery. It is a map in which you can just stop and enjoy beauty.

monkeyburn – At first I had to feel my way around as did most people, but as the games progressed, I really found it to be a very dynamic map for it’s size. There’s a place for every turret and hull on the map, which I will not go into detail about. During game play, I kept thinking to myself “People who are not proficient in their combo’s will not like this map”. But for two full teams that really have their “stuff” together? Its “premo”. And besides, “Who doesn’t like a day at the beach after a long game?”

GoldRock – My opinions on Rio? Well, personally, it’s not a map I’m going to play very often. Though I think it’s a great showcase of some newer props, with notable features including the skybox and the way the map continues beyond areas of play, I don’t think the gameplay is that dynamic in terms of CTFs. In such a situation, like Future, the wide range of props seem to me to get in the way a bit, though it’s arguably pretty good as a DM map due to the more varied terrain. Will it become a classic? No, decidedly not – the map just doesn’t flow as well as the simple but effective Sandbox, nor is it strategic enough to earn a place amongst clan war maps like Kungur and Red Alert. Is it a step in the right direction? Definitely – it does have the advantage of being one of the best looking maps Tanki has seen, plus, as we all know, it has led to some great parkour. Maybe in the future, I’d love to see Rio’s new features (the props, extended edges and skybox) being applied to more dynamic maps.

Fjelstad1678 – I have played very little on Rio, so I really don’t know much about it in terms of gameplay, but I really do enjoy the map itself. However, just from exploring the map and playing on it once or twice, it seems to be a decently well balanced map. The new structures that they have included in the map, particularly the skyscraper that everyone is excited about, look terrific. I like how there appears to be some sort of military base on one side of the map, almost as if the map is a battle of a rebel force attacking a bunker. I really like how they made the beach almost completely blend in with the background as well. It really makes you feel as if the world that you are fighting on goes on forever. The one thing that doesn’t seem quite right about it is the barricades blocking off the outer edges of the map. They just seem rather out of place and specifically on the side with the large base looking structure, they seem to cut it off. All-in-all, I find Rio to be a interesting looking map and I look forward to having some great battles on it!

And there we have it. Some members helping us out with a few more words of advice and differing opinions on Rio. Clearly, some disagree with my opinion of the potential that this map has – but I think its a common consensus that there’s no doubt its seriously good-looking, and we can’t wait to see more of the same.

The Recap of Rio

We started with Release of Rio, we end with the Recap of Rio. Though perhaps not my best run at alliteration ever, R is a tough letter so give me a break. It’s time to end this rather packed Map Review. Rio, though perhaps not fulfilling the tactical nous of some of the more prominent Clan War Maps, methinks has gone and struck gold. A map of epic proportions – hopefully, after reading all this stuff, you’ve taken at least one or two things home to help you on your mission to discover this awesome map. It always seems to be with an essay, that your opening words sum it up everything as well as you could possibly do at the ending, and so let’s close exactly where we started off.

“It’s on a totally different level. In fact, I dare say it puts all other maps to shame. And if you had to grade it on sheer stunning looks, even the strictest teacher would mark it an A*. The much-anticipated and completely revolutionary new map. It’s time to welcome to our battlefields the beauty… that we know as Rio.”

By Hogree