Midcore gamers will revel in real-time tank MMO simulator gameplay
Strap yourself in because tank warfare just got a little more explosive. Because tank battles are such the rage, yes, Wargaming.net’s Word of Tanks certainly comes to mind, Game Insight felt it was time to up the ante with its entry into the midcore market, Tank Domination. The free-to-play game publisher recently previewed Tank Domination at its San Francisco office and I was lucky enough to be invited for the ride. Now Game Insight is no stranger to hit game making having published free-to-play mobile hits like Mystery Manner(20 million users to date, according to Game Insight’s Brand Manager, Andrew Park) and Paradise Island for Android (achieved #1 mobile game status on GooglePlay for six months) so expectations ran high upon trying out Tank Domination for the first time. Does it deliver?
It’s 2023, and all out war between nations means the planet is ripe for destruction. Corporate armies rule and supply armies of mercenaries with the latest in tank weaponry. Once logged in, you spend time in the hanger deck. You can select from up to 30 different types of battle vehicles, including artillery. More than a hundred tank customizations and upgrades are possible leaving you with the urge to spend more time prepping for battle than actually doing battle itself. Heavy tanks, medium tanks, light tanks, each criteria selected provides your tank with different pros and cons, impacting such variables as speed and power. It took me the second game to recognize that choosing a lighter tank gets you moving that much quicker.
Once settled upon your tank preferences, you load up with ammo, and settle on the country of choice where your battle will take place. A variety of countries and landscapes are available and our test group spent most of its time doing battle in Korea and Iraq. The rich, 3D graphics, built with the Unity engine did not disappoint. Not fully comfortable using an iPad for PvP battle game play, it took me some time to comfortably navigate my tank through the terrain. I couldn’t rest for long, though, because my enemies constantly targeted me. “We think it adds a lot of strategic depth to have a match set-up where you think you have cover behind a building until suddenly the building is blown up and you’re ripe for target and need to move on, “ said Park.
A little map in the upper right hand corner of your screen details your team’s location (highlighted in Green) and your enemy (highlighted in Red). Our team in San Francisco played the GameInsight office in Moscow. We were nearly 20 online playing Tank Domination in real-time and by all accounts it worked just fine, with the exception of a few bugs.
I found myself getting routinely stuck on the sides of mountains and hills. I was unable to move my tank. Tank Domination is still in beta so I suspect this will be corrected soon enough before the game’s Fall release. Getting comfortable using your thumb as the principal means of moving your tank also proved slightly frustrating for me. Console gamers take note. Playing PvP tank battles on an iPad requires sharper thumb coordination than I anticipated.
The future of midcore gaming
Developing Tank Domination took about a year’s time, according to Park. I asked him what he felt GameInsight was most proud of. “Real-time synchronous multi-player gaming for up to 20 people is not something you see everyday on a mobile device. Getting 20 players, head to head, on an iPad is cool stuff!”
And while I remain a peacenik at heart, I must concur with Park. Fitting in that five to 20 minute midcore range, I found myself surprisingly energized by Tank Domination. Maybe it helped that I was in a room with fellow gamers who were hooping and hollering as they piloted their tanks with abandon searching to bomb their enemy targets. Wargaming.net will soon be announcing their own mobile tank game, World of Tanks: Blitz, but for Park, it’s not about who is first to market. Engaging gamers with the highest quality of game experience possible is top of mind for Game Insight.
Hardcore game players who typically play more PC games, like World of Warcraft or Call of Duty, are now migrating towards mobile and tablets. Game Insight wants to take full advantage of this shift and Tank Domination’s 3D environments with destructible terrain and cover fits the bill.