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Special thanks to Richard Sykula Jr. for significant contributions to the article. Richard is an aspiring game developer and former US Marine. Brando shares similar aspirations and currently serves in the US Air Force.
When the MG crew got their hands on Tank Domination there were several common themes that were shared by the feedback gathered. Beautiful, busy, deep and hardcore echoed throughout the team. We all consider ourselves gamers and there are times when the industry seems overrun by the casual crowd. Tank Domination feels like it achieves a more competitive atmosphere although we admittedly didn’t get much of a chance to check out the multiplayer features. Simulation is what came to mind in terms of the depth and ingenuity afforded to the game mechanics. I’m not just worried about taking damage over a period of time, but armor penetration and weapons effects.
There are times when the amount of choices can feel overwhelming, but many may appreciate the depth and actually prefer the way the myriad of options shakes out. The stock M1A2 Abrams felt a bit sluggish even after basic upgrades, but the aim of the game seems to point towards providing noticeable advantages as a player upgrades their equipment. We highly recommend taking a look at their Beginner Guide to get a feel for some of the nuances that play an important role as a player progresses through the game. Experienced gamers may be able to feel out where things naturally live in the various menus, but a beginner may have a hard time sorting out the busy UI. I admit that I am not a native Mac guy. I’m a PC gamer through and through, but the camera controls were easily understood and intuitive. If you understand that you operate as a crew then the game will make a whole lot more sense.
Team member Richard put it best by explaining,
“I have had a lot of bad experiences with virtual joysticks on mobile platforms, and though this has been better than most, it can still be tricky. What helps is having options of adjusting button/clicking options on the joystick. This was a nice feature. I would get frustrated when I have to remove my finger to fire, and then when I place my finger back on the aiming stick, it would immediately snap up, or whatever direction my finger may be more towards. That being said, the controls were responsive and accurately detected direction change.”
The attention to detail was very much appreciated and as a gaming industry there has been a trend towards dumbing down anything that might make a player frustrated or feel as if they can’t instantly grasp it. On the other hand, it will take some research to fully understand what you’re buying and what effect it will ultimately have on your performance. Specifically the different types of shells available comes to mind. I can’t really be unbiased in this regard because I love anything that reaches beyond simple caveman mechanics of “I shot gun, bullet magically does damage based on random stat X.” Again, the team would like to reiterate that the game may appeal more to those looking for a competitive tank simulation game rather than a simple time waster that requires little to no attention span. The way you equip and upgrade your equipment is more than just a simple progression, but requires planning to achieve a balance of weight to performance.
Ultimately, the game is free although there is an in-game currency that is available to players for purchase. As with just about all Free2Play games these days it really depends on what you’re looking for and how competitive you want to be. The training is fun to tool around in, but if you’re a simulation geek as much as the rest of us then you’ll want to see that armor rolling over corpses in multiplayer just as much as you enjoy kitting it out. The complete picture of the game mechanics are not necessarily instantly available to you rolling fresh out of the tutorial and the learning curve can be a bit steep, but given enough time it appears that understanding all the moving parts will pay out dividends.
Tank Domination is a breath of fresh air in an industry becoming dominated by casual games. It is a competitive, absolutely beautiful tank simulation game that surprisingly shows up in the mobile realm making it even more unique.