Tank Domination: Hands-on preview

It’s the year 2023, and the world’s governments have collapsed. In their place have risen groups of mercenary tank commanders who now battle each other across the globe for the planet’s scarce remaining resources, not to mention, the power these resources carry with them. This is the virtual conflict found in Game Insight’s upcoming free-to-play title, Tank Domination, the first MMO tank simulator for mobile that features synchronous, real-time 10v10 multi-player battles.

The game is set to debut on the iPad this fall, with announcements of future platforms still to come, but I have to say, after playing the game recently at a multi-player event in San Francisco, I left the digital battlefield impressed (even if I left my tank a fiery mess).

Playing online against a group of developers located in Russia, I was surprised how smooth the game played already in its early stages, especially when you have 20 people from across the globe shooting it out in virtual hot spots from Korea to Iraq.

Using dual virtual joystick controls, gamers move the tank with the left stick, while rotating the turret and camera with the right, and after a game of getting used to the movement, I was shelling the game’s Moscow designers in no time.

Throughout each battlefield, you’ll have to tackle the terrain and find cover while working as a team to capture the enemy base, or simply destroy all opposing tanks. There are over 30 vehicles to choose from based on the real war machines from the Russian military (Soviet-era PT-76, for example), as well as other nations to be announced later, including light, medium, heavy, and artillery classes that all vary in speed, defense, and shell capability. Gamers will then have the ability to upgrade their tanks throughout the experience in order to rain down additional firepower on opponent, including mods to help increase vehicle speed and armor, as well as enabling mercenaries to buy different types of shells to better suit their style of play.

And while I was only able to do battle on a few maps based in Asia and the Middle East, Game Insight is also promising missions based in the U.S., with an announcement about a feature called Global Conflict dropping in the near future.

Throughout the demo, Tank Domination’s brand manager, Andrew Park, referred to the upcoming game as “mid-core,” explaining that mobile gamers aren’t just soccer moms playing FarmVille anymore.  “The mobile market is growing and changing,” said Park. “People who are playing their console games and their PC games, they’re still playing on their console and PC, but now they’re also picking up their iPads and saying, ‘OK, what games are real on this thing,’ so there’s a real opportunity for us in this market.

“The other thing about Game Insight is, we’re not just a bunch of 50-year-old guys in suits who don’t play games. We all play games, we all love games, and games like Tank Domination are actually the types of games we all love playing, so we’re really excited to launch a game like this.”

And I have to say, as another guy who is also a hard-core console gamer, Tank Domination is just the type of warfare I’ve been looking to dive into on mobile.

Looks like my iPad has a future in the mercenary business.