Video games are capable of stirring all kinds of emotions - such as sadness, anger, excitement and joy - but they also have a rather unfortunate tendency to trivialise things.

There's no finer example of this than Modern War, which takes the hellish nature of armed conflict and simplifies it to such a degree that it becomes little more than an exercise in chasing numbers.

In Modern War, you select a nation, build a base of operations, hire some troops, and generally inflict as much damage on your enemies as possible across several different global locations.

As well as taking on predetermined missions, you can also raid the HQs of other players, adding more cash to your reserves and improving your overall level.

War is hell

Modern War certainly isn't lacking when it comes to content - there are loads of different structures to erect and plenty of troop types and vehicles (land, sea, and air) to manufacture.

Naturally, these don't come out of thin air - you'll need cash and gold bars. Cash is generated by certain buildings (such as supply depots) and you win a chunk whenever you successfully complete a mission, but gold bars are slightly harder to come by.

You can buy more bars using in-app purchases, or bag free ones by partaking in promotional activities - standard freemium fare. You can get cash the same way.

Another commodity which is available for real-world monies is energy, which depletes whenever you launch an attack and recharges slowly over time.

Guns and glory

None of which should be surprising to free-to-play veterans - a developer deliberately slowing down the gameplay to tempt users to open their wallets is common practice these days, if not always a welcome one. What makes Modern War's setup a little less appealing is the vacuous nature of the gameplay itself.

For the most part, you're just tapping on the screen and watching dialogue boxes pop up. There's little to no skill involved, and outside of building up your army and allies (done by a code system not entirely dissimilar to the one used by Nintendo on its Wii and 3DS consoles) there's a very narrow scope for any legitimate strategy.

As long as you're willing to put in the time (and possibly cash) your advancement is almost assured - it's just a case of how quickly you get max-out your abilities.

As a result, Modern War feels little more than a grimly predictable stat-chasing exercise, designed to loot players of their money rather than provide any challenge or entertainment.

Although there are lots of units available and plenty of missions to keep you busy, they're so unexciting and mundane that unless you have an unshakable urge to collect every item and unlock every unit your interest is likely to wane quickly.