Game Reviews

Tank Domination

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| Tank Domination
Tank Domination
| Tank Domination

If you look at the games that have historically performed the best on Russia's App Store, it's generally tanks for as far as the eye can see.

Arcade and simulation tank games, action and strategy tank games, premium and free-to-play tank games - make a decent game featuring a T-90 and a huge portion of the Russian game-playing public will be all over it.

Game Insight is a Russian developer whose contribution to the armoured vehicle genre is Tank Domination. I'll be checking it out over the course of a week to see how it fares against the competition.

It's being billed as more action-focused than the CSR-alike that is Boom! Tanks - the last game I reviewed that starred hulking machines of death. Perhaps it will be a little closer in scope to the wildly popular PC (and soon mobile) MMO simulation World of Tanks.

First impressions

So far I'm liking what Tank Domination has to offer.

You're assigned a small tank at the beginning of the game, and given training missions to go on that teach you the basics of controlling your vehicle.

A virtual stick on the left of the screen handles track movement, and the right stick moves your Commander's View. There's a 'binoculars' button to zoom, and a 'fire' button to shoot shells.

The sticks feel a little twitchy, and this is made worse by a firing reticle that takes a little while to catch up with your view, but after a little practice you get used to it.

You roll about in large battle environments - based on real-world war zones - as part of a squad, participating in online multiplayer combat against another team of human opponents. To secure victory you must either destroy the enemy tanks or capture their base.

It's really tough, and I got my butt kicked within a couple of minutes of starting my first match. But after a couple more rounds I'm beginning to understand how to better approach the game.

When not on the battlefield you're refilling your ammo, repairing your tank, and (if you can stomach the bravado and sexually aggressive language) engaging with other community members in the chat area.

I've barely begun to explore the depth of the combat, I'm sure, and I'm definitely keen to keep playing.

Day 3: You can get a tank through there

Today I was part of the winning team for the first time. Victory is indeed sweet.

I'm starting to understand how the gameplay in Tank Domination differs from run-of-the-mill multiplayer combat games, and I think it's mostly to do with a sense of weight.

Tanks are heavy vehicles and - except for the twitch of the viewfinder that I mentioned previously - every movement is slow and heavy. You have to be deliberate in your actions, and commit to your strategies, because double-guessing yourself and making up tactics on the fly rarely works.

At the beginning of a battle I follow in convoy with members of my team, sticking with them for protection as they lead the way. Then I observe my surroundings, with one eye kept on my mini map to ensure I'm not going to fall victim to a surprise attack.

Then I assist my squad by picking off lone units. We make short work of their armour and then move like piranhas on to our next victim.

I ensure my armour faces toward my enemies, as my defences are strongest there, and I try to move my gun turret slowly but surely.

That's the plan, anyway, but occasionally communication proves an issue. I haven't found a way to voice chat with my team, so co-ordinating strategies is nigh-on impossible. It's a bit of an issue, as Tank Domination appears to want to encourage teams to form with its online MMO game structure, but doesn't allow for easy and rapid communication.

Getting into matches has also proven a problem. How long it takes to enter a game varies wildly - I gather it's something to do with the internet connection of people in your group - but when you're looking for a quick fix of fun this is an annoyance.

The balancing of teams is usually okay, but I've still ended up in matches where my team has been thoroughly thrashed.

Day 7: Tanks a lot

As my time with Tank Domination draws to a close, I find myself wishing that I could extend this review for a few more weeks: I still feel like there's more to see of the game, and its tactical play remains fascinating after seven days.

As you increase your Mastery Level with each tank, you gain access to new Modules to buy for it, upgrading its abilities. I've decked out the two tanks I have with some pretty top-end gear now, and the effect of this on the gameplay is substantial yet subtle.

The primary tactic is still to navigate around your enemies and attack them from behind, and even with a fully upgraded tank you'll have a tough time chipping away at a foe's front-facing armour.

However, with a more powerful engine you can accelerate and turn more quickly, allowing you to engage in some riskier strategies.

In one match I was in a stand-off with another tank, and we were gradually eroding one another's armour points. It was pretty clear that I was going to come out worse that my opponent, so I put pedal to metal and floored it towards their position.

Having turned on cruise control I was able to focus on shooting, exchanging pot shots while making it harder for them to hit me. Passing my opponent I then released cruise control, with my turret facing their rear from just feet away, and obliterated them with a single shot to their weakest point. It was thrilling.

To pull off these feats takes practice, which will only come from patiently accepting your early losses and learning from your mistakes.

Tank Domination is a fantastic multiplayer combat game, and though it could do more to encourage communities, and improve the way that players communicate, it still comes highly recommended.

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Tank Domination

It's not as community focused as it could be, but Tank Domination is nonetheless a superb-looking tank combat game with oceans of tactical depth to explore