App Review: Even The Most Promising Game Can Be Ruined By Free-To-Play Foolishness

Dammit, Tank Nation — why won't you just let me love you? I wanted to spend hours flinging projectiles at challenging enemies against lush 2D backdrops, pausing only to use my amassed resources to fit new parts and upgrades onto my fantastical tank creations. I wanted to progress through the expansive story, discover new lands and pillaging them for pieces, until my death machine looked a little something like this.

Even The Most Promising Game Can Be Ruined By Free-To-Play Foolishness

I wanted to bank on the excitement of Wormhole Games' Jamil Moledina and James Helm, whom I spoke to at length about the game prior to its release last week. They spoke of melding old-school PC game action with mobile sensibilities. I was so up for that, especially when the old-school PC gaming they were talking about was along the lines of classic turn-based trajectory shooter Scorched Earth.

The old-school feel is certainly there, but the excitement soon gets buried under those free-to-play mobile sensibilities.

The game's difficulty ramps up sharply, requiring the player to continuously upgrade and reconfigure their tanks. That costs, and more often than not the cost isn't something you can attain during a normal round of gameplay.

So one can either pay money for currency needed to craft more powerful tank parts or upgrade existing ones, or grind levels to amass cash. Grinding wouldn't be a problem — I enjoy the simple gameplay enough to want to do it over and over again — but then they added an energy mechanic, limiting how much I can play in one session.

Mixing old-school gameplay with the free-to-play mobile model isn't a bad idea. It's just one that requires convincing players they can achieve a goal without spending any money. Tank Nation is not very convincing.

Tank Nation

Genre: Old-school turn-based tank battles Developer: Wormhole Games Platform: iPad Price: Free Get Tank Nation on iTunes


    I swear I remember playing a browser based mmo that looked exactly like this about 10 yrs ago.

    Hahahahaha I started playing this and LOVED it at first..... got bummed out by all of the reasons listed here. I even got some friends on board at the start but after a couple days I told them not to bother.

    There's quite a few of these games I'd be willing to play if they were like 10-15 to play completely stripped of the "freemium" trappings but where I'm not willing to make $50 worth of microtransactions AND STILL RUN OUT OF ENERGY the next time I want to play it for more than 5 or 10 minutes.

    Any game that limits how much you can play it (with energy or whatever) is the worst thing in gaming.

    Not even going to look at this title.

      Honestly, of all the mobile gaming things that have come out, energy is the one i dislike most. And I enjoy mobile gaming a lot. But once you add in something that is explicitly to get you to either pay constantly, or not play... Ugh. I'm done with games that are that limiting.

    This is what concerns me most about the xbox one.

    Same for clash of clans, I really enjoyed the old-school pre-wow, warcraft type action but the stupid gems system (cash) and the only way to get more builders is to buy them for 500 gems, meaning there is no way you can play for more than ten minutes without spending real money.
    I would have paid $20 for the game with no limitations, but I'm not effectively going to pay $50 a month to play it.

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