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 FoolishnessS

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