Russia had quite a big presence at this year’s Gamescom and you might be forgiven for not even hearing of Tanki Online in Western Europe. However over 40 million people are registered to it across the globe and have been smashing other people in their browsers since 2009. In 2015 though, the game is going HD.
The premise is one that we have become familiar with other the past few years of browser based warfare gaming, you battle in tanks against other players in an arena to gain XP and earn in game currency to improve and customise your tank. The familiarity of such a game may be obvious to those of you who know of Wargaming and other such companies. Tanki however does offer something slightly different.
The casual nature of these games has been seized upon here and rather than attention to detail and the long deep research in to the history of a WW2 Panzerkamphwagen IV and its every nuance, Tanki provides a lot more of a pick up and play approach. There isn’t the historical or military enthusiast satiation here. Instead your selection is very simple and the weaponry more open to imaginative interpretation.
Catch up complete, the game is moving from its humble browser capacity now and taking its route on the path of Unity. The development version I played was still in a very early stage and is expected to roll out some time in 2015 but it does look good for a free-to-play game and is interesting to see how the Unity engine (of which I saw a lot of games beginning to use) can be adapted to multiplayer online gaming without demanding serious system power. The plans for Tanki Online with it are also quite ambitious, although that is made easier by the casual nature of the game.
The thing is with Tanki is it depends what kind of gamer you are as to whether you would play it. It is essentially a simple game and the Unity engine would help it to expand out of the browser to other platforms which is probably going to be more essential for its planned expansion to the UK and other new markets. Dedicated in game chat, friends lists, social networking are coming to the game as well as graphics and the Unity engine would allow very easy portability. The game modes would be the same across all versions such as your standard deathmatch, team deathmatch and capture points modes. There will also be the 50+ maps with environmental snow controls, paint jobs and absolutely no AI players are intended to make this game a different slice of pie to the already available options.
The social side of it is already well underway in Russia where the game is already integrated into Russia’s VK network and with a big effort of it being integrated in to Facebook as well. Which means that the game runs directly from the social network itself rather than linked to a site like Bigpoint and the like. The social side of it is important to developer AlternativePlatform due to how far reaching the games popularity is. There is quite the following in Brazil and in South America, as well as Eastern Europe.
The thing with Tanki Online is that, speaking for what I know of the UK market, it will be a very hard nut to crack over here. Gamers in this country, whilst they like the casual nature of some games, might not take to this. Despite the graphical improvements, there are already a lot of options that are already established quite well like Wargaming’s various offerings, on multiple formats and the majority of gamers in this country are likely to spend more of their time on the industry dubbed AAA gaming options that will dominate the Autumn/Winter television adverts and website pop-ups.
I would always recommend giving the game a go because, whilst this is a preview for the Unity powered HD option, the game is very much up and running and can be played in its current browser form. When a game is free to play and has quite a large player base and a very easy learning curve without having to download masses of launcher data, then there is no reason not to try it. For what is already a successful game in its own regions, it will be a good barometer to see how the game succeeds in our ever changing games climate and what impact it might leave on other games trying similar social integration.