There will come a day when most free to play games will get an actual clue on how to draw sizable revenue without annoying their audience. If first impressions were the only form of judgment, 1941 Frozen Front Review would have been completely down for the count. Within its opening moments, this WWII strategy title does a horrible bait-and-switch move which makes nails on a chalkboard seem pleasant. But does this error negate the entire experience?

Commanding German forces against the Soviets, with a select number of infantry, planes, and tanks at your disposal, should whet any strategy nut's appetite. Any gamer with a brain understandS that, even with a free download, some kind of in-app purchase may be needed down the line, and if it's worth the money, why not give the developers a few bucks for their efforts?

HandyGames sticks it to you right from the get go, as advertisements appear on the upper part of your screen. Permanently removing these advertisements will cost you $1.99, but you have the option of playing out your campaign for free. If having ads plastered above your tactical map isn't an absolute eyesore, then you're in luck. Enjoy playing 1941 Frozen Front with digital ads to boot. I simply couldn't concentrate on the actual game, so I relented and forked over a couple of bucks.

After submitting to HandyGames' all too soon cash grab, I decided to let bygones be bygones and let the game speak for itself, and within the first twenty minutes I was absolutely hooked. A successful turn-based strategy game is a journey of immersion, where time disappears into thin air.

I failed more than several times in trying to complete my first campaign, and even though it took me over an hour to accurately overtake the Soviets, I didn't mind watching the minutes and the eventual hours go by the wayside. Controlling a diverse array of troops as they storm through a wintered battlefield is invigorating and, if you're not prepared, also slightly humbling. Make sure a supply truck is close to your stronger units, especially when they head out onto the bloody breach.

The key theme for 1941 Frozen Front is sacrifice. Part of progressing in the campaigns is knowing which troops or tanks you will be willing to lose during the fight. Are you ready to give up a group of foot soldiers as they try and take out a bunker? Or is giving them tank support the right order of business? What if you save your soldiers but lose your high powered war machine in the skirmish? So many questions!

Although more gold is accrued by killing your enemies, restocking your units and creating new ones cost a ton of currency. So knowing where and when to strike, as well as how much to spend, are the two key ingredients to your survival. Don't expect to run rough shod in the middle of snow laden forest, blasting your way to victory. 1941 Frozen Front is a thinking person's game, which is why I'm usually under a Soviet boot heel within minutes.

The controls are all tap based, so navigating your way through the map is an absolute cinch. Although turn-based conflicts do get wearying after a spell, this game throws an inspired curve to add a bit of variety. During the enemy's turn, the battleground turns into an off-colored hue, giving a newsreel footage effect. It's a nice visual touch that adds to the game's overall allure.

1941 Frozen Front enables gamers to use their intellect, as well as a little luck, to commandeer their own army. The initial in-app purchase threw me for a loop, and HandyGames gets a slap on the wrist for that irritating choice. Still, if the dogs of war are barking, this free to play app is a worthy download, even if their version of "free" translates to $1.99.


App Store Link: 1941 Frozen Front for iPhone & iPad | HandyGames | Price: Free | Version: 1.0.0 | 41.0 MB | Rating: 9+

7.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating