Modern Command is a tower defense game that pits you against terrorists who are determined to destroy your military base. The good news is that it's a free-to-play experience, and you'll get a good enough taste of the app before deciding if you want to pay for the piper.
With a soundtrack that sounds like it was lifted from a 1980s action film, Modern Command is a throwback, meat-and-potatoes action game that seamlessly fits into the iOS universe. The first stage places you in the jungles of South America, as your base is under siege by various ground troops. Dispatching the enemies is an easy task with the use of gatling gun-inspired weapon called the sweeper and a devastating missile launcher. Extra points are earned if you destroy a chain of troops with your missile or you nail a target from long distance.
To fire your weapons, tap on the icons on the lower left side of the screen and touch the desired target you want to destroy. For missile-based weaponry, anticipating where the vehicles or armies are headed is the most efficient form of destruction. Firing your missiles exactly at your enemies is usually a losing game, unless they are already at a stationary spot right outside your base.
Employing the sweeper, although it doesn't inflict as much damage as your missiles, will give you a more accurate hit. Once you tap your machine guns and then touch your target, the bullets will automatically fly in their direction. Ordnances are also available on the right side of your screen, so calling for an air strike should help you get out of any kind of jam.
One of Modern Command's strongest features is the ability to take a close-up or bird's eye view of your environment. The developers thankfully spent time putting depth and texture in a genre that usually doesn't call for all that extra detail. Another interesting addition is the use of scientists to research weapons that will be used for further missions. You can purchase these weapons by accruing enough credits over completed stages, and achievement stars as well as additional scientists can be gained as you progress throughout the game.
Much of my Modern Command enjoyment was actually derived by pinching my screen to zoom in on the environment, or using that same function to check out the weapons I've earned on an up close and personal level. The actual in-game action, which shows jeeps flying off into different directions after various explosions, is also a slight cut above the average tower defense title.
Modern Command's major strike comes after you complete a healthy share of missions. In-app purchases become almost a necessity. A plethora of functions, whether it's researching a piece of artillery, switching up your weapon loadouts or even repairing your military base, will cost you a few stars. Leveling up will net you only one star, but you can earn more by agreeing to watch select ads that are littered throughout the game. However, most of your upgrades and weapon additions will cost you a handful of these bad boys, so purchasing star packs is an inevitability if you want the premium and less ad intrusive Modern Command experience.
The necessary cash grab for Modern Command is understandable, but I wish the advertising pop-ups and the need for in-app bundles would have hit me at a later stage in the game. It's an annoying flaw that saddles many a free to play experience, but since I really enjoyed what Modern Command had to offer, I'll definitely rejoin this military campaign, even if it costs me a couple of stars along the way.
This review was completed using a publisher provided code for Modern Command on iOS.