Iron Force's modus operandi is best summed up by its main menu image. Two undeterred tanks know blood will be shed and metal will burn, but they do not quiver. A head-on battle is inevitable, and there are moments one just can't duck and run. Players yearning for a no frills return to online gaming, wherein steak and potatoes isn't a scoffed at menu item, should gravitate to this straightforward, hit 'em right where it hurts shooter.

With a machismo laden title that echoes the sentiments of such male driven action flicks as The Dirty Dozen, The Expendables, or The Big Red One, Iron Force is for iOS lovers yearning for a stripped down, uncomplicated mission. Stealth means nothing in this title, unless you want to simply cower in a corner while all the other fighters beat one another to a bloody pulp.

The objective is simple -- blow up as many tanks as possible within a several minute match, pick up some cash and power ups you find along the way, and try not to die every several seconds. The extra cash will go to the continuing upgrades for your vehicle, as each slight alteration and improvement costs a pretty penny. Although you can randomly join online missions to compete, your fuel tank will eventually run low. Since the gas gradually refuels, in-game app purchases, though available, are not entirely necessary. My online piece of advice is to watch your back in Iron Force, and if you see someone named Black Mamba headed your way, please shoot to kill.

Iron Force is free to play, and if you're addicted to blowing up tanks and collecting money, you may spend a bit of your own cash to speed up all the action. The easiest hit on your wallet will be on the upgrades, as certain improvements to your machine, though they are purchased by the money you find during your skirmishes, will take a bit of time to complete. It took fifteen minutes for my upgraded engine to take effect, and I sure wasn't going to spend a blue diamond to immediately get the job done. For two bucks, you can purchase 20 diamonds which actually isn't a bad bargain. If you're a miser like me, you'll just go play another game for a spell and return to the scene of the crime.

The freemium model behind Iron Force is far from annoying, especially since this game, from what I've encountered, has no lag time. Hopping into a battle is a completely seamless experience, and once you're in the thick of things you'll have to figure out how to play your hand. Do you concentrate on using the next several minutes finding money and stars, which in turn will help increase your overall experience points? Or does beating your opponents to a fiery and bloody pulp become your primary objective? Unless you have the best upgrades in town, your tank won't be able to frequently kill and find a treasure trove of goodies at the same time.

Although I welcome any fights on my iPad device, I decided to leave the fray during one battle and go digging into some of the more remote areas. A shiny blue diamond popped up before my eyes, and suddenly war mongering wasn't on my mind.

What you see is what you get with Iron Force. Even the controls, which has a virtual joystick for movement and a big red button on the right to fire, are simple and self explanatory. This is a title that doesn't dance around and impress you with cute characters or nifty game play. Enter the battle, find your enemy, and put him out of his misery. These are the rules of engagement, and taking meat off the bone, especially if war is your only answer, isn't such a bad way to eat.


App Store Link: Iron Force for iPhone & iPad | By Chillingo | Price: Free | Version: 1.0.2 | 47.9 MB | Rating: 17+

7.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating