When feeling stressed, overwhelmed with work, burned out, what could be better to take your mind off than tank games? Well, you might have other ways, but still riding a tank into battle and blowing up virtual enemies is fun. These days we have a variety of games for any taste, gear and budget. We’d like to present our own top 10 tank simulator games. And many of them are free to download, by the way.
1/10: War Thunder
War Thunder is a multiplayer tank game for Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4, Xbox 1, Shield TV. Battles in the air, on land and sea, with World War II period emphasis, but also with machinery from the Spanish Civil War and the Cold War era. Players can fight on behalf of Germany, the Soviet Union, United Kingdom, Japan, France, Italy, USA, etc. Basically, there are 3 game modes: arcade, realistic and simulator. Some may intertwine, for example in “ground realistic” you can use tanks, planes and helicopters, or for sea battles the navy can be combined with the air force.
Minimum requirements (Windows): CPU 2.2 Ghz, 4 GB RAM, Intel HD 4000 / Nvidia GeForce GT 520 / AMD Radeon 46XX, 9 GB disk space, Internet.
Minimum requirements (Mac): 10.12 Sierra, Intel Core i7, 4 GB RAM, Intel HD 4000 / Nvidia GeForce 8800 / Radeon HD 5550, 9 GB disk space, Internet.
Going through tutorials first is important – as there are too many features and abilities. War Thunder offers 500 types of tanks, including 100 German types, 113 USSR, 89 US, 66 British tanks. In terms of differences between game modes, we can say that the first one, arcade, is the simplest mode for traditional team battles. In realistic mode you won’t see either enemies on map or names above tanks, as in real battle. And simulator mode is similar to realistic, but based on real historic battles, so only few nations participate.
Players can operate 4 types of vehicles: a tank, a plane, a helicopter or a ship. For one-on-one combats you can even switch between the first 3. War Thunder has outstanding damage mechanics as a crucial part of gameplay. This means players will experience trouble when riding on a snowy map, different impact effects, ricochet effects, etc. For instance, it is possible for a fleet to sink other ships.
Aircraft is different. Targets are not only other planes, but ground machines as well. And the most amazing part here could be VR support for planes and helicopters. Developers provide us with a first-person realistic view from inside the cockpit, with sensors, indicators; and most importantly aiming the weapon at targets.
One great extra feature in War Thunder is the ability to construct own custom battle machines. This is quite unusual for MMO tank games – players can either spend rewards to access more vehicles or nations, or to develop/improve tanks and ammo.
Bottom line: War Thunder might be the best WW2 tank multiplayer game due to several facts – three types of military forces, realistic mechanics and high-quality graphics. If you are looking for alternatives to boring tank simulators, this will be stunning!
2/10: Armored Warfare
Armored Warfare, introduced in 2017, is a free MMO game, with a setting in the future, unlike other competitor tank games of WWI or II era. This has an impact on types of tanks and gameplay, but more on that in a moment.
Minimum requirements (Windows): Core 2 Duo CPU 6700, 2 GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GT 9500, 34 GB disk space, Internet.
Game mechanics are straightforward: PvP (player versus player, e.g. 15v15) or PvE (player versus environment), with single, platoon and clan options. For first-timers it will be challenging to understand and learn everything, because there is no tutorial (only F1 tips). However, settings and customization options will surprise positively – graphics, controls, in-game interface, features.
The game offers 200 armored machines (65 premium) split by 5 types. All types have unique gameplay: a reconnaissance tank finds enemies on the map, a heavy-armour tank capable of long-distance shooting, a lighter tank for close confrontation, etc. Another cool feature is crew development, which is rare among tank simulators. Types of crew classes are related to specific vehicles and their capabilities, and players can earn extra perks further up in the game.
Tank balance system has a fine benefit – there are no overpowered classes. Another aspect is the currency system, where, in addition to usual currencies, there is also “reputation” – collected by simply playing and experience. Players may use it to unlock more tank types, for example. And though it seems too hard to farm gold, it’s not that big of an issue, as we can play the game nicely even without donations.
Now let’s turn to graphics. Armored Warfare is a high quality game of 45-60 FPS, that performs well on PCs and laptops with i5 8250 and GeForce MX150. If a computer runs on AMD, you will experience long loading times.
In combat situation check the map constantly to be aware of enemy movements. Also, it could be reasonable to hide and study the environment before going into battle, unless you have to bait enemies as a fast “lightning” tank. The mechanics are appropriate to the tank type, i.e. a heavy vehicle will have longer braking distance, complex controls, etc.
On the other hand, there are two serious issues about PvP gameplay. First, too many bots in low tank ranks, e.g. 3V3 and 12 bots in a team. And second, an unfair matchmaking, where one may play a 3-rd rank tank against a 5-th rank tank. Both issues seem to stem from one cause – low number of online players.
In regards to PvE gameplay, it might seem a bit boring at first, but as you explore, it could turn out more fascinating than PvP. How so? Unlike most tank simulators with ordinary gameplay leading to lost interest, here things are more dynamic, fast-paced and lively. This is due to the speedy modern tanks, complicated missions, multiple enemies, as well as proper balance teams/classes.
Bottom line: free to download and play, unconventional setting and tank types make a good fit for those who seek a tank game with a fresh twist.
3/10: World of Tanks
An arcade online game with mid-XX century tanks, by Wargaming (Belorussia), officially recognized in the Guinness Book of Records for “Most players online simultaneously on one MOG” with 190,541 users. Overtime, the total number of players hit over 180 million.
Minimum requirements (Windows / MacOS): Core 2 Duo E4400 (2.0GHz), 2 GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GT 8600 / Radeon HD 4550M, 40 GB disk space, Internet.
WoT provides over 500 historic tanks – Soviet T-34, KV-1, British Shermans, Panthers, Crusaders, American Stuarts and Pattons, German Tigers and Stugs, you name it. Add to that more than 50 locations, and surely we get one of the most versatile and huge tank games. After completing battles, gained experience is shared among the tank crew.
5 types of battles: random, training, command, fortified area battles, and clan battles. All tanks, equipment, ammunition, camouflage, can be purchased with in-game currency (silver) or donations (gold). There is also a Premium account, which increases the amount of experience for each battle and grants access to certain types of equipment. Game vendor is often giving out promotions, discounts, hosting tournaments, upgrading gameplay, etc., so it would be wise to follow their site or social media profiles.
In the classic game mode, the maximum number of tanks is 15 to 15. The main task is to destroy opponents or capture their base. In this mode players also can cooperate in a platoon of up to 3 people, with internal text and voice chat for coordination. According to Wargaming, the average duration of tank battle is 7 minutes. Game balancer evaluates the number of players in queue, tank type/level, tank statistics, to team a player up with other players. Each account provides personal statistics available for public view to anyone entering the game.
The higher level of tank you play, the starker losses may incur from a lost combat, i.e. equipment repairs, ammunition and kit restocks. 4 to 8 level tanks are reported to be the most profitable. Level 10 tanks are accessible via premium account, or enough silver collected on a lower level vehicle.
After you’ve lost a tank in a battle, you can either continue to watch a team play, or leave the battle. In the latter case, your tank will not be fit for reuse until the battle is over. Alternatively, you may choose another tank in a hangar and join the new combat. One nice extra option is the ability to watch a replay afterwards.
Bottom line: WoT is perfect for fans of arcade tank games with medium performance computer. lt is also available for xBox 360, xBox One, PS 4. Excellent communication tools such as general chat, voice chat, text command, personal messages.
4/10: Armored Battle Crew
For WWI enthusiasts and tank history fans, Armored Battle Crew offers a stunning tank crew simulator, going back to the times of trench war. This is probably the newest addition to the list of tank games, developed by Gattai Games in early 2019.
Minimum requirements (Windows): 2.3 GHz Intel Quad-core, 2 GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GT620m, 2 GB disk space.
In the game players become crew members of rarest tanks like British Mark V “Male”, “Female”, “Composite”, “Tadpole”, “Whippet”. And of course, the team is working to bring battlestation in nearest future. 4 game modes are Tutorial, Playground, Custom battle and Campaign.
The mission is to win battles as well as manage your crew. Available tank modifications include armor, firepower (guns, machine guns), engine, tracks, fuel tank, paint. Every crew member has specialization, marksman or sniper for example, level, traits, abilities, etc. Barrack menu is where one would add members, assign specialization, and so on. In Armor menu, obviously, we can add armor to a tank’s front, rear, top or sides, with information like armor weight, thickness, impact on tank mobility at display.
All tanks have 2 types of hit points: main hit point of a tank, and hit points of modules – machine gun, engine, fuel tank, main gun. When hit points of any of those is lower than 0, it breaks down, and crew members have repair a module. Tanks also have properties 9abilities) such as smoke launcher, supply drop, summon heavy rifle squad, mortar fire. For extra options, like radio and calls for support, players need to earn combat points by completing objectives, collecting intel, etc.
In battles your tank will face enemies including rifle men (can throw anti-tank grenades), anti-tank guns (can damage a tank), tanks and anti-tank mines. Mechanics is great, there’s even ricochet system, so don’t be surprised if your shell bounces off tank’s armor. Your tank and crew members will receive XP points, which you may later swap for new guns, armor, etc.
Bottom line: Armored Battle Crew is a fine tank simulator game for a reasonable price. It stands out for its WWI theme and unique mechanics, as well as team work. And although there are certain bugs here and there (unexpected tank jumps, improper crew member positions by the guns), the game offers historical perspective and in-tank battle experience.
5/10: World of Tanks Blitz
WOT Blitz is basically a simplified version of the main WOT game. It is the same free arcade game with WW2 tanks, but lesser hardware requirements and primarily designed for mobile devices. So why it deserves a spot in our list of best tank games? Because it’s a thrilling war tank shooter you can play wherever you go on a smartphone or tablet. The same rich variety of historically accurate tanks and locations for a MMO tournaments of smaller scale – 7v7, with both clan and regular battles.
Minimum requirements (Windows/Mac): CPU 2.0 GHz, 2 GB RAM, video card with 256 MB RAM, 3 GB disk space. Also available for Android and iOS devices.
To unlock new tanks from the Tech tree, players need credits (in-game currency), and gold is required to buy premium tanks. Obtaining gold essentially means real money donation, yet there’s an alternative way – completing tutorial missions. Additionally, there are daily missions, rewarding with “unlock keys” for their completion. With keys one can unlock boosters, experience, credits, gold.
To be more effective in battle, surely you’d want to get additional consumables, ammunition, equipment. For example, multi-purpose restoration pack (repairs 1 damaged module, heals crew members, extinguishes fire), 20% engine power boost, gun rammer, camouflage net, etc. If you want to play along with friends, there’s a clan system, so create a platoon and go into combat together.
Bottom line: A great tank shooter to play online, on your own or as a team with friends. WOT Blitz battles are dynamic, and hundreds of unique tanks are captivating.
6/10: Tanki X
A free tank shooter game with futuristic tanks, developed by AlternativaGames in 2016. In general, there is a choice of 14 cards, each of which reproduces a certain stage of Antey and Frontier corporations struggle. Simultaneously, cards can be the basis for live network gaming for players, divided into two teams, 7v7 maximum. The goal is to kill as many opponents as possible in 10 minutes, but also crucial to collect special boxes that are parachuted at designated points.
Minimum requirements (Windows / MacOS): Intel Core i3 series, 4 GB RAM, Intel HD graphics 4000 512 Mb, 2 GB disk space, Internet.
Upon completion, players can view statistics and rewards, own or from competitors. Mechanics leave mixed impression: on the one hand, everything is intuitive, and on the other, tank go too fast and return not gradually but skipping sharp, which is quite inconvenient. Also, for better maneuverability, players can control the turret with a mouse – for this, 2 lasers show the turret direction when hovered over the tank. It makes the game faster and easier to play than in other tank games.
Tanki X is less about realism and more about special effects sci-fi vibe. There are no classic tanks of real-life armies, and instead players are allowed to construct their own combat vehicles. For this purpose, there is a selection of 11 turrets (different in firing rate and damage), 7 hulls (light, medium, heavy, massive), 52 paints and 150 skins, 35 types of ammunition, and so on.
Bottom line: Tanki X went the other way, different to historic World Wars recreation type of tank games, not being afraid of comic-book-style design. Special “ranks” and “crystals” are required to purchase equipment, and players have to complete daily missions, collect gold boxes, or simply pay real money to obtain it. At their Wiki website one can find all materials and guides to learn every detail.
7/10: Tanks Online
It’s in the name – Tanks Online is a browser-based game, requiring no more than Flash player and user login. It works in PvP mode, where a player fights against another player online. An dditional goal is to earn as many points and crystals as possible. Crystals are a particularly important element, as a gaming currency allowing to step up personal skills. The more crystal you collect, the better tank you’ll be able to build. Selection is diverse enough: 14 turrets, 15 defense types, 88 colors, 9 kits and 20 other special features.
Minimum requirements (Windows / MacOS): CPU 1.6GHz, 1 GB RAM, graphics memory 128 Mb, 2 GB disk space, Internet.
Unlike in other tank games, here we do not have a choice of historic tanks. Players just have to improve a given machine with elements and modules of preference. Design and graphics are poorer than of competition, but the focus here is on online tournaments rather than spectacular visuals. In the game it is crucial to enhance the equipment and experience, get weaponry that inflicts more damage (or can withstand heavy hits).
In an effort to spice the game up (probably), developers had introduced 7 additional game modes: 1) every man for himself, 2) team battle, 3) capture the flag (a teams capturing the most flags in a given time, wins), 4) points, 5) storm (one team offense, another team defense), 6) rugby – score the most touchdowns, 7) juggernaut (a regular combat plus a Jaggernaut – an overhead tank). Standard mode won’t be boring either, due to the number of changing locations – 80.
Bottom line: With no special requirements for PC, quick registration, informative displays everywhere constantly, Tanks Online is a superb game if you want to just open a web browser and destroy some tanks. All maps, ranks, guides and any other useful details can be found at Tankiwiki.
8/10: Panzer Elite Action
Panzer Elite Action, which predecessor was originally released in 1999, transports us to the Second World War battlefields. Carefully recreated terrains and historical campaigns make it not only a shooter, but a tour back in time.
Minimum requirements (Windows): CPU 1.0GHz, 512 Mb RAM, ATI Radeon 8500 or Nvidia GeForce 3 Ti, 4 GB disk space.
Remarkable mechanics as for one of the firstcomers in tank simulation. Realistic balancing – slowdowns, smoke, fire, damage. Realism of shooting at buildings, infantry as well as at enemy tanks. Everything combined brings Panzer Elite to glory.
Not all tank games have the ability to shoot at infantry from a machine gun. Overall, in the classic version of PEA there are 18 missions within 3 campaigns – German, Soviet and American during WWII. In Dunes of War edition, 6 more missions were added. You may find Gold edition at Steam store, which brings both editions for a fair price.
The game offers a choice of German and American tanks: Tigers, Panthers, M4 Sherman modifications. Note, that the mission may end in defeat automatically if a player is considered the deserter – that is, if he’s not attack enemies for a certain time. Map can be quite useful to learn about the enemy location.
On the battlefield players will also see light tanks, personnel carriers, jeeps, guns, self-propelled artillery units, etc. However, there is neither a points system or in-game currency. The change of tanks and location might be random for the next mission. Also, it is worth mentioning that there are several modes of vision. For example, conventional driving view, car vision, binocular close-up.
Bottom line: Even falling prey to the clutches of time and other more advanced tank games, Panzer Elite is worth considering for any war game fanatic. This is like a piece of history in it of itself. The game also has the network version for up to 32 players playing as a clan against other clans.
Although not so popular recently as back in the day, Battle Tanks is still a decent online game. 10v10 is a typical format, yet 5v5 or 8v8 is possible too, as practice shows. It has typical currency system for most MMO games: silver, gold and experience. There are 44 tanks, divided into 2 categories – Allies and Axis. Allies are France, USSR, USA, Britain, and Axis are Germany and Japan… but you knew it already, right?
Minimum requirements (Windows): CPU 2.0GHz, 2GB RAM, video card with 512 MB RAM, 3 GB disk space, internet.
Balance is an issue, as “golden” level-8 tank is equal in power to the most expensive level-10 tank, for example. These types of situations cause imbalance. On the other hand, the good news is that you can select interface language and the crew will speak it too. To join clans, one has to reach 10th level/rank.
In regards to graphics, we should say there might be trouble. We ran Battle tanks on Acer Aspire 5 with Intel i58250U and Nvidia GeForce MX150, and still we had freezes. We tried to load in different quality settings (medium, high, ultra) and the issue did not go away.
Bottom line: As for gameplay, physics and realistic feel, it loses to other tank games, and that’s one of the reasons we rank this game 9th out of 10 here. There are no ricochets, no ability to hide and position means nothing, to be frank. If you are complaining about WoT or War Thunder, check Battle Tanks for perspective. Otherwise, could be good for simplistic gaming.
10/10: Tank Force
First introduced back in 1991, Tank Force is a free multiplayer online tank arcade with some shooting. Clan battles and random battles with anyone in (7v7), the game provides 40 tanks/vehicles and 5 maps. In random mode, from 4v4 to 7v7 battles are possible, the task is to annihilate opponents and capture enemy base. Every account stats are available to view to any other players.
Minimum requirements (Windows): CPU 2.0GHz, 2GB RAM, video card with 256 MB RAM, 3 GB disk space, internet.
Tanks come with various equipment: repair kit, fire extinguisher, 50%-speed-increasing fuel, heavy shells, napalm, armor plates, ammunition, camouflage, etc. All of that can be bought with in-game currency or donations. Last update was rolled out in April 2019, and yet there are bugs and cheaters (flying tanks), which is not pleasant.
Bottom line: Tank Force is a game with potential, though it seems to suffer from lazy developers. Gameplay is full of inconsistencies and cheaters, donation grants players unjust advantage over opponents.
P.S. With each following game down the road after these 10 the quality keeps dropping, so we won’t go there. If we’ve missed out any other decent tank simulator, let us know please.