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Hills of Steel Beginner’s Guide: Tips, Tricks & Strategies to Crush Your Enemies

Just you, your tank, and an endless field of enemies. This is the world of Hills of Steel.

Hills of Steel is a cross between older, physics-based driving games like Hill Climb Racing combined with fast-paced tank battles that can be over in a matter of seconds. It’s a simple game that manages to still be great fun, and without a high learning curve nor entry point. Hills of Steel is available on both iOS and Android platforms.

hills of steel guide

However, you’ll still want to be at your very best when you first boot up the game. After all, first impressions are very important. To that end, here’s our crash course for new commanders in Hills of Steel.

Basic Gameplay

Hills of Steel has simple, yet addictive gameplay. Players of old physics-based driving games such as Hill Climb Racing are sure to find more than a few similarities.

hills of steel game
Vroom vroom.

Players control a single tank, with buttons on the left side of the screen for moving forward or in reverse. A fire button on the right side of the screen lets you fire your tank’s main weapon. Note that attacking does have a cooldown, so aim well. If you have any boosters available for your current tank, they’ll also appear on the right side of the screen.

In addition, try as I might, I couldn’t manage to flip my tanks upside-down. I’m not sure if this is a thing, so if anyone manages to accomplish this feat, let me know!

Game Modes

hills of steel modes
Solo and multiplayer modes.

Hills of Steel has numerous game modes for both solo players and those looking to pick fights with other tank commanders. Note that to access more modes, you need to complete your quests.


Before we talk about solo game modes, it’s important to talk about revival and continuing. As a general rule of thumb, you can repair your tank once in any solo game mode. When you’re destroyed, you can watch an ad to repair 50% of your tank’s hull, or pay a small amount of gems to be fully healed. Either way, you only get one extra life – the next time you’re downed, it’s game over.

If you don’t feel like getting up, you can also just wait for the 10 second timer to count down after you’ve been defeated.

Adventure Mode

Adventure Mode is the first mode you’ll play in Hills of Steel. In this solo game mode, you simply proceed from left to right, destroying enemies and taking down a level boss as you travel across the games’ world. This mode lets you earn coins from enemies you destroy as well as chests, once you accumulate enough progress.

Survival Mode

hills of steel survival mode
How far can you go?

Survival Mode is similar to Adventure Mode – you simply go from left to right, destroying enemies that get in your way (and picking up coins) and you fight a boss at the end of the level. That said, Survival Mode doesn’t end there – it continues until you’re defeated. To help you in this endless struggle, defeated bosses drop a repair crate that heals you for a small amount of health. All boosters you used in the previous round will also be returned to you.

However, you should still be patient in Survival Mode. This is a test of endurance, after all, not speed. Use terrain to your advantage and snipe enemies trying to hit you from over hills, and use your boosters frequently.

You can unlock more difficult Survival Mode stages by paying a lump sum of coins. While these payments will no doubt set you back a bit, these harder stages will also drop more coins, so it evens out in the end.

Boss Rush

hills of steel brush
Test your might.

Boss Rush mode pits you and your tank against an endless wave of powerful bosses. As you might expect, this is a particularly difficult task, especially since healing is almost non-existent in this mode. However, boss rush gives a large sum of coins for each boss you defeat, so it’s definitely worth checking out.


hills of steel 1v1
Belligerence wins out in the end.

1v1 is a PVP mode where you’re pitted against another random player. Once battle begins, you’ll have roughly a minute to cause as much damage as you can to each other. At the top of the screen are your respective health bars, which will be used to determine the winner in case of a time out.

Participating in PVP not only nets you rewards like coins, but also provides a small amount of Gems, which you can use to accelerate your tank development. If you can start and maintain a win streak, you’ll also gain large amounts of coins, so do try and win every fight you start.

Defeating enemies in 1v1 increases your rank, which determines which players you are matched with when looking for 1v1 matches.


hills of steel 2v2
Some of you may not survive, but that is a sacrifice I am willing to make.

2v2 mode is virtually identical to 1v1, except that there are 4 combatants at once. Players will be matched up with a random ally and pit against another team of 2 players. The last team standing wins.

The most important think to note here is that you and your ally can’t collide with each other. That means you have your full range of motion off the bat, and you can fire without fear of hitting your teammate.


hills of steel commander
Why yes, tank blob is my main strategy.

Commander Mode is very different from the base gameplay. In this mode, you and one opponent are given a base at opposite sides of the map. You’ll then spend your passive income buying tanks that will travel to your enemy’s base and attempt to destroy it. You can also spend your coins to buy powerful, one-off moves like a carpet bombing run to clear the field.

Commander Mode uses the levels of the tanks you currently own. That means that you still need to upgrade and develop your tanks at the garage to get the best results out of Commander Mode. That said, Commander Mode offers the same prizes as other PVP modes – increased ranks and a win streak bonus for more coins.

The Garage

The Garage is where you can unlock new tanks and upgrade the ones you already own. Both are vital to success in Hills of Steel, so be sure to drop by often.

Upgrading Tanks

Each tank has 3 stats that can be upgraded.

hills of steel stats
Convenient, but I still want number readouts.

The green shield indicates your tank’s durability. The higher this number is, the more health your tank has. This translates to the ability to take more hits and last longer.

The red crosshair is your tank’s damage. More damage means faster stage clearing, so you’ll definitely want this.

The yellow arrows are your tank’s speed. The higher this is, the faster your tank moves and accelerates. While this may seem more of a quality of life feature, it’s actually pretty important.

hills of steel not enough cards

Pulling these numbers up is a simple process – you just need to level your tank up. The problem here is that leveling up not only uses gold coins but also cards for that tank, which you get from chests. You’ll have to hope for the best. You can also get tank cards from quests, so don’t slack off and be sure to complete all your daily quests.

hills of steel timed offers
Common tank cards are better than no tank cards.

Another way to get more tank cards is by buying them at the shop. While you can always pay with Gems, there are occasionally cards that cost coins for sale. Snap these up whenever you can!

Unlocking Tanks

hills of steel mammoth
Getting some major Red Alert 1 vibes from this tank.

In same vein as upgrading tanks, you need to collect cards to unlock new tanks. Think of it as a way to upgrade a level 0 imaginary tank into a level 1 corporeal one. Tanks also have rarities, ranging from blue commons to gold epics. And it follows that these rarities also directly influence card drop rate. Good luck pulling gold tank cards from your daily chests. You can also opt to shell out Gems to buy a tank directly.

Note that the starter Cobra tank is quite decent, with no glaring weaknesses and a forward-facing turret. As you complete quests, you’ll also gain the Joker – a fast but weaker tank – and the Ballista – a slow but powerful tank that launches projectiles out of its back.

You can also opt to buy chests with Gems – the more Gems you pay, the better the contents. In addition, you can get doubled chest rewards if you buy a monthly subscription to the game.


hills of steel booster
Force shield ready.

Boosters provide unique, powerful bonuses to each tank. These powerful active abilities come into play when use the tank they’re attached to, and provide unique skills like putting up shields that mitigate damage to firing special ordnance that does even more damage.

Boosters can also be upgraded, and just like upgrading tanks, you’ll need enough booster cards, as well as coins, to increase a booster’s level. Alternately, you can watch an ad instead of paying coins, but you’ll still need enough cards to level a booster up.

Boosters are tank-exclusive. You can’t just take your Cobra’s Force Shield and slap it on a Joker, for example. Furthermore, each tank can only have one booster equipped to it at a time.

Raiding Bases

hills of steel world map
Hello there.

Hills of Steel also has a light city builder component, for lack of a better world. It’s like other games I’ve covered before, like Evony: The King’s Return or West Game, but isn’t as complex nor demanding.

To access this game mode, tap the globe icon on the main menu.

Attack and Defense

Once you tap the globe icon, you’ll be brought to a map where you can see both yourself and other players. On this menu, you can give the order to either scout or attack another player’s base.

hills of steel attack
Tempting fruit!

Scouting costs gems, but will reveal your target’s defense power, as well as your odds of victory. Once you’re ready, you can commit to an attack, which will leave your base defenseless (sans its intrinsic defense power) for an amount of time in an attempt to attack your target. Victory will reward you with some resources, like cards, coins, and most importantly, steel.

Beware – other players can also attack you during this time, and a base whose army is deployed is very vulnerable to attack. Normally, the power of your army is added to your base’s defense power if they’re at home, but there’s no such bonus when your tanks are away. Be on the lookout for particularly vulnerable targets, if you’re feeling cheeky.


hills of steel base quests
Washing the steel out of the uniforms is a thankless and tankless job.

Steel is an important resource in base mode, as it allows you to upgrade your base – which in turn raises your defense power. While you gain steel from winning battles, you can also perform quests to get some steel. Said quests consist of just waiting down a timer and claiming the steel afterwards.

Join a Clan

hills of steel clan
Together strong.

Finally, you can join a clan to both give and receive benefits.

Clans are coalitions of players that band together to achieve the highest score in in-game events. Clans are also where your PVP rating comes into play, with a clan’s rating determined by how many PVP points each member has. Finally, clans have a shared benefit – if any member purchases Gems with real money, all members receive a little something as a way of saying “thank you”.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Hills of Steel is a very simple game, but it takes time and effort to master. From learning what the optimum firing angles are for each tank, to maximizing the terrain, there’s a lot going on behind the scens of Hills of Steel that can only be learned through practice.

hills of steel end
Keep calm and carry on.

With that, our Hills of Steel beginner’s guide comes to an end. If you have any comments, suggestions, or anything you’d like to add, let us know in the comment area!