I don’t usually like to pay over a few quid for a game, so forking out £4.29 for Iron Marines, by Ironhide Game Studio was a gamble.
Your story begins on the planet Sagan-1 and you are quickly introduced to the Fell, a monstrous race of mutant aliens that are doing everything they can to destroy you. Like most other strategy war games, you have your standard infantry units that require the resource Etherium to create. These units are quite diverse, ranging from humanoid snipers, infantry and engineers to alien psychics, Jedi and healer types. Beyond this, you upgrade your base with turrets, shields and radars to help deal with incoming attacks. You can also create larger heavy units that have more firepower and health. Finally, you have your hero, a special unit with a unique set of skills which can be upgraded as you progress. You start with Taggins, your typical hard-as-nails marine, but you can check change if you want. I won’t go to much into each units tactical use here, as discovering this for myself was part of the fun of Iron Marines.
Graphically this game is absolutely superb. The alien landscapes are thoroughly immersive and the small details like unit movement and attacks as well as enemy animations are pitch perfect. I also really enjoyed the sound effects and atmospheric music of the planets. The voice acting did however leave a little to be desired.
Now to the meat of the review. The gameplay. The controls are quite simple. You select a squad of units by tapping them and then dragging your finger to where you want them to go. Positioning is everything in this game. There was a boss fight against the Fell Bishop which was proving very challenging until I tweaked positioning and unit composition and he went down fast. It is very easy to find yourself in overwhelming situations if you run in all guns blazing. Not a good idea, particularly on the harder difficulties.
The Devs have thought about some quirky little things that really make the game more enjoyable to play and remove some of the frustration that I have experienced with other games of a similar genre. For example, you can airdrop your hero pretty much anywhere you like that isn’t covered by the fog of war. This is a really useful tool to get him, her or it out of some sticky situations. Similarly, you can change unit types to suit whatever situation you find yourself in without having to go back to your main base and re-produce a new squad.
The levels themselves and objectives are good. They are not excellent in that they can be quite repetitive. It is generally secure this, find that. This is OK because there are enough boss fights, which are actually very well choreographed and fun, to break up the levels.
As you progress, you allocate currency to level up a plethora of different unit, hero and base attributes and talents. You can increase armour penetration of your snipers, respawn rate or Etherium return when one of your structures is destroyed. This makes the gameplay individual to the player, which is awesome. You will play this game differently to other people and finding what works for you is part of the fun.
There are some minor negatives which I will cover. Firstly, currently there are only 2 planets available for play. This makes the game quite short, but there are three difficulty settings to make up for it and it does say there is another stage being released soon. Secondly, there are quite a lot of hero’s that you need to spend currency on to unlock. This is annoying considering I already payed a fair bit for the game.
Overall, this is a true strategy game for mobile. The gameplay is challenging, requires thought and the graphics and sound effects are really very good. The positives here far, far outweighs the negatives and I would encourage you to get this game now if you are a fan of the strategy genre. I have no hesitation in giving this game a solid 9/10.