Iron Brigade is one of those games that has a unique charm to it that, even if it’s not super polished and the team that worked on it isn’t very large, it’s still got a very strong theme, and they hit their mark well.
But I’d also doubt that many people have ever even heard of this game, let alone played it. Basically, it boils down to a co-op tower defense game as well as a third person shooter. You defend your base against waves of monsters (called ‘Tubes’ because they are all cords and television themed), and as you call down turrets to defend points, you can also set up your own mech to fight them for yourself.
This game has a lot going for it. It has half a dozen different types of weapons, but there are also different chasis you can use for your mech that enable different amounts of guns as well as different turrets to place. You can fix two giant sniper rifles on your mech and sit at base blasting away from afar, or you can throw six shotguns in and get a quick mech that rushes into the frontlines, or you can have a tiny mech with few guns whose purpose is to call down a bunch of turrets to fight for you. There’s also lots of different paintjobs and costumes you can put on your mech/character, so in addition to having different chasis, all of your friends’ mechs will look very different from each other. It reminds me of Front Mission in that regard, because everyone’s characters look visually suited to their job.
My favorite thing about this game, though, is the loot system. It’s nothing special, really. You level up and earn money as you play, and reaching higher ranks unlocks more powerful guns and turrets. What it doesn’t tell you, though, is that as you’re playing, you can find weapons that aren’t sold in the store, and some of them are crazy strong and fun to use. With some tinkering and lots of luck, my brother had a loadout that could kill bosses in two seconds (literally) because he was lucky enough to find two super rare sniper rifles that did an insane amount of damage.
It isn’t without its faults though. Overall, I have two main issues with this game. The most glaring of which is the online aspect. Hosting games and letting your friends join only works some of the time, and a friend of mine can’t play this game online for reasons because he disconnects too much, and we have no idea why (he doesn’t have this issue with other games). It sucks because we often have to strike this game off the list of things we can play together for no real reason at all. (It is plausible that it isn’t the game’s fault, but I haven’t found any evidence to the contrary, so it seems the most likely.)
The second problem isn’t as bad, and that is the fact that it’s too easy. I don’t even know what happens when you fail a mission, because we’ve never come close. Even when it gets hard, we’re only at risk of losing points, not the game. In addition, when a friend starts playing for the first time, we have to start the campaign over again for their sake, and while I am totally fine with doing the same mission repeatedly, I’d love for there to be some way to challenge myself. I suppose you could simply be competitive and see who can get the most kills, but that’s not the way my group really plays things.
Overall, though, it’s a solid game. I would recommend it to anyone that likes tower defense games, especially since it’s played in third person, giving it that unique feel, since most games like it only involve placing turrets and upgrading them from a bird’s eye view the whole time.