Grab your friends to take on the Monovision menace!
Double Fine Productions has created a stellar mix of tower defense, mech warfare, and loot collection with Iron Brigade. From the minute you set foot inside your own Mobile Trench to your final moments of blasting away at the Monovision swarms with all of your upgraded weaponry you will feel the insatiable urge to see just one more evil television explode into a pile of scrap.
Iron Brigade is at it's core a tower defense game, you place defensive structures such as turrets, mine droppers, and mortars to prevent your enemies from destroying your base but the similarities stop there. Your most powerful tool on the battlefield is your Mobile Trench, a mech like walker equipped with all sorts of deadly tools. You'll start the game off with a medium weight or standard Trench equipped only with light machine guns, but it won't be long before you'll be stomping around in a Trench of your own creation. Trenches have three basic types: Standard, engineer, and assault all with varying balances of weapon amounts and equipment drop capabilities. Standard Trenches are fairly even between weapon amount and equipment amount while Engineer Trenches lean more towards equipment and Assault Trenches more towards weaponry. In addition to the three chassis there are three basic leg types: Bipedal, Tripod, and Quadrupedal each with their own advantages. The weapon options are vast and plentiful, one match you could be sniping from afar with various rifles and the next you could be sprinting up to your enemies with shotguns and grenade launchers blazing, there is almost no limit to the number of combinations one could come up with. Lastly you have your equipment drops. These are fired from your flagship the U.S.S. McKinley when ordered by you or your allies. Equipment can range from Sniper and machine gun turrets to repair towers and mine layers. Equipment is only available however if you have enough scrap to purchase it, scrap is dropped from enemies once they are destroyed.
Your enemies are the Monovision Menace, evil sentient televisions led by professor Vladimir Farnsworth who is hell bent on spreading the broadcast across the planet. Enemies come in a wide variety of forms from Blitzers that charge your Trench and explode to Ariels that bombard your position from the sky. In the later levels you will encounter dense swarms of the smaller enemies as well as massive monstrosities that will attempt to pound or bombard you into the dirt.
While Iron Brigade is fun alone it is far more enjoyable when you bring some friends along. A group of friends will have much more exciting experience than a single player, loot is distributed evenly amongst pilots so there is no worry of one player not pulling his or her own weight then scavenging all the good loot drops. When you throw one or more friends into the mix the enemies become more prevalent and more difficult, however loot drops containing rarer and more powerful weapons appear more often. Be warned though, careful cooperation is needed between players as well as varied Trench types and set-ups; a group of Assault Trenches with almost no defensive equipment capabilities will have a very difficult time in the later levels.
Though it is to be expected from an XBLA game, Iron Brigade is a little on the short side. A single player playthrough can take between 7 to 8 hours while a co-op run will clock in around 6 hours with a dedicated team. This is remedied to some extent by the sheer amount of loot available to collect which cannot all be found in one playthrough.
Iron Brigade is now the undisputed king of console tower defense games, it's mix of offensive and defensive gameplay is highly addicting and will keep a group of dedicated pilots busy for hours at a time.