Europeans finally got to play Double Fine's excellent mech-meets-tower defense game Iron Brigade late last year, after a long delay caused by the unfortunate trademark debacle surrounding the initial title -- Trenched -- resulted in the retitled and slightly expanded version.
The war between the Vladimir's Monovisions and Woodruff's Trenches is far from over, however, as the battle for the greatest moustache in the solar system rages on in Rise of the Martian Bear.
Iron Brigade: Rise of the Martian Bear (Xbox Live Arcade) Developer: Double Fine Productions Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios Released: February 1, 2012 MSRP: 400 Microsoft Points
Rise of the Martian Bear picks up right after the Iron Brigade's grand finale in the Pacific theater. Far from being defeated, the nefarious Vladimir Farnsworth has survived by becoming one with the Broadcast. Oh yeah, and he is now using a bear as an avatar by having retrofitted it with tubes, CRT monitors, and a matching beard and moustache.
Vlad has spread the Broadcast into space, so it's up to you to launch the USS McKinley -- your mobile base of operations -- into space to track him down. The downloadable content's five campaign missions form a chapter similar to the ones you played in the main game, and similar in length, taking you from Earth to the Moon and finally to Mars.
Like the missions found in Iron Brigade, the new missions are meant to be played cooperatively. You can play them solo if you want to, but there's a good chance you'll have a hard time doing so. I hadn't started up the original Trenched after completing it shortly after its American release, and never touched the Survival mode once it was renamed. Suffice it to say it took me a good amount of attempts to even pass the first new mission on my own, until I reached a high enough level to use some of the more advanced new loot.
Far from being impossible, the new missions do fall into the "Hard" category of missions that you may have experienced in the Pacific campaign. Some new enemies enter the fray in the form of the aerial Noids with their ranged attacks, the emplacement-hunting Amplifiers, and the miniature swarms of Cathys that try to suicide bomb you. Both the Noids and Cathys attack you in favor of whatever it is you are trying to defend -- as long as your Trench is operational -- but since you can't really die in most of these levels, they are more of a distraction than a real threat.
One level also adds a new decoy mechanic, allowing you to turn on two remote tower constructs that attract all Tubes to attack them until they are destroyed by the Monovision threat. While it's an interesting mechanic to throw into the mix, giving you some breathing room in a wave if you've lost some of your emplacements, one of these towers is too far away from the general action to be practical unless you've failed the mission enough times to plan it into your wave strategy.
As DLC goes, Rise of the Martian Bear isn't the most innovative piece of downloadable content out there. It does the job by adding new levels and a boss encounter, but nothing about it really screams "fresh." If you were annoyed by the shield-projecting Jacobs in the vanilla game, they are still the primary source of frustration in the DLC missions.
I really wish Double Fine had added a way to prioritize targets for your towers, even if it took a special support emplacement to allow one person to do this at the cost of Scrap. A few levels, and the Survival levels in particular, can lead to a bit too many trial-and-error retries when you are trying to prevent your base from receiving any damage from Tubes protected by Jacobs. Even with a team of three, it's all too easy to be a little too late in responding to multiple shielded threats, especially when you have to run up close to deal with the Jacobs as they are obscured from long range manual fire.
Having said that, Iron Brigade is still an exceptionally fun game to play with a couple of friends, and the new missions give you a good couple of hours worth of extra content before you acquire gold stars on all of the new levels. In addition, the two extra Survival levels in Rise of the Martian Bear make it very easy to just play a game here and there and unlock some loot in the process. Speaking of which, the new loot provided by the expansion is all pretty good, exotic, and varied enough to encourage going back to the original missions and try out some new tactics with your new weapons, emplacements, and chassis parts.
Your enjoyment is going to largely depend on willing co-op partners, as failure in a mission forces you to sit through unskippable in-game cutscenes and one of them has a terrible and inescapable bear pun. Try to finish this mission by yourself while you're underpowered, and it will drive you insane. You'll also likely opt to rely on sniper emplacement for most types of enemies if you're playing solo, as the Noids, Volt Droppers, and other aerial enemies that litter the new maps don't seem to suffer that much damage from even your upgraded anti-air turrets.
Then again, what boredom and frustration you might encounter by attempting to walk the lonely path is easily remedied by playing with others and by coming up with creative and complementary Trench builds. Rise of the Martian Bear simply adds more of the same with some minor additions, but when that means more Iron Brigade goodness at a bargain price, it's hard to argue against it.
Iron Brigade: Rise of the Martian Bear - Reviewed by Maurice Tan
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.
This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.
Barry Kelly There's now a £4/$5 Raspberry Pi. So cheap it's a cover extra on the latest Mag Pi. Based on the original chipset, it's single core but clocked at 1Ghz so it's quite a bit faster and oh so tiny. I can't wait to see what folks build with it.Atleastimhousebroken After a lifetime of not spending a single cent on FTP games, I finally broke and dropped €1 in the Nintendo Badge Arcade. I just had to have all the Luigi badges asap. I feel dirty. Plus side, my 3ds will be covered in Luigi.Jiraya The postman just brought me gifts i bought for myself ...
James Internet Ego Umm.. no Microsoft. Where is the 'go away' button? [img]https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/6lgIZJpQpqMj6o9orzjo[/img]StriderHoang I tried driving as Uber last night to start supplementing my income and everyone so far has been super chill. Also, I started practicing in my sleepy small home city so the training wheels were still on. No big city bar hoppers just yet.RadicalYoseph Just got my Gwent physical edition. I don't understand special abilities - for example, Arachas have an icon with two knights beneath the close combat icon. Avallac'h has an eye in that same spot. Help? (I'm no longer a squid btw)KyWii Happy Thanksgiving all! Load up on carbs and then get back to playing Fallout 4. Archelon New extended television spot for The Force Awakens! [youtube]https://youtu.be/SerhRe97wpA[/youtube]TheKodu I dunno if I just had a freak incident but I think Ubisoft may have just changed the Renown gain in Rainbow Six Siege to be less shit as in overnight they've patched it. If true, kinda good on them.Atleastimhousebroken Does it mess with anyone else's head that when beating a SMBW level in Mario Maker the music doesn't do that little 'booowoo oop' at the end.
[youtube]https://youtu.be/A14ILOf05l0[/youtube]ScreamAid I've developed a new hobby to indulge in while on Skype with friends: creating stupid Sonic OCs. I have so much fun making them for some weird reason, and once I have enough of them I might as well post a c-blog of them, am I right? Look out in the futureEl Dango [img]http://i.imgur.com/u7i689u.gif[/img]SeymourDuncan17 Boy howdy, does Divinity: Original Sin take a while to get going. But, it was worth it in the end. Probably the most hardcore RPG I've played. Stellar writing, at that! Combat's pretty amazing too. [img]http://i.imgur.com/OE23ocR.jpg[/img]FlanxLycanth So it seems I've locked into the Neutral ending for SMT IV and now I need to find specific challenge quests and complete them...?
How (un)fun! Google is your friend - the videogame.Riobux Interested in playing some Pathfinder? Trying to arrange a Dtoid Pathfinder group for Saturday nights (GMT) on Skype & Roll 20. If you're new to pen-and-paper RPGs, I don't mind at all and can bring you up to speed quick. Just comment if interested.Fuzunga Local convention had a great selection of game soundtracks 5 for $20! I got Halo 3: ODST (2 disk!), Gears of War 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Darksiders 2 (2 disk!), and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. Some of the best soundtracks of the last 7 years!Niero Desu Photos and videos are back on quickposts but clipping on some devices. We're going to add a new quickpost editing interface so photos and videos can only be displayed one way (a la twitter) to solve this. Also, a My cBlog link was added to your user menuFlegma Machine-washed my Wii Fit meter yesterday by accident. Took the battery out and let it dry for the night. Luckily the meter still worked - but it had counted a fair number of steps more that day.Agent9 Finally killed Ludwig, now if I could only get passed the 2 hunters on the second floor. that 2 some is rather annoying,and her holy blade kills in only a few hits. wish mine was that strong. Casus Gaming After reading a blog post about DMC4 I decided to watch all the cutscenes on Youtube. Tried the games years ago and couldn't get into them, but man that shit was stylish. Likeable protagonists, intense drama... still think DmC reboot wasn't that bad tho.