Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Iron Brigade: Rise of the Martian Bear

Review: Iron Brigade: Rise of the Martian Bear

5:00 PM on 02.08.2012 // Maurice Tan

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.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Maurice Tan,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

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.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Iron Brigade: Rise of the Martian Bear

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

So that just happened: The Talos Principle

Sick, Sad and just dumb news: 25th October - Leighapalooza

Context Matters! Fanservice's Secrets EXPOSED!

To editorialize or not to editorialize: An editorial

Tiny Dangerous Dungeons REVIEW - The Pocket Metroidvania

Cblogs of 11/24/15 + Big Ass Fort

Primal Carnage: Extinction Review (PS4)

Belated Spoiler-Free SOMA Review

Friday Night Fights: The Blackest Of Fridays

Super Destructoid Community Interviews Hyper Encore ##Reload

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Riobux avatarRiobux
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 avatarFuzunga
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 avatarNiero 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 menu
Flegma avatarFlegma
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 avatarAgent9
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 avatarCasus 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.
lewness avatarlewness
me on 1st ff14 raid (void ark): ooh so many people and lights, so many lights, lights, fuck I can't see, what is happening, i don't understand, is it tuesday already, get on the platform fuuuuck, wow void helm
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Just a reminder that you have until the 30th to get your Bloggers Wanted post, "Thankful it's over" in. I'm either going to tell you how I ruined my best online gaming experience or rip Twilight Princess a new one. Maybe both.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Huh. I just found out the developers of Hatred (remember that controversy?) region-locked their game to prevent it from being accessed by Australians. Destructive Creations are more censor-happy than Nintendo, it seems. Where's the outrage?
Oh yeah, I have an account on this site.
Parismio avatarParismio
Ever wanted to get that item behind that safe in the beginning of Fallout 4?:
Shinta avatarShinta
Got Resident Evil 4 Wii for $5. Uh ... this might be my favorite version. I'm just getting headshots nonstop. Did I miss any other Wii games that are frequently overlooked? Like, really obscure Wii games that no one talks about? I'm interested.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Poeple due not aprecciate teh hrdships of bein a squid.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Guys, check out your blogs! Just be sure to bring tissues. I wish I had. [img][/img]
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Anyone see the new Captain America trailer? It's pretty dope!
Shinta avatarShinta You're welcome.
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Update: played through Hyper Dimension Neptunia Rebirth, reminded why I don't like the series, and requested a refund on it and its sequel. Not sure if they'll refund the sequel, but if they honor at least the first, I'll use that money to get Undertale.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
I hope the new Star Wars movie answers the biggest question I have about the franchise; do Midi-Chlorians poop?
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Wow, I feel really stupid. You had to give the Zora King the bottle with the letter in it. Like actually equip the... Wow. Oh, modern gaming conveniences, how I take you for granted.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Srry abot tye lak of coments latly. As a squid now it haas bcom hrrd 2 tipe. Im a sqiid now.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -