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This is fantastic, Iron Marines from Ironhide Game Studio just released today and they decided to get the Linux version ready to go one day-1. Disclosure: Key provided by the developer.

For those not familiar with the developer, this is the studio behind hits like Kingdom Rush and the various sequels. Their games are usually very stylish and this is certainly no different. Iron Marines is a sci-fi real-time strategy game and it's actually quite a bit different to their usual stuff. Take a look:

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The premise is super basic sci-fi stuff, with a Human colony under attack the Iron Marines are sent in to help. That's really it, seriously. While I've not had a great deal of time with it, first impressions are great! It has lush visuals and design work done on it, as expected from Ironhide, and some great audio work too.

I've been playing on the highest difficulty available to begin with (you can unlock one further) and it's been working nicely. It performs well and remains smooth at all times. It feels like a smaller indie Starcraft, complete with Hero units that you unlock and get to level up. Additionally, you also earn money as you play to purchase some handy extra firepower like bouncers which detonate in a small area to help you deal with groups of enemies.

The ability to double-click a deployed squad and change their load-out is a pretty fun feature too, meaning if you've sent in a sniper squad and suddenly a load of really fast enemies charge at you, switching them to normal fast-firing marines will hopefully keep them alive.

Seems like it's worth a purchase, especially if you really enjoy RTS games like me and the gentle touches of humour were quite well done too from what I've seen. It's more of a casual RTS though I would say, not one for those who love showing off their clicks per second, one for those after a more laid-back experience. You can find Iron Marines on Steam.

Hopefully in a future article in the "Play It Now" series, our contributor Scaine will have a look in some more detail.

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sub 15 May 2019 at 10:14 pm UTC
OMG, I loved all the stuff from Ironhide so far.

How's the difficulty, Liam?


Bought it. Was a no brainer.
Got a 15 % discount coupon.
Apparently, as I already own other games.

Played just two levels.
But this seems to be again my cup of tea.

Last edited by sub at 16 May 2019 at 7:06 am UTC
scaine 15 May 2019 at 10:25 pm UTC
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Yep, I've only played 20 minutes tonight, but I love it. Early game is a real departure from the usual Tower Defence mechanic. It actually feels really, really reminiscent of Command and Conquer. Indeed, in the second mission, you only get your hero to control, no units, no towers, just you against the hordes. Great vibe!

I had to re-map wasd for map movement, which was surprising, but takes all of ten seconds. And I had an odd bug where my mouse would sporadically freeze, but only a few times - I'm running 16.04, which is beginning to show its age, so I might have to take the plunge and install something a bit more recent.

So far, much polish, lovely visuals, great audio as always and on normal difficulty, just the right amount of challenge.

I'll play more later, although real-life will keep from the PC for a few days and definitely look out for a PIN article after I've gotten my teeth into it. Ironhide rock, and I can already tell that this will be another victory.
fagnerln 15 May 2019 at 11:40 pm UTC
I love kingdom rush, but on smartphone feels like a P2W. How ironhide's game hold on PC?
14 16 May 2019 at 3:42 am UTC
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I have the original Kingdom Rush and think it's well done. But, honestly, tower defense just doesn't hold my attention too long. Something about this game looks more appealing than I anticipated. I agree that it looks like Starcraft cute mode. You saying that it's not as hardcore as a game like Starcraft interests me even more because I was never good enough to face humans. When I loved RTS games, it was Red Alert and Age of Empires II, games that would allow you to conquer the enemy with massive amounts of only a couple different types of troops. And you didn't have to micromanage several squads. I know. I'm lame and not a real strategist. (FWIW, I did complete the Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm campaigns.) This cutesy game looks up my alley in my mid-life age.

Last edited by 14 at 16 May 2019 at 3:42 am UTC
TheSHEEEP 16 May 2019 at 7:29 am UTC
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I really like their Kingdom Rush games, so this went to my wishlist immediately.
Para-Gliding 16 May 2019 at 7:39 am UTC
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fagnerlnI love kingdom rush, but on smartphone feels like a P2W. How ironhide's game hold on PC?
Nooo, really?
I finished all Kingdom Rush on android without paying. You need stars so sometimes play again a stage to get the star, but you can easily finish them without paying (and without special artefact that you can buy using the gems)
Plintslîcho 16 May 2019 at 12:30 pm UTC
The game looks sweet. I like the sci-fi setting.
Too bad it's not available on
scaine 16 May 2019 at 4:56 pm UTC
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fagnerlnI love kingdom rush, but on smartphone feels like a P2W. How ironhide's game hold on PC?
Nooo, really?
I finished all Kingdom Rush on android without paying. You need stars so sometimes play again a stage to get the star, but you can easily finish them without paying (and without special artefact that you can buy using the gems)

Yeah, but on Android, they spike the difficulty to encourage you to buy gems for things like bombs and freeze. It's a bit of a rip-off. On PC, the games are much better balanced and don't have any micro-transactions at all. Not even hero purchase - you unlock the heroes as you progress through the story.

Kingdom Rush 1 had beautiful balance (since heroes always start the mission at level 1), albeit a few spikes. Kingdom Rush 2 and 3 use the model of permanent XP for your heroes, so you might have to grind one or two earlier missions if your heroes level is too low to comfortably complete later missions, but nothing too arduous. Indeed, you'll probably only notice that grind if you constantly switch heroes. Stick with one and you can probably just fire through the whole campaign.

[Edit to add that although it's a short review and nearly a couple of years old now, here's my earlier article which covers the Kingdom Rush games.]

Last edited by scaine at 16 May 2019 at 6:37 pm UTC
sub 17 May 2019 at 7:51 am UTC
It seems like Steam Cloud Sync is broken.

On two Linux PCs the progress is not shared despite Steam Cloud Sync being enabled on both installations.
Can somebody please verify this?
stan 17 May 2019 at 4:59 pm UTC
Nice, I’ll buy it once it’s available DRM-free. Hopefully it’s not impossible to finish like the Kingdom Rush games are.
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