The Life of an Airborne Pirate. Iron Grip: Marauders Review

Iron Grip: Marauders Logo
Ever dreamt of being a Pirate? Myself, no. I found the concept somewhat frightening. You were either one of the “disposable” crew members who was thrown at the defending crew, getting hanged if you ever got caught. Or, you could be the captain, in which case, good luck not angering your crew, and getting a fate much worse than your fellow crew members. But, what about being a “Steampunk” Pirate? Iron Grip: Marauders answers that question.

Now, let us be fair. Here, you are more of a Mercenary who in his free time Smuggles or acts a Viking, attacking caravans, towns or enemy bases. You are a “Captain” of your very own Airship, and in essence you role is expanding your power and army, all the while looking dashing. Here it has to be noted, the game is an FTP (Free to Play) MMOS, but I review it because it blends in “Off Battle” planning and strategy with “In battle” tactics and “Live” decision making. I use this game via Steam, and I must say, it is a very quick and easy way of enjoying this title, since most of your army planning, building and quest taking happens on one screen, when you wish to access a Forum a separate window will pop-up, and while you are doing a mission yet another window will show up. Which means that while you are battling off against your opponents you can chat away with people, prepare your next force for a different mission or ponder on purchases on the “Black Market”.

Iron Grip: Marauders - Jasmine

Here you can take a look at the basic Menu... as well as Jasmine. The NPC responsible for giving you your "Raid" and "Smuggling" Missions. You will visit her very often... No, not in that way.

Let’s talk about the battles. Battles are turn based, with your units having Action Points to either Move or use their given abilities (Such as Attacking or Healing nearby units). Once you feel your turn is complete you press the appropriate button and then the AI gets to do whatever it decides is suitable. With the handy tutorial the battle mechanics are not a mystery, and after a few “Raids” or quests you learn the ropes pretty quickly. Maps are generic, with terrain only really acting to either block your view, or not. The nice 3D design of the units and the maps is really eye catching and I feel because of this there have been references of Starcraft 2 being thrown there and back from time to time, also because the infamous “Zerg Rush” tactic has also been brought up on a few occasions though consisting of different units. A worthy addition to all this is that if you lose connection, or are forced to leave your game you can rejoin it safely later on and continue your battle, creating the perfect stress free environment which a lot of games lack today.

There is a really wide choice of units. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages. As you level up you will have new technologies and thus units at your disposal. With time older units will have newer, improved versions, but, to the dismay of some, your old units will not level up and you will be either forced to sell them or sacrifice them in some way. To give you a general idea, you could say there are Infantry units, Vehicles, Armour and Support Units (including both “healing” vehicles as well as Artillery). Infantry, Vehicles and Tanks all have some form of unit prepared to let’s say, counter Armour. Infantry have Bazookas, Armour have the Tank Destroyer and Vehicles… well, they suffer from a lack of a specialized Anti-Tank version as far as I know. Aside from the units you can research and build at will there are also “Licensed” units. These bad-boys are not researched but can only be obtained, be it via the Black Market using Gems (currency which can be obtained with real life money, or saved through levelling and achievements or completing some quests), Special Quests or Crates. Licensed units work on the simple principle that, if you bought a License for one you can build the one… Or to illustrate, you bought an “Elite Destroyer” on the Black Market? You have the one Elite Destroyer, which, if you lose you can rebuild. Want more Elite Destroyers? Buy another license, find it, etc. Then there are the Hero units which you gain over quests. They are clearly more powerful or useful than ordinary units, and as they level through battles or training their parameters improve as well, also allowing you to deploy bigger armies.

Iron Grip: Marauders

Though it may look like it, this is not the 1st World War. Only a peculiar choice of troops... and one Wheel of Death.

Battles have a small downside, the AI. The AI feels very “token”. Although on higher levels it will prove a challenge with some of its more surprising decisions, on the basic level it is easily fooled into entering ambushes, or targeting the closest unit, instead of those more effective to fire upon. This is especially noticed on Quests, which are easy, if you notice how scripted they are. Most of the time you will be facing small groups of enemies which can be lured into the firing line you prepared some way back. Some of the boss fights will be laughable, unless you needlessly threw away most of your company. At the same time, Raids and Boss fights will be bothersome, as the AI often appears to be ignoring the fog of war from time to time, firing shots way before you can see them yourself, and you are certain they do not have such a viewing range. This is easily countered though, but if you hoped for fighting against some sort of “Super Computer” you will be deeply disappointed.

Iron Grip: Marauders

Whatever task you take, expect some "Security". In this case, my own heavily Armoured group met with an equally armoured opponent!

There is as of yet no PvP. There have been rumours though that this feature will be added. Even without it you can have a swell time at your office or at home. The game is really undemanding both in terms of skill and hardware. All the files needed to play will be downloaded live before each battle starts. The useful tutorial will explain all the features of the game, including the use of research, building and training your troops. Even if there is something you do not understand clearly or have a question there are always plenty of players about to answer your questions in the Chat Rooms and on the forums. Numerous additional guides written by players for players will further support your first steps if you need them. Best of all, the game does not penalise you if you do not wish to spend your real cash for in game currency. You can obtain a decent amount of gems through quests, levelling and achievements, which help you obtain much needed Licensed units, as well as “Pimp out” your Avatar. But if you decide that is not enough, there is always the option of buying more! Is it worth buying them? As in the case of all premium currency it makes life easier, so it is really your choice whether you wish to play the game casually or “Seriously”.

Alex “WriterX” Bielski

Rating:8/10
Pros:Steam Punk setting
Very Pleasant Graphics
Easy to learn
Turn Based
Friendly
Cons:There is a bit of a Grind
Still in development
Needs some time and dedication
Game producer's website:isotx
Official website:Iron Grip Marauders
Game available at:

About The Author

Aleksander "WriterX" Bielski
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Student of Psychology, he was identified as a Nut-Job even before he started the course. Having done some small work as a Modder for a number of titles, and worked as a Game Designer part-time, Alex now writes in third person. As Co-Owner and Editor of AlterGamer.com he aims high, while being armed only with a sling. In the future, he hopes to become a fully qualified Newspaper Editor, and purchase Google.

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