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You know it’s a funny thing. Most of the time that I’m about to write up a game I try to think of some semi clever opening line to break the ice with my audience, and somehow instantly connect them with what I’m talking about. It’s not so easy for me to do that this time, because I have been genuinely caught off guard by Iron Grip: Warlord. At first glance, Iron Grip: Warlord may not look like much, it’s running on the Quake 3 engine, and it definitely shows. But where the graphics, and maybe just some overall realism, or polish when compared to other modern titles may be a bit lacking, the game itself is a pleasant slow burn.
I admittedly didn’t really understand the game at first. The idea of this constant flux of energy being earned based on how many enemy units I killed didn’t click right away. The fact, that you can enter an aerial view of the battlefield at any time, and spend that energy on emplacements, turrets, and support stations also didn’t click right away. And the fact that there is an equally deep weapon purchasing system tied into the mix, also didn’t immediately sink in. But by the time I played through each map two or three times, I started to get it. Iron Grip: Warlord plays like an insanely hectic 6 man coop tower defense game with those lovely RTS elements I mentioned before, and it’s all done in a First Person Shooter perspective. The mechanics of the game work well enough, although sometimes when entering the aerial view to build structures, it can get a bit weird with the camera not fully cooperating, or the environment obstructing your view. The game compensates a little bit by enabling the player to tilt and turn the guns and turrets after placing them, but generally speaking, like any tower defense game, it’s all about learning the spawn lines of the map, and cutting the enemy off with a series of clever traps and bullets.
Iron Grip: Warlord makes damn sure, you’re never at a deficiency with ways to take out the opposition. With poison traps, exploding barrels, tripmines, and the range of turrets complete with 3 stages of upgrades, you will never be without a wide variety of tools to kill with. Even the weapon selection for your character is almost obscene when you really get into it. If you play your cards right, and get enough energy building at a steady enough pace you can buy a range of upgrades for your character that will turn you into a speed freak, engineering demon capable of inspiring fear into walking steam tanks themselves. Add all of that up with a vaguely Steampunk, post industrial revolution feel, and you have something very special here.
Isotx has even made mention that Iron Grip is part of a larger universe, with their other titles tying into each other in story, and in some instances, shared resources to use across titles. It’s something you don’t ordinarily see out of a development studio, even larger companies. So it’s very refreshing, and pretty inspiring to see a smaller independent studio with so much ambition, and a desire to create something truly meaningful. You can’t fake commitment like that, anywhere. So larger companies should take notice, and start extending offers, or realize that in a short time these guys might be sitting on a goldmine. Iron Grip: Warlord isn’t pitch perfect, but the elements of the game themselves are, if they release a sequel that builds on all those strengths, and simply makes a move to a more realistic engine, than Isotx may very well have the next most addictive thing on the internet. We’ll just have to wait and see how that pans out in the next couple of years for them.
There was some part of me that wanted to be critical of this game, like I am of seemingly everything else, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. In the name of being honest, I can level with you and say that I probably have a thousand little complaints about the game while I play it, but then when I sit here in front of my keyboard and try to quantify those frustrations into words, it seems disingenuous. I mean it would be like me eating an entire ten dollar New York Steak dinner, and waiting till the very last minute to complain to my waiter about a bit of undercooked potato that was part of a larger meal I sat and happily enjoyed at the time. Iron Grip strikes me the same way. You could find ways to nitpick, but really it’s just that. Nitpicking over a ten dollar New York Steak. Just shut your hole and enjoy it.
Iron Grip Warlord is available now for PC.
It was developed and published by Isotx
This review was made possible by
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