Ironhide Game Studio cofounder Gonzalo Sande has a concise but very tall comparison for the developer's upcoming game, Iron Marines.
"Have you played StarCraft?" he said. "It's like a mobile version of StarCraft."
The similarities are obvious and immediate. Iron Marines is a real-time strategy game with spacey, sci-fi elements. Its tiny world is filled with warring marines and aliens. But against the complicated systems or long-arching story of Blizzard's space opera, Iron Marines can't compare — and, it's not exactly trying to. This is real-time for a casual mobile player, Sande explained.
"It doesn't exist, a game that is an RTS for mobile, that is more casual," Sande said. "If you take an RTS game and you put it on a iPad, it's pretty complicated with the controls. What we tried to do is adapt it to more casual gameplay where you can play on the subway, everywhere."
Iron Marines pares down the typically click-based gameplay with simple taps and drags. Players can move their units solo or as a group, upgrade their base and take on enemies with a few quick motions. The game, due out later this year on Android, iOS and Windows Phone, will also allow players to swap out different heroes. Each new hero will open up new units and strategies as players attempt different mission objectives.
While the main campaign will toss players into fights anywhere from 10-15 minutes long, Iron Marines will also offer shorter mini-games for players with no time to spare.
"It's a strategy game where you have to adapt and conquer," Sande said. "You conquer territories and you adapt your strategy depending on the kind of enemies that are attacking you. It's more like an RTS, but it's adapting to a mobile device."