When strange aliens invade a helpless mining colony and Sigourney Weaver is nowhere to be found, there’s only one group tough enough to save the day. That’d be the Iron Marines, humanity’s finest futuristic warriors and the subject of Ironhide Game Studio’s great new mobile RTS game of the same name.

Of course, they aren’t going to be much use against waves of extraterrestrial foes unless they have a good commander. Someone like, say, you. While this is a game that is streamlined for phones and tablets, it’s definitely no holds barred RTS action and can get pretty difficult if you go into it unprepared. That’s why we’ve compiled these Iron Marines Tips, Cheats and Strategies so you’re not just sending good marines to their doom.

Except the Heroes, that is. They always come back for more no matter how horribly or how often they die.

Iron Basics: How to Move, Fight and Call for Reinforcements

Iron Marines Tips, Cheats and Strategies

Moving marines around and getting them to fight is arguably the easiest thing in the entire game. Simply tap on a unit to select it, then drag it to where you’d like it to go. It’s important to note that all units will ignore whatever enemies they might pass along the way and only spring into action once they’ve reached the destination you set, so it’s important to be precise.

Combat starts automatically, as your marines will fire at anything in range. This is a very useful trait in terms of having units defend certain points on the map, as they will stay put until you move them and attack anything they can. The down side is that they will also just stand around and take damage if enemies can attack them from beyond the maximum range of their weapons, so you’ll have to keep that in mind.

Iron Marines Tips, Cheats and Strategies

Deploying more marines is a multi-tap process. Tap once on a base and you’ll see a menu of available marine types. Tapping again allows you to select a specific version of that marine — for example, Snipers instead of Rangers from the Army menu — and a third tap will summon the unit.

Easy, right? Unfortunately, Iron Marines isn’t a game where you can simply sit back and call on superior numbers to win on most levels. That’s because your maximum unit count is often pretty low, and you can find it by looking in the top-left corner of the screen. The only way to increase it is to move a unit within range of a command point, which looks like a holographic marine with a little plus sign by it. Hold it for a few seconds and you’ll get to deploy an additional unit.

Finally, each troop type has its own cost in Etherwatts, which regenerate over time and are displayed via the green bar in the upper-left corner. Even if you have a spare unit to deploy, you might not be able to put the exact one you want into play until the meter is full enough.

Holding on for a Hero, and Some Other Goodies

Iron Marines Tips, Cheats and Strategies

Along with various types of Iron Marines, you’ll have some other tricks at your disposal when it comes to taking the fight to the aliens. First and foremost is a Hero which can be deployed by tapping the button in the lower-left corner. There are three different Heroes from which to choose when you start, along with a fourth who unlocks when you reach level 5 and others available as in-app purchases.

While all the Heroes have their own unique abilities, what they share is the power to respawn after being killed. Just wait for the cooldown bar to finish around the Hero icon and you can send them right back into the fray again.

In the bottom-right corner, you’ll find other weapons that can come in handy. The circular icon is for turrets which can be dropped anywhere on the map that you can currently see. Turrets fire at any alien within range automatically and disappear when either destroyed or a certain amount of time has elapsed.

Iron Marines Tips, Cheats and Strategies

The other three slots are for limited use weapons you can purchase with credits by tapping on the rocket icon from the game’s map screen. Credits come as rewards for completed levels, for knocking out achievements and by watching short ads if you decide that’s a thing you want to do. To use these weapons, just tap on an icon and then tap on the map where you want it to fire. Then sit back and enjoy the destruction.

Making Your Marines and Heroes Tougher

Your marines are undoubtedly great as is, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could make them even greater? As luck would have it, you can.

If you tap the wrench icon on the map screen, you’ll get a screen that looks like this:

Iron Marines Tips, Cheats and Strategies

This tech tree enables you to purchase both passive stat boosts and active abilities for your marines using a currency called Techpoints. You’ll earn these as rewards and for completing achievements, which you can find by tapping on the ribbon icon. Each node on the upgrade tree actually has multiple levels of upgrades for increasing numbers of Techpoints, and you can reset them all if desired by using the green recycle icon in the bottom-right corner.

You don’t need any type of currency to upgrade a Hero’s abilities, as they gain experience with each battle and turn that into points for upgrades. Simply tap on the Hero profile to see what nifty stuff they can learn, and remember that every Hero ability gains bonus effects at the fifth and 10th levels.

More Iron Marines Tips and Pointers

  • Even when you only have a handful of units available, remember to mix them up for greatest effectiveness. For example, you can use Snipers to blast enemies at a distance while a Hero or Walker soaks up damage from in close, preventing aliens from even focusing on the very fragile Snipers.
  • Don’t forget about the turrets, or Dropguns, as they are called in the game. Not only can they help guard vulnerable points on the map, they can also be dropped into the middle of a mass of enemies to turn the tide and keep more valuable marines alive. They even have upgrades available on the tech tree.
  • Along with the game’s normal levels, there are Spec Ops that open up every so often. Spec Ops make things interesting with different win conditions and can be very challenging, but they also give out great rewards.