Review: Steel Assault is a fun comeback
I’ve been playing a lot of retro games lately, especially arcade brawlers and run and gun style games. There is a certain feel to classic arcade style games that modern games can only try to replicate. Steel assault doesn’t exactly look like a retro run and gun style game, but it does get pretty damn close.
Steel assault is a 2D action platformer in the old school run and gun style. Think of games like Contra, although Steel assault removes guns and gives you a whip and zipline. In Steel assault you play as Taro Takahashi, a one-man army on a mission of revenge. Your objective is to take down an evil dictator, and in order to do that you will have to fight through his army in several side-scrolling explosive action chapters.
In pure arcade style, Steel assault is a fairly short game. You can probably play it in an hour or two, depending on your skill level. Steel assault is quite a difficult game, and death can result in a penalty. There are no credits or lives, so if you die you will be forced to replay the entire previous section you played. These sections are relatively short – only a few screens or so. You’re not too far back, but it can be frustrating to die at the end of a section, and have to repeat it.
Steel assault gives you a whip as your primary weapon, and there isn’t really too many bonuses to be collected that change things a lot. There are a few, however, like the Electric Whip which gives your whip the ability to fire three projectiles. However, there was no bonus that made me feel too powerful.
There are a few platform sections in Steel assault, and they make tremendous use of the zip line. It’s not a grappling hook – the zipline requires you to make two points of contact for it to work. At first I hated it, but I quickly grew up not being so bothered by it – even though I still don’t really like it. But it does provide opportunities for semi-novel gameplay, especially since you can use your zipline to fill a void and hang onto it – something that’s needed in a few areas, and even in boss fights.
The bosses in Steel assault are big enough, but they never felt too picky. Each boss has models that are learnable, although a few can be bombarded by focusing damage and ignoring any damage that happens. Of course, this kamikaze style only works in standard mode.
While Steel assault is quite a difficult game, you can try difficult sections and keep trying, unless you are playing Arcade mode. This mode challenges you to beat the whole game with one credit. I wish Arcade Mode was a mode that requires you to beat the game in one sitting with a limited number of lives, with no extra lives available for pickup along the way. Steel assault feels a bit light on the content, though, and I would have liked to see more challenge modes, maybe even a fast race mode or something similar.
Steel assault is a fun game with tight racing and weapon controls. Her particular brand of zipline platform takes a little getting used to, but she managed to grow on top of me by the end of my first part – and by that I mean she was tolerable enough to that I continue to play. Steel assault is a fun arcade diversion, but it’s short and doesn’t give you a lot of incentive to keep playing. However, it definitely has that old school arcade and gun racing feel to it, and I really enjoyed my time with it.
Steel assault is available now on Steam and Nintendo Switch.
We have been provided with a Steam key for this review.
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