Steel Empire, originally released on Sega Genesis and Game Boy Advance, is now available on Nintendo 3DS in, well, 3D. This reboot of the classic horizontal 2D shoot ’em up is a fun game that might just be worth your time. Steel Empire is the perfect game to pick up and start playing while traveling, waiting in line, or just when you’re bored. It tops any mobile game your phone or tablet has to offer, but is it worth the £15.99 price tag?
I’m not going to lie, Steel Empire is a very fun game. It’s challenging but generous. It’s fast paced, nonstop shooting, dodging and avoiding. The constant barrage of enemy fire makes the game difficult but makes up for it by giving you multiple lives and a health bar rather than letting you be one shotted by enemies. Furthermore, the game continuously rewards you by adding power ups that float around as you progress through the stages. There are 7 stages in total, each take about 5-6 minutes to complete. Every stage has both a sub boss as well as a final boss. One strategy I found while playing the game was to save your special power bombs until the boss fights to cut not only the difficulty, but the length of the battles in half. This made the possibly frustrating and time consuming battles feel like a piece of cake, but then again, I was only playing on Normal difficulty.
There are two ships to choose from in Steel Empire. One is the Etopirica, a small but fast ship that not only allows you to fire in the air but lets you drop bombs on land enemies below. The other ship is the Zappelon, a slower but tougher ship that only allows you to fire at airborne enemies but offers you more health and stronger attacks. The 3DS’s circle pad allows for seamless control of both the Etopirica and the Zappelon. The directional pad can be used to move your ship as well, but I found that the circle pad was much easier to use when flying through heaps of enemy fire. The game’s other controls are very simple. A to shoot right, Y to shoot left and B the launch a powerful missile that clears the screen of enemies. Overall, the game’s controls are basic and easy to use.
The graphics of Steel Empire are simple but nostalgic. It’ll bring back memories of games you played when you were younger on your 16-bit consoles and handhelds. The art style of the game is very steampunky and looks as if the ships and weaponry are straight out of the industrial era. What better way to accompany that other than classic, fun, repetitive music? The classic music that the game has to offer fits right in with the fast stages and tough boss battles. If you were looking for a game that looks and sounds like it’s straight out of the 90’s then this is the game for you.
The replayabilty of Steel Empire isn’t very high, however, it isn’t very low either. The game offers 3 standard game modes (Easy, Normal, and Hard) as well as an unlockable Difficult game mode. There are also achievements to be earned while playing through the game. Whether or not you’re an achievement hunter can make or break the option of replaying the game. Personally, the achievements alone weren’t enough for me to jump back in for a second playthrough but it might encourage others.
At the end of the day, Steel Empire is a game I probably wouldn’t have bought at first glance but after playing through it, I definitely think that it is worth checking out. Although I don’t agree with the £15.99 price tag for a 3D rerelease of a game that’s older than me, Steel Empire for Nintendo 3DS is a good game that any fan of old school shoot ‘em ups is sure to enjoy.
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