Steam Wars [rating: 4/5]
Mention Steampunk and you’ll get one of three responses: fascination, dismissal, or ignorance. The Steampunk genre is not as well known as its cousin Cyberpunk but it has a small and devoted following. If you’re not familiar with the genre, basically it postulates a world where modern technology has taken root in Victorian times. Instead of transistors and electricity, the gadgets of Steampunk are generally large, steam-driven contraptions. Steam Wars by illogika is one of the few Steampunk-based games I’ve encountered in the App Store. Settings and back story aside, Steam Wars is a fun and entertaining game.
In Steam Wars you play either daring British Captain Raynard or his arch-enemy Dr. von Austerlitz. The tools of battle in this universe are large robots which are, of course, steam powered. The battlefield ranges across 3D worlds as the two combatants exchange blows. All movement and weapons use is governed by the steam charge in your robot, indicated in the lower right hand corner of the screen. Since more powerful weapons use more steam than simple weapons, strategy is of the utmost importance. Your steam will recharge some at the beginning of each turn but using a powerful weapon like the orbital platform will leave you using lesser weapons until you can build up your charge again.
Game play across the world isn’t to scale so you can use the multitouch interface to rotate the planet and zoom in and out. Sometimes you are on the opposite side of the planet from your nemesis so it may be necessary to move the planet around to find them. Once you’ve located your enemy you can choose to move closer to him or attack from a distance. I actually found that since all of the weapons at your disposal are meant for ranged combat, it was usually just as easy to locate them and attack from your current position. This saves steam you’d otherwise use on movement for combat. When you do decide to attack, choose a weapon from the selector on the lower left hand side of the screen that corresponds to the amount of steam available. Attacks continue until one robot loses all its hit points.
Steam Wars also has some nice extras you’ll enjoy. It implements OpenFeint so it has a whole range of achievements and global and local high scores. There is also a range of additional planets and robots to be unlocked as you win battles. Both provide incentives to continue returning to Steam Wars.
I found Steam Wars to be a fun and replayable game. The only thing I think it lacks is a two player mode option. I think a WiFi or Bluetooth two player option would add a competitive dimension to the game that would only enhance it.
- Unique concept
- Great gaming experience
- Social gaming through OpenFeint support
The Not So Good:
- This game would benefit from a two player competitive mode
Reviewed By: Erin Peterson
Steam Wars for iPhone Teaser Trailer