Once in a while, an indie game comes out that reminds us that great games need not come from huge companies with large development budgets. Steel Storm was one such game, as my previous review of Steel Storm: Episode I highlighted.
The developers of Steel Storm, Kot-in-Action Creative Artel are back again with the next installment, Steel Storm: Burning Retribution. The formula is still the same, an action-packed top-down shooter with strategy elements woven throughout. This time around, there are new weapons, more maps, new enemies, new missions, bonus campaigns, and new multiplayer features. Steel Storm: Burning Retribution also includes Episode I, so you can play it again or, if you are new to the game, for the first time.
About the Game
In Steel Storm: Burning Retribution, you take on the role of a ship pilot. Rather than going into space, the ship hovers low to the ground, making its way through canyons and man-made structures. The ship is equipped with standard cannons, but you can pick up a variety of weapons along the way, including missiles that are quite destructive.
Although it is a top-down shooter, it is rendered in a 3D environment, so you can adjust the camera angle to suit your taste. You also have full control over graphics features so that you can adjust settings to run on your computer. It is suited to run well on both fast and slightly older machines.
Enemy ships can appear on the spot and may fire at you from several different angles at once. You will need some coordination to dodge them and fire at the same time. To help you with this, Steel Storm offers a few control options, including mouse+keyboard, gamepad, and Xbox 360 controller support.
This game is not your typical arcade shooter. Do not expect to meet wave after wave of enemies on a linear map. Instead, you must complete mission objectives, which sometimes involve exploration, back-tracking, and finding the right tools to get the job done. Some of those tools include keys, force-field generators, and teleporters. You will still have to fight wave after wave of enemies, all while trying to complete those strategic objectives.
For the most part, you can just keep your finger on the trigger whenever enemies are around, but you will need to use your environment to effectively dodge attacks and stay alive. Once all of your ships have been destroyed, it will send you back to the beginning of the mission. Therefore, you cannot survive without some tactical maneuvering.
Campaigns are only part of the fun with Steel Storm. It also has complete multiplayer functionality with deathmatch, co-op campaigns, and capture the flag matches. There are usually several servers online to choose from, as well as a Steam multiplayer community. Moreover, it is quite easy to setup your own server and go into a private match with your friends. Multiplayer is a great way to get a taste for all the weapons, shields, and other goodies Steel Storm has to offer, and testing them out on your gaming friends is quite fun.
Lastly, Steel Storm includes an editor, allowing players to create their own campaigns, death matches, and capture the flag matches. The developers have even posted a video tutorial to help you get started making your own missions.
One of the great things about many indie games is that the developers care about reaching as wide an audience as possible. Steel Storm: Burning Retribution is no exception and is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
You can try Episode I for free, which is more than a short demo. It is a stand-alone game in itself. Steam users can get the Windows and Mac version through the normal process for $9.99. Ubuntu users can purchase through the Ubuntu Software Center for the discounted price of $8.99.
Steel Storm: Episode I was already a fantastic game all by itself, and many would probably have been willing to pay just for that game. With Burning Retribution, you get Episode I and the new game, all for under $10. It is hard to find fault in that, and I could not find any other faults with this game. If you are a fan of shooters and like to get a lot for your money, this game is worth it.