One of the many projects indies that I followed very closely and that I have finally been able to prove is Steel Assault, the studio’s debut feature Zenovia, supported by Tribute Games (Mercenary Kings). A game in the classic vein of run & gun that stands out above all for a extremely neat pixel-art aesthetic.
With a launch scheduled for this year on Steam, it has been thanks to the current Steam Game Festival when I have been able to satisfy my desire to try it and know if its playability was up to the task. And I couldn’t have a better feeling.
A game with 16-bit hypervitamin essence
Steel Assault clearly bets on mechanics of yesteryear, but adapting them in his own way. There is no clear reference, although his style can evoke classics such as Strider
In appearance it can also remind us of other heavyweights such as Gunstar Heroes The Metal Slug, but the truth is that it moves away from that classic spirit of the run & gun to embrace more direct contact, although we can use ranged weapons in certain situations, such as a turret attached to a ship.
Its protagonist, Taro Takahashi, an agile resistance soldier with a thirst for revenge at the fault of a dictator, will mainly use his electric whip, as if a Belmont of Castlevania it was. Such will be the power of that whip, that it will be able to stop the enemy bullets, although this carries its risk, of course.
We can attack in eight directions, which makes it a very versatile character and with the most aggressive spirit, having to get close to the enemy in order to destroy it. And here, of course, there will be times when there will be no choice but to keep the distance, such as when the opponent has several shots in a row (which we can no longer stop all at once) or a flamethrower.
The Steel Assault demo on Steam leaves you wanting
This demo offers a minimal glimpse of what is to come, since the use of the hook is hardly used, leaving it only to climb a platform, with a couple of areas where we can restore life or obtain a shield. And it is that in the final version it can also be used to stick to side walls, being able to ascend or fall in a much more controlled way.
Graphically it is a delight, on the other hand. It adopts a 16-bit style, but ultra-detailed and with the use of different planes to create scenarios that draw powerfully attention due to the high level of detail they offer. And it even simulates the effect of CRT televisions, although this can also be disabled.
There was only one aspect that did not quite convince me, with a couple of situations where electrified walls have suddenly appeared to defeat a small wave of enemies in order to advance. A resource that here seemed unnatural to me when compared to other games of its kind. At least in the helicopter part it did make all the sense in the world.
The pity is that the demo ends just before the first boss showdown, which leaves you wanting more, without a doubt. It is a project that I already wanted from the first time I saw it and I want to see how this 2021 ends.
- Platforms: Steam
- Multiplayer: no
- Developer: Zenovia
- Company: Tribute Games
- Launching: 2021
- Price: not available