Nothing brings me back to a childhood experience like a retro-style arcade game. So I was excited to get my hands on the recently released Steel Assault to try to relive some memories of playing an unknown arcade game. Created by Zenovia Interactive and published by Tribute Games, Steel Assault harkens back to the days of all those old arcade games that you didn’t know the names of. Yet you knew where they were and you would try to do better every time you played. Everything you expect in one of those random arcade machines is here in Steel Assault; flashy visuals, a fantastic protagonist, and high-speed gameplay. But the question remains: how does it hold up in this day and age? Let’s get into it.
Steel Assault takes place in 2046. Most of metropolitan America has been abandoned due to nuclear radiation attacks sometime in 2030. During that time, Magnus Pierce, a famous inventor turned army general, rose to power by taking out his enemies and external threats. One of those enemies was the parent of Taro Takahashi, the game’s protagonist. Taro swears revenge and joins the Daybreak Resistance to take down Magnus’s reign! The story is pretty generic, but it works in Steel Assault‘s favor as it helps keep the feel like an arcade game you’d see in the ’90s.
Steel Assault is a very fast-paced 2D platformer that is pretty unforgiving with points. Taro attacks with an electric whip that strikes in any direction and a punch if you get closer to enemies. You’re going to have to master all eight directions as you zip line and slide through each level and attempt to make it through without taking damage. Apart from your whip and your zip line, you have various sub-weapons that can be collected to help you through the level. There are very few invincibility frames in this game compared to other action games. However, your electrical whip can eat some enemy fire. A majority of Steel Assault is fair, and each death you receive is in some way that you messed up. However, I cleared a jump a couple of times but still died, and I’m not sure if it was a glitch, but it was pretty frustrating at the time.
I was in for a treat when I found that Steel Assault has multiple difficulty settings. I don’t believe that the base difficulty of Steel Assault is too hard. You can beat it in about 20 minutes without really any challenge. They also have an arcade difficulty with no continues where you have to win the game in one run. The arcade difficulty is perfect as the game doesn’t necessarily take long to beat, so you can pick it up, try a run, and then go about your way. Outside of that, there isn’t much else. There’s no multiplayer, or even an online leaderboard, which would have been nice.
What I believe is best about Steel Assault is that it has fantastic art and music. The pixel art character design and levels bring me back to a point in time where I can be like, “yes, I will dump quarters upon quarters in this game just to get to the next level.” Taro’s design implies he has a chip on his shoulder and that he’s really into his mission. The music of Steel Assault is the icing on the cake. It makes me feel like I want to get to that next level to see what the music will be like.
During my time with Steel Assault, if I didn’t know that this game was recently released, I would think that this game is a classic 90s arcade game from a company that I’ve never heard of. If you like fast-paced arcade gameplay or want to relive some traditional memory from an older arcade machine you’ll have a blast from the recent past. Zenovia Interactive shows its love for these classic arcade games and that brings out the best in Steel Assault.
Steel Assault Review
Zenovia Interactive shows its love for these classic arcade games and that brings out the best in Steel Assault!