By Justin Guillou / February 3rd, 2016
|Release Date||November 12, 2015|
Today, we have Steel Strider. This is a game from Nyu Media, who have brought some solid doujin goodness to us Westerners. The game we are concerned with has robots, lots of weapons and explosions. Sounds like a good time to me, especially since it has the name “Strider!” Let’s not forget how awesome Strider can be! The story for Steel Strider goes as follows:
“It is the second half of the twentieth century. A long period of galaxy-wide conflict and turmoil is finally drawing to a close, but skirmishes and large scale crime are still commonplace, some criminal operations possess personnel and armaments equivalent to small armies. The official peace-keeping authorities are insufficiently equipped tackle these threats, and the galactic military lacks the flexibility to effectively neutralize them. There exists, however, a secret organization that secretly strives to preserve peace in the galaxy: ARGO EXPRESS. When ARGO EXPRESS receives word of emergencies such as distress signals or major crime outbreaks, they dispatch a carrier ship disguised as a freighter to rush to the scene and resolve the situation. STEEL STRIDER is the story of an ARGO EXPRESS operative and Gemini-class MCR (Manned Combat Robot) pilot who troubleshoots emergencies in planets around the galaxy.”
At first glance, Steel Strider looks similar to games like Cybernator, Bangai-o or Ranger-X . This is not surprising, as the game feels like a giant love letter to old 2D robot run ‘n’ guns. Like the old games, the story only exists to give you a general idea for why you are running around destroying robots. The REAL focus is on the explosions and the weapons. At first, you may be tempted to plug in a controller. However, I do not think this works very well with the game, and, after a couple minutes, you will notice that the game flows better with a mouse and keyboard. You can use the mouse to aim and the keyboard to move around and switch weapons with the number keys — similar to a first-person shooter. Left clicking will shoot your weapon, while right clicking will swing your sword. It can be very satisfying to run up to some of the bigger enemies and hack and slash at them until they are destroyed. I am not kidding when I say the sword can cut through these enemies like butter! I was almost tempted to only use the sword, that’s how fun it was to use.
You will play through four levels split up into various sections. These levels are fairly lengthy and feature a good amount of enemies and bosses for you to fight. On the normal difficulty, the action moves at a nice pace where you never feel overwhelmed but also not finding yourself bored with a lack of enemies. The visuals throughout these levels are decent, but do have a certain “budget” look to them. At least the sprites are fairly well animated with multiple parts to them. The music, while OK, gets drowned out very quickly due to all of the action on screen. I honestly can’t remember any of the music in it, and that includes the boss theme. These bosses are so huge and can pose a threat to both you and the environment. One boss, in particular, has you jumping from spaceship to spaceship as you dodge its attacks while attacking it in the process, which can be quite intense.
As you progress, you will come across weapons such as a grenade launcher, rocket launcher or — my personal favorite — the Lightning Laser! This piece of badass is a huge beam that does multiple hits on enemies and can really do a number on the bosses. It’s awesome! These weapons have limited ammo, but the game is fairly generous with ammo upgrades so you have room to play with the weapons without worrying too much about ammo management. Eventually, you receive upgrades to your weapons to make them stronger. There are achievements related to you causing lots of carnage and destruction with these weapons, so feel free to go all out! Speaking of achievements, some of them glitched for me in that I could swear I did the requirements for them yet they still did not unlock. According to the Steam forums, there were some issues with the achievements, but they were supposedly fixed. Maybe I just got unlucky.
At $5.99, Steel Strider is a two-hour ride that, while amusing, is not something I can see myself coming back to very often. There are multiple difficulty levels for you to take on and a decent amount of achievements to get. However, many of the achievements are incredibly easy to acquire, and I unlocked the majority of them in my first playthrough. Steel Strider is not a bad game, but it also fails to really stand out in the genre despite the fairly consistent 60 frames-per-second action. If you like what you see, definitely check it out. Just do not expect it to really blow your mind.
Review copy provided by publisher.
60 fpsActionbulletsgunsNyu MediaPCSteamSteel Strider