Steel Assault (Switch, PC)

You are Taro Takahashi, a resistance soldier on a revenge mission against the dictator who lords over the ashes.  Run, jump, climb, and smack enemies in this 16-bit arcade styled 2-D action platformer.  Steel Assault is available on Switch and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

Your armored tough dude can double jump, slide, and attack enemies with his electric whip, which has a pretty good reach.  You can attack in any direction, too.  The most unique move in your hero’s arsenal, though, is a zip line that you can fire up and down, left and right, or diagonally.  When it attaches to two surfaces, you can climb it to reach higher areas.  It’s kind of like a cross between Bionic Commando and Roc N Rope.

This rope mechanic is really cool once you get the hang of it, but the only problem I had is that since it’s so unique, it takes a while to get used to.  I wish they would’ve added some areas that let you play with the zip line to understand it better.  For instance, I had trouble climbing an elevator shaft near the beginning, until I realized that you can fire a zip line left and right to attach to both walls to help you climb.  There is a playable tutorial that you can try, but I still don’t think they explain very well just how versatile the zip line can be.

Aside from the controls taking some getting used to in places, the only other problem I had with this game is that it’s a bit short at only five levels.  Granted you can bump up the difficulty, but I still think it could’ve used a couple more stages. Normally I’d complain about these kinds of games being too hard, but this one you can select a super easy mode that even I could do.  Plus you can save your progress at checkpoints and even tackle a super tough one coin speedrun Arcade Mode challenge.  One last little problem I had is that even in the easy modes, you can still die in one hit if you fall into a pit, so that was a little frustrating at times.

I really like the 16-bit style graphics.  I would say they’re like the Super Nintendo or Genesis, but the visuals are slightly better so I’d say it’s more akin to a NEO GEO arcade action game.  The music is pretty driving, too.  If you enjoy games like Contra, Metal Slug, or Treasure’s Gunstar Heroes, then you may want to check this one out.

 

Kid Factor

Steel Assault is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence, Alcohol Reference, and Use of Tobacco.  You attack soldiers and robots with an electric whip and they explode and scream when defeated.  I didn’t really notice any alcohol or smoking amidst all the chaotic action.  Reading skill is helpful for some of the text, and younger gamers may find it too difficult.

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