Developer: Monster Robot Studios
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 0.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5, iPad Mini Retina

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

Steam Punks is an odd little bird. It’s an action-platformer that has great ideas; it’s just an extremely unpolished game.

SteamPunks-5Steam Punks takes heavy inspiration from Mega Man X, really an underappreciated game. There’s a wall jump that’s used mostly to scale walls, and to slowly slide down them to shoot at enemies. There’s multiple levels that can be played in any order, with their weapons earned for later usage. Yeah, sounding real familiar, isn’t it?

This structure pays off doubly. For the experienced gamer, Steam Punks is a love letter to 16-bit platforming with a steampunk aesthetic. It’s a really sloppy game, and its level lengths don’t make it a great fit for mobile, but hey – it stands out as being rebellious. Punk, even! For the unfamiliar, it actually feels kind of modern. Having a variety of levels to play in the order one chooses, with a variety of weapons to use with limited ammo so they must be conserved? It’s kind of a modern design, no? There’s actually quite a lot to like about Steam Punks.

SteamPunks-7The game could do with a coat or ten of additional polish, though. There are typos abound in the script. The fonts look like computer-generated ones, rather than feeling like they fit in with the game. The controls aren’t optimized for the iPad initially, requiring players to go into the settings to shrink and reposition the buttons to save their thumb ligaments. Elements of the game are cut off and look incredibly blurry on a retina iPad as well; I really recommend playing this on an iPhone instead. This is one of the few times when I will say that. The UI is generally a mess, too. Really, don’t expect anything resembling a polished product.

Of course, much of this could be said about Monster Robot’s previous game Heavy Sword, and really it’s a shame. There’s a really cool game here, but it suffers a lot because it doesn’t look as good as it could, it doesn’t control as well as it could, and it doesn’t play as well as it could if some work was done to make this a polished product.

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