2D GBA-looking retro-styled action platformer Steel Assault from Zenovia and Tribute Games is a must-play on Nintendo Switch. Find out why in our Steel Assault review!
2D GBA-looking retro-styled action platformer Steel Assault from Zenovia and Tribute Games is a must-play on Nintendo Switch. It’s a game that pays homage to that 16-bit look we all know and love, CRT filter included. You will go on a journey on a pixeltastic post-apocalyptic world presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio as Taro Takahashi, a resistance soldier on a revenge mission against a dictator who, as expected, rules with an iron fist over the ashes of this new world. Do you have what it takes to destroy everything in your path?
Indie developer Sri Kankanahalli, Creative Director for Zenovia, took Steel Assault to Kickstarter way back in 2015. It managed to secure the support of 406 backers, who pledged $8,706 for the development of the game. The initial plan was to develop Steel Assault as a take on the classic 8-bit era of the Nintendo Entertainment System – what you know as the NES – but that changed when Sri had a chance to pivot and revamp the look and feel of Steel Assault to bring it closer to what we saw in the SNES era and beyond.
It’s now 2021, and with the support of Tribute Games, the game was recently released on Nintendo Switch. As mentioned before, and as you can see from the screens and the trailer in this Steel Assault review, the game has a look that is closer to a Game Boy Advance (GBA) release than a SNES release. This is easy to see when you take a look at how main character Taro and its enemies are presented, as well as by how each one of them is animated. Add a soundtrack that certainly feels like a GBA soundtrack, and you have a bite-sized experience that you’re going to love on Nintendo Switch. You can play the game in one of four difficulty settings, based on your skill level and experience with 2D action games: Very Easy, Easy, Normal, and Expert.
Since Steel Assault is a game that pays homage to the games of the classic 2D Game Boy Advance era, that means the controls are going to be simple and to the point so that you can quickly get the hang of things. You’ll move Taro with the left analog stick or the D-Pad, jumping and double jumping with the B button, and sliding with the same button by pressing down on the left analog stick or the D-Pad at the same time. You’ll attack enemies with the A button and can use a zipline accessory with the Y button for some fun platforming moments.
Once you get into the action, you’ll notice there’s certainly more depth to the game than what you might initially consider after reading the previous paragraph. For example, your attack is a very powerful and deadly energy whip. This energy whip attack can be used to destroy all enemy bullets but those that are glowing. Your zipline can also be shot in all eight directions, which makes for some very fun platforming mayhem. On top of this, your slide is very important since you’re invulnerable while sliding!
On top of all that, there are also power-up boxes that you can destroy to obtain a subweapon, allowing you to shoot electric bullets at enemies! If you want to replenish the energy for said subweapon so that you can continue to use them through the stage you’re taking on, you’re going to have to get up-close and personal with your enemies. Why? Because at short range, instead of using your energy whip, you’ll punch enemies. Doing this will preserve their energy core, which Taro will absorb to give some extra energy to his current subweapon.
I loved everything about Steel Assault. The pixeltastic art style, the excellent soundtrack, the tight gameplay mechanics, the fact that this feels like a lost, late Game Boy Advance era release. Oh, and did I mention that the game features not one but TWO soundtracks, with the second one being an FM arrange version? You can complete Steel Assault in a couple of hours or so, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play this one on Nintendo’s console. You should play the main Story Mode first, and then once you know what to expect, do it all over again in Arcade Mode, where the difficulty is bumped up considerably. Steel Assault is out now with a $14.99 price.
This Steel Assault review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Tribute Games.