Steam Marines: Alpha

Making strategic decisions and managing a team of killing machines is what Steam Marines is all about. When you fire up this turn-based roguelike you’ll wake up in a steampunk spaceship with your squad, who you will have to maneuver through the ship in search of stuff to blow up. At least that’s how I imagine myself when I’m playing.

A word of caution before I get into the juicy steampunky details, this game will kick your butt up and down that spaceship I mentioned… guaranteed. You might want to consider starting on the easy difficulty because the death-dealing machines that are roaming around will take your squad members out without hesitation.

My first impression of the game is that it looks and feels a bit like the old school X-COM that was released back in 1993. By the way, X-COM is still one of my favorites, so this is definitely a compliment. The funny part is that the creator of Steam Marines, Worthless Bums, hadn’t even played X-COM before he started making this fun little tactical roguelike.

Before you are set free to start laying down the firepower, you come to a screen with a few options for your squad. There are four classes to choose from for each member, and each has their tradeoffs. I don’t want to spoil the fun of discovering all the details, but you’ll have to decide between classes that have different levels of armor, speed, range, and the like. Setting up my squad is always one of my favorite parts of team-based games.

Once you get started with your newly formed team of goons, the game will allow you to move just about as fast as you’d like with the convenience option of forcing your squad to follow close behind. Even though it’s possible, I would recommend against it. Once you turn on follow mode, you’ll find yourself lining up like sheep, prepping your squad for the alien slaughter. It is amusing, however, to see how fast you can get around and how fast those bipedal robots can take you out.

So, if you take my advice by starting off in easy mode and manually maneuvering each squad member turn-by-turn, then you are on the path to victory. You really do have to think tactically with squad placement and which doors to go through at what times. Don’t worry about getting impatient, Steam Marines knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat and ready to bust through the next door into a room full of killers.

Overall, I have to say I really enjoy this game. Not only do I get the X-COM vibe that I loved about the 1993 game, but it is also a great time making life-changing decisions and managing a squad of really cool steam marines. Do yourself a favor and try the game out as soon as you can. Download it for free on the game’s website and enjoy, I know I did.