I wandered into the Nintendo 3DS eShop a couple days ago only to find a brand new demo had been released. To my pleasant surprise, it was exactly what I needed: a demo to help me understand what Code Name Steam was all about.
All of the stages in the demo were in the same kind of steampunk-y style. It looked nice and detailed. It definitely fit the plot of the story: an alien invasion! The first character introduced was a blonde guy by the name of Henry Fleming. Weapon of choice? An eagle rifle. Before officially getting to the first actual stage, the game teaches the player how to move and shoot and other good stuff. When I was playing it, I couldn’t help but think that the controls felt a lot like Kid Icarus: Uprising. One hand is used to move around (with the circle pad) and the other is holding the stylus to adjust the camera view (behind the main character). Personally, I have no issue with this and I think it’s actually pretty comfortable. However, I know this was a big no-no for many people when playing Kid Icarus: Uprising. I definitely believe the creators of the game (Intelligent Systems) were thinking of the new Nintendo 3DS when making the controls for this game. The camera controls would probably be easier to adjust with the c-stick for some people who don’t like using the stylus. The c-stick is exclusive to the new Nintendo 3DS so, I guess I’ll be sticking with the stylus.
There was also a lot of variety within the game. If you play the demo all the way through you will be able to play as four different characters. Henry Fleming, John whose last name I can’t remember, Tiger Lily and Lion. Each character has their own abilities and characteristics which adds tons of possibility and room to develop a good strategy. It’s hard for me to choose which character I think is the most useful because they all are except in different ways. Henry has the “over-watch” ability which is a special ability that is only available to characters who yield long-range weapons. Here is how over-watch attack works. Lets say you’re using Henry and it takes three steam bars (or whatever you call those) to launch an attack. Each move you make across the map will use up one steam bar. Lets say you have four steam bars left and you decide you want Henry to stay where he is. Because you have enough steam bars left to launch an attack, any alien that comes into range during their turn will be automatically attacked by Henry. That is what an over-watch attack is. It’s useful as a way of defense in case any aliens are close by when you end your turn. To my knowledge, both Tiger Lily and Lion have this ability but neither of their weapons deal as much damage as Henry’s if you were to attack the alien straight on. John’s main weapon of choice is a grenade launcher which is very useful if you’re standing on a high ledge overseeing a large area with enemies. It does a nice amount of damage as well. While equipped with the grenade launcher John is unable to use over-watch attack. However, he does have a rifle that enables him to do so if equipped and with enough steam bars at the end of the turn. Tiger Lily has a weaker offensive weapon but a powerful healing weapon. In the demo she is the only healer available that can heal all units in a certain area. Henry can also heal but he is a one-target healer only. Finally, there is Lion who uses some kind of crossbow. He is also capable of over-watch attack but his specialty is being able to jump high onto ledges that none of your other units can get to or jump right onto the heads of your enemies dealing damage to any alien in the area. In my opinion, for a demo this is already a lot of different options which makes me eager to see what the full version will have.
(From Left to Right: Lion, Henry Fleming, Tiger Lily)
The game play was pretty good except for one flaw that I have trouble forgetting. Since the game is turn based and in real time, the player must patiently wait while the enemy’s turn proceeds. In other games I’ve played, I felt okay about this because there was usually a fast forward button or at least some kind of overview of the map. In this game, there is neither a fast forward button nor an overview of the map. So, I was left staring at a bunch of boxes and run-down buildings (basically what my unit was seeing) until the aliens finished their turn. As there are more enemy units on the field, the more noticeable this flaw becomes because that means more enemies have to move before their turn is over. I can really only think of one reasonable explanation for why they chose to do something like this. Maybe they wanted to be as realistic as possible (even though the game itself is about aliens taking over London) and place the player in a position as if he/she were actually doing this in real life. If this game were real and I was in Henry Fleming’s position, there’d be no way to know what my enemies were doing. It’s just me and what I can see with my eyes. It personally makes me feel like having a good strategy is even more important. I’m not sure if this is really what they were going for but, that’s the sense I can make out of it. And while it is rather boring at times it is in no way a deal breaker.
Other than that, there really was nothing else that I disliked about the demo. The story was good and had a nice charm to it. It’s refreshing to see something new as I’ve definitely never played a game that made you feel like you were living and reading a story in a comic-book before. What I liked a lot about the demo was how I found myself planning and really considering what I should do next before every move.
- Slow process during enemy’s turn (no fast forward or overview map)
- Potentially hand-cramping controls (for people who didn’t like Kid Icarus:Uprising controls)
- Tons of variety (at least so far)
- Charming story line and atmosphere
- Detailed stages and visuals
- encourages strategy planning
Before I picked up this demo, I really had no idea what to expect. After playing the demo I can honestly say I really look forward to playing the full version.
By the way, did I mention that the Fire Emblem characters currently in Super Smash Bros. 4 can be added to the game as playable characters? (You have to have the amiibo though. Just saying. Aaaaand seeing as this is a 3DS game you will also need a new Nintendo 3DS to scan the amiibo.)
Don’t they look nice? I wouldn’t want to run into Ike in a dark alley…
That’s all for the review of the Code Name Steam Demo. Hope you found this helpful. Thanks for reading! If you’ve also played the Code Name Steam Demo and would like to share your thoughts and opinions, feel free to do so in the comments section!