Steel Rats Review PC
key review info
- Game: Steel Rats
- Platform: PC
- Gamepad support: Yes
- Reviewed on:
- Show system requirements
Every time you think of a platformer game, the first thing that may pop into your head would be you controlling a character, jumping between ledges, climbing over obstacles and shooting enemies with either bullets or spells.
However, Steel Rats takes the platformer concept and mixes it with vehicular combat, allowing you to ride through death-defying obstacles as you save Coastal City.
A neat concept to begin with
Mixing game genres that would normally have nothing to do one with the other is a high-risk high-reward endeavor, as you can create something that will either captivate the audience or end up with no one interested.
Steel Rats falls somewhere in the middle, as it is the type of game that requires you to have a particular set of tastes and skillset for it to be appealing. After going through a few levels, you'll either be thinking to yourself "I love the game, I want to complete it all!" or "I hate it, I want my money back!
Race, perform stunts, destroy your enemies and save the world
Your motorcycle is a chopper, in more way than one, since the developers probably have a knack for puns, as they turned choppers into vehicles that can "chop" pretty much any obstacle, using the front wheel that doubles as a circular saw.
This saw wheel will prove useful throughout the game, as you'll be using it as a means to grip to otherwise impossible surfaces. Jumping over ledges, climbing vertical surfaces or upside-down, and destroying your enemies can only be achieved through your bike.
An interesting setting
Those of you that have a taste of alternate realities will love the setting of Steel Rats, as it takes place in an alternate, heavily industrialized version of 1940's America.
Steel Rats lets you see it all: the underground, the roofs, the mines, the walls and interiors of city buildings as their mission to save this industrial marvel, to investigate what stands behind an invasion leads them through every alley of Coastal City.
Play as one of the 4 Steel Rats
If you've ever played other platformer titles where you had to switch between characters mid-game (such as Trine), then you'll know how to do it in Steel Rats as well.
You control the titular Steel Rats, a gang of four bikers set out to save the world, each of them with their appearances, and stats. Some characters are better at obstacle courses, having greater innate mobility, while others are bulkier and are better at fighting off foes.
Depending on whether you choose James, Lisa, Randall or Toshi, you'll gain access to completely new skills, while still being able to perform all basic actions. This is something I liked since it allowed me to finish the entire game using only Toshi, although there were times when I knew that another member of the gang would be far more appropriate.
The few enemies you encounter are a handful
Your objective in Steel Rats is to rid Coastal City of Junkbots, and doing this is no easy task.
While the first enemies you encounter are easily dispatchable, fighting the mini-bosses can prove quite nerve-wracking, especially on the first couple of tries, if you're not yet used to the game's controls.
As you progress through the story, you’ll uncover the mystery behind the Junkbot invasion, such as how did it all start. (and you are in for a surprise!).
A steep learning curve
Steel Rats itself is easy, as the environment isn't all that hard to maneuver around, and the enemies are quite dumb and easy to handle. The problem, however, is one that you may not expect, and that is the actual movement of your character.
While your vehicle can easily be maneuvered with just a few keys, the fact that the entire game is based around you using as much momentum and building up as much speed as possible, it is impossible to go through a level without dying at least once.
This does not mean that the game controls are bad, it's just that you need to be quite skilled just to move around efficiently. Even if you do manage to pass levels on your first try, don't expect to look like a professional while doing it, and if you plan on streaming for online views, you should either play each level before-hand or be naturally quick with your fingers.
Gather junk, customize your Steel Rat
Each time you complete a level, you are rewarded with a certain amount of Junk (the game's currency), depending on your performance during the level run.
Junk can then be used to customize your Steel Rats, including alternate skins or improved passive or active abilities.
This neat little feature makes Steel Rats a completionist's dream, as you'll be spending hours upon hours gathering enough Junk to unlock all features for your four characters.
- The gameplay concept
- The cool powers
- The character customization
- The environment
- A steep learning curve
- It requires a lot of patience
- You'll feel clumsy most of the times
- No checkpoints throughout the game
While you may start off cursing at how you control your bike, a few hours into the game you'll be going faster and faster, chopping through bots, dodging falling debris and speed running through levels like you've been born doing it.
Disclaimer: If you're a fan of comic books, then you'll endure the gameplay just for the sake of the narrative and the cinematics.