In 2015, Sri Kankanahalli, founder of Zenovia Interactive, launches his first project using Kickstarter. It would not appear until several years later on PC via Steam and on the Switch eShop (the tested version), September 28, 2021. It is Steel Assault, an action-oriented platform game, created with a very particular ambition: to bring players back to the past, to a time when the 16-bit was the norm, offering a title focused on pure action. The castagne, the jump, the castagne and more of the jump, this is what awaits you. What could be more normal for such a platformer? You have been warned, the software will not revolutionize much. No problem, no need to be original! However, is success there? Well, you’ll see… no need to spit it out at the outset (and say yours truly was going to go for it headlong and tell you what the article is trying to do). Patience and courage, it won’t be long. Unless…
Bad guys, you won’t win!
Taro Takahashi, a resistance soldier working for the good and happiness of others, has a desire that burns him: to finally take the skin of the dictator who rotted his life, a man named Pierce. But before he can reach him, he will have to face his loyal henchmen desperate to protect him … well, especially to retain the advantages of an unjust and cruel system. Great wicked therefore, carried away by their selfishness. Their loss is necessary and justified, no one will mourn them. On the contrary, the brave soul who will accomplish the heavy task of defeating them will only appear heroic. Courage, Taro does not lack. The army (made up of robots, in particular) which will stand in front of him, during a dangerous journey, does not scare him. And of course, you know how it will end, the identity of the winner is beyond doubt: with punches and whips, Taro is ready to marav anyone who gets in his way, a journey more than rugged. Ah, the war. There is no better way to reinvent a city, an architecture. “What? Do you dare to talk about the beauty of this devastating business? ”You would say. To which, you will be answered in a tone that is uncertain, especially with the aim of drowning the fish: “uh, but, I don’t know what you are talking about …”. In short, let’s leave this delirium aside. Let’s resume: in this desolate world, crevasses will mark your path. And to be able to cross them, a sort of grapple lined with a zip line is at your disposal, which will also be very useful during combat.
The scenario is not very interesting, that is obvious. Besides, is it really one? Rather, history serves as a pretext for action. So, whatever the script, whatever the nanardesque staging – whatever this side is fully assumed – what is essential is the experience that the game promises us, that is to live a frantic adventure full of challenge. . Is the goal achieved? Well, not really. The enemies supposed to slow down your progress are present and they are in shambles. However, they represent only a relative threat, easy to eliminate. Bosses are something else, they can give a hard time. However, once the fight is mastered and the patterns memorized, the opponent seems quite harmless.
In fact, let us be moderate in our remarks and in good faith: the opinion expressed here is only valid for the normal mode. And let’s not talk about the “easy” and “very easy” modes: by choosing one of these levels, the damage will be less and the life bar will be more generous. But, it will be quite different with a higher degree of difficulty. Faced with much more resistant and dangerous opponents, losing will become frequent. What, moreover, will make an element – that we have killed so far – almost unbearable: the cutscenes before each confrontation can not be skipped.
A pleasurable adventure?
The game is short, very short (provided you have mastered it), but it is quite normal: it was produced for this purpose, in order to correspond as much as possible to the arcade titles of the time. What it aims to do is to entertain you as much as possible, to offer you a great concentrate of adrenaline. Moreover, when it starts, the screen takes a 3/4 resolution quite appropriate. However, the level of difficulty should have been there. Certainly, there is always the possibility of choosing the “difficult” mode (as seen previously), as well as an arcade mode intended for veteran players in order to immerse them in the same conditions as in the great times, with limited lives. You also can’t restart the game where you left off before a loss, so you’ll have to start all over again. A mode without mercy, which represents all the interest of a software of the kind, corresponding to the will even of the developers. But then, wouldn’t it have been better to offer only this possibility to approach the game? To be able to provide an answer to such a question, it seems necessary to ask another: what is the real purpose of the title? Share a real arcade experience or rather give birth to a creation of this style? A slight nuance certainly, but decisive, because in the second case, the ambition of the studio would focus above all on aesthetics. If this is indeed the case, the intention of Zenovia Interactive is to help those less familiar with the genre discover the joys of 16-bits. Not leaving the freedom to these players to choose the degree of difficulty would, it is true, certainly disgusted more than one.
The period atmosphere is perfectly well transcribed. The pixel art graphics were created in order to maintain the illusion of belonging to a production that came directly from the 90s: a successful tribute. We can only salute the work. The black and white transitions between each boss are also particularly neat. Only there is a small problem. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish the attackers among the backgrounds, so that they sometimes manage to surprise you, it is the same for projectiles. It’s not much, but it’s all the same untimely, something to be slightly irritated and somewhat cold. However, the visual is not bad, far from it, just a little garish. That said, it may be that these reviews relate only to the tested version, in other words, the grind Switch.
Added to this is a soundtrack exactly in tone, absolutely correct and quite pleasant.. In addition, the musical production accompanying the very last boss is pretty catchy and heady, so to speak. Too bad it is masked by the different sound effects, which can sometimes be unpleasant. But hey, let’s not quibble.
Diversity is strength
Going through the five chapters, various landscapes are linked. Variety is at the rendezvous: from a devastated shopping center to a swamp, via a train station and many other places, you will make a real journey and experience different situations. The clashes are as much land as air or sea. You will sometimes face your attackers suspended from a kind of vessel, sometimes on board a boat, the mimines placed on a turret.
You will be able to improve your weapon and strengthen your defense with the help of shields scattered here and there
The gameplay is therefore quite diverse and by no means repetitive. It’s simple, all you have to do is go straight ahead, jump and attack. We couldn’t be more minimalist. During the mission, you will be able to slide to avoid the various attacks, improve your weapon by combining it with a kind of electric power and strengthen your defense with the help of shields scattered here and there. Items that will therefore be greatly useful but unfortunately temporary