Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. - 3DS

Release Date:

15 May 2015

Viewing UK:

Also on USA.


Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. The acronym stands for Strike Team Eliminating the Alien Menace, the group is led by Abraham Lincoln, and it includes Henry Fleming from The Red Badge of Courage, Queequeg from Moby Dick, and Tom Sawyer, among others. Agents wear boilers on their back and each wields a unique weapon and a special attack, and the action finds gamers teaming up with other agents and heading into third-person, turn-based battles. The action will see players guide their agents around each map, collecting medals and gear, and looking for cover to hide from the vicious, insect-like aliens.

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Code Name: S.T.E.A.M was developed by the guys and girls at Intelligent Systems for the Nintendo 3DS and later published by Nintendo. Code Name: S.T.E.A.M is a turn based strategy game that features elements of FPS games is a unique enough premise on its own. Threw in the screwy premise and you have something interesting on your hands here. We’ve been desperate to find some IPs on the Nintendo DS that don’t rely on existing franchises so we were eager to dive into STEAM. We threw the game into our 3DS and quickly got down to business in what turned out to be an often times quirky, but quickly endearing title. Keep on reading to see if this is the right brand of odd for you.

The premise of the title is simple but it contains so much bizarre-o factor that you will probably scratch your head anyway. Abraham Lincoln has faked his death, that’s right, so that he could spend his newfound secrecy building an army of famous characters from literature, rendered to life in Steampunk glory. You will see John Henry and the Cowardly Lion right by your side as you go to war against, you guessed it (not really), an impending alien invasion. Yeah, so, that is sort of bizarre right? I mean, a Steampunk President Lincoln would be one thing, right, but an entire army of Steampunk fictional characters - anyway, we digress. Diving into the game we found the tactics to be as interesting, and even endearing, as the premise itself.

STEAM looked to use their premise to pull in fans of turn based games that would otherwise pass up a new franchise. The game is set in the view of a third person shooter, over the shoulder, with a broad view of the levels that you go on. You are able to apparently roam around the map in real time, but it relies upon an action based pointing system that restricts your moment in a strategic way. It is sort of odd, at first anyway, until you grow into the play style. Once you’ve spent a few hours with the game in your hand you won’t think twice and should be able to seamlessly navigate the world around you.

Code Name: S.T.E.A.M offers 12 different characters that can be unlocked as you push through mission after mission. You are given the option to equip a four man squad as you head into battle. This squad based combat should remind many people of the hugely popular Square Enix series, Final Fantasy Tactics. Mixing and matching the right squad of players is strategic and immensely entertaining. You have to be aware of the different strengths that your Steampunk soldiers have as well as their weaknesses. There is plenty of room for working on different load outs.

Each character has their own main weapon, worked into them using some of the lore distinctive to the character. Putting in characters with complimentary weapons will serve you on the battlefield. The more characters you unlock the more tools and weapons you will also gain to utilize. You’ll also see that basic things get upgraded as well, like your backpacks. These special bags can add to your action points in varying numbers.

The weapons are as odd as the selection of characters. Tom Sawyer uses a 'punch gun' that pushes back enemies on the game board. If you partner Sawyer up with a player that can set traps then you can combine their moves in order to destroy your opponent. Simply have one character set a death trap and then maneuver Sawyer so that he can push the enemy into said trap. One of our favorite weapons is utilized by Randolph Carter, pulled straight from the fiction crafted by H.P Lovecraft. Carter has a weapon called the Unspeakable Lure. When placed, the Unspeakable Lure can trick enemies into walking into their own death.

So as you can see there are many ways that you can quirk the fight to go into your favor. Unfortunately for some, and fortunate for us grinders, the game does its absolute best to make your life difficult. Staying alive long enough to set up perfect traps and combos can be pretty difficult. Your enemies are always sort of out of your vision due to the fact that there is no overhead camera. You can’t see far enough ahead to avoid ambushes and you have to take your time making decisions as to where you want to move and who you want to attack. Getting caught off guard is pretty much tantamount to being killed. The AI in the game doesn’t hold back when throwing their punches and they utilize all sorts of tricks to ensure that they do maximum damage. Unfortunately due to this great AI, the computer takes a little too long to cycle through their attacks. I wish that you could fast forward through them or something.

The Aliens in the game are also Lovecraft inspired and there are a few different creatures to look out for. One of our favorites is called the Nettler. The Nettler is a tiny flying creature that is super hard to hit while also having the ability to stun your characters. Of course there are also the Rippers. These creatures are completely blind and they roll their way through anything in order to detect their enemies. They can be fooled, however, with the right counter maneuvers. We’ll let you figure out how to do it on your own as it is so much more satisfying that way.

There is multiplayer in Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. The multiplayer can be played online and it functions much the same way as the single player campaign, only with the addition of a turn timer to keep the game moving. With both players rushing to get their moves in the game starts to feel seriously like Chess, albeit with a bloody and quicker twist to the whole thing.

Code Name: S.T.E.A.M on the 3DS is an enjoyable game that perfectly fits the demographic it was targeting. We suggest STEAM to any gamer who wants something new in their library.

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