Checks Out Steam Marines

I’ve been wanting to check out Steam Marines for quite some time now; and luckily, developer James Seow was kind enough to indulge my desires with an alpha build of the game. This video is the lovechild of that unholy union. Behold!

So: first impressions! Steam Marines is basically what would happen if someone turned Space Hulk into a roguelike, made the Genestealers way slower, and gave the Terminators greater tactical diversity. The cramped spaces and incredibly dire consequences for screwing up are in perfect keeping with roguelike tradition, lending every decision a flavor of risk and an aftertaste of dread.

I didn’t really show the character creation screen much in this video, so you should know that you can actually select the character class of all four of your starting squad members. (Which is good, because if I had this to do over, I would swap out my grenadier for a second shotgun-wielder in a heartbeat.)

I only noticed a few issues during this playthrough, mostly fairly minor ones having to do with missing UI elements. (For instance: the game really ought to provide a visual indication of where a grenade is going to explode before you click it, and a visual indication of which rank your units are currently at on the promotion screen would be welcome.) It probably shouldn’t be possible to spawn directly in the exit to a level, and I question the balance on some of your unit upgrade options (does gaining 0.25 action points actually do anything for you?)

But really? These issues are relatively minor. And considering that the game is still in alpha, I can only assume that these are transitory problems already on Seow’s To-Fix List. In any event, whatever minor complaints I have about this build are far outweighed by the sense of glee I get when a well-conceived series of tactical decisions comes to fruition. Shotgun-blasting enemies into space is a particular delight.

I’m looking forward to the final release of this game. Until then, if you want to try it for yourself, you can snag the alpha for yourself for $7.99 right here.

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