The marketing campaign of Steel Diver is bashing our heads this week, but whether the sales numbers at the end of the year will be positive depends rather from the gameplay and that is quite a bit less interesting than we expected.
You choose between one of three available submarines that in line with good gaming tradition differ in a couple of crucial aspects. Not that it matters a lot in reality, but there’s one that’s fast but less powerful, one that’s very strong and has a lot of firepower but it also slower, and one sub that balances between the two others.
You control your craft during missions that go from left to right so that you sometimes have the feeling you’re playing an incredibly clumsy version of Mario but in a much more boring game with awkward controls. With two sliders – one for depth and one for speed – you steer your boat with the stylus and take into account that you’re in the water and drift a bit further after you stop. That way you do get the feeling of being on the road with a big vehicle, but it doesn’t make things any flashier.
The idea is that you navigate between mines, rocks and difficult passways, close eventual leaks by clicking on them with your stylus and fire torpedoes to take out depth charges, hostile torpedoes and ships. A very simple concept and despite the very cute 3D effect you’ll quickly get bored or just get plain frustrated by the controls and unnecessary time limit.
There’s actually little more. You can try out a variation to Battleships – meh – and look through your periscope, or turn around with your 3DS to look around and fire torpedoes. There’s also so time trials for those that would need them.
In times of iPads, downloadable games for 1 euro and all kinds of smart phones with plenty of fun games the price to be paid for this Steel Diver is actually quite high and a bit insane to be honest. As such there’s nothing wrong with the game, but it won’t keep you busy for more than an hour unless you’re obsessed with submarines.