When you think of unique concepts for a platforming game, you probably don’t often consider motorcycles and post-apocalyptics settings. But such is the formula behind the downloadable title Steel Rats from Tate Multimedia.
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Steel Rats Review
As one of four motorbike heroes, you roll through 2.5D stages filled with robotic enemies, using your motorcycle to avoid damage as well as inflict it at the same time.
Using a vibe that is at times a bit Twisted Metal and also Oddworld Abe’s Oddysee, Steel Rats is a gritty platformer that you don’t see too much of anymore.
Set in a post-apocalyptic world dominated by rickety-looking machines, Steel Rats is as much about pulling off death-defying stunts as it is anything else.
The combo of unique gameplay and racing action makes Steel Rats a throwback in many ways to some of the 1990s games for the Sega Genesis and SNES.
In terms of environments, while everything is quite devastated and war-torn, there is a ton of variety from urban landscapes to rural roads ravaged by some unknown force. Combat has to incorporate the motorcycle, for better or worse, and this can lead to some uniquely puzzling moments where you wonder who thought of this concept.
After all, riding around on a motorcycle while evading deadly robots isn’t the first concept that comes to mind when thinking of a great video game. But it works here, and it does so largely based on its awesome execution.
Sound and music combine with the games levels to produce what is truly a cinematic post-apocalyptic look. Everything pops with a life and vibrancy all its own. Tate Multimedia understands that the apocalypse isn’t pretty, but that doesn’t mean that flames can’t flicker with a glowing orange light and that sparks can’t dance along the pavement in your wake. The details are where Steel Rats shines and there are so many details one review can’t really do them all justice.
Presented as an alternative version of 1940s USA, the Rockabilly culture that supposedly infused this concept is somewhat lost in the translation and addition of robots well beyond the tech of that era. That doesn’t really matter as it holds to the basic spirit of biking gangs that so infused popular culture back then. A great title for people who love platforming games, Steel Rats is also perfect for gamers that like to reward creativity and innovative approaches to tired genres.
It's tough to imagine what kind of audience Tate Multimedia had in mind for their game, but it isn't hard to see who will enjoy Steel Rats. A game that is really perfect for everyone, Steel Rats is a fun-filled romp through a dystopian world in which motorcycles and speed can overcome deadly robot enemies and environmental obstacles.
- A really, really unique concept
- Graphics and atmosphere are top notch
- Gameplay is addictive and challenging without being annoying
- Strange concept is hard to grasp at first
- Combat is weird and the game is weird in general
- 2.5D graphics are sometimes hard to read, leading to a lot of mistaken deaths