Ratalaika games are quickly building a great reputation for fast, fun, indie games and the latest arrival from Brazilian developer Viridino Studios gives us a sci-fi prison escape with a difference.
When the game starts, you’re free from the shackles of your prison cell on board a large prison space ship, everyone else is dead but you’ll need to jump, dodge and outmanoeuvre the ships automated defense systems to collect access cards to progress to the next room on your journey to find the loading dock and escape to freedom.
There’s over 40 rooms in total, with 6 offering suit upgrades to make life a little easier. close to your starting location rooms are pretty straight forward with just a single beam appearing that moves across the room, you can easily jump over this with the A button, as you run around collecting 15 access cards, to disable the rooms security and unlock the surrounding doors.
Progressing through a couple of tooms and you’ll start getting more defense systems, there’s a yellow cube that explodes at a set location, a blue box that slowly follows you and eventually various other obstacles you’ll need to avoid.
With every new room, you’ll need to collect 15 cards, which are clearly marked, and while this will star tto get tougher, initially it’s pretty straight forward with a few hop, skips and jumps over the surrounding obstacles.
Thankfully there’s 6 rooms containing suit upgrades, adding the ability run, dash and double jump, there’s also two passive upgrades which magnetize your suit drawing the access cards towards you and a one-hit shield to give you a second chance, the best upgrade however is the resonant watch, which lets you slow down time, making that path across a busy, obstacle filled room so much easier.
From the 40 rooms, it’s unlikely you’ll visit every single one as the map shown in the top left, naturally points north, and you’re likely to take the root to the farthest point, which is inevitably where you escape, in total this is only going to take most people about 30 minutes, but it’s worth working back through a few more rooms to find the last few upgrades, especially if you start having trouble with some of the latter levels.
Once you complete the main game, you do unlock survival mode, which also houses the final achievement for collecting 50 access cards, I’m not sure if this one can be done across multiple attempts as I manage do collect 50+ on my first try.
This did award me the final achievement for 1000 Gamerscore and my total play-time was only 40 minutes.
I’m sure mileage will vary, and some users will take a little longer, but with unlimited attempts at any single room, most are likely to complete the game and all achievements in an hour or less.
The overall presentation of Steel Defier has a simple indie vibe, that reminds me of the 16bit era, it remains clean and well presented throughout, making sure that any deaths are usually through your own inability to jump straight, rather than not being able to see the obstacles.
A couple of room shave a warning light which makes vision intentionally more difficult, but your character, the key cards and the obstacles are always clear enough that you never feel cheated by death.
If you are struggling a little, there’s also the option to turn on the trajectory lines for obstacles, showing where they’re heading, I found this more useful in the rooms with a warning light as the colours of those yellow and blue cubes weren’t quite as obvious, but if you want more of a challenge, keep this turned off and likewise if you’re really struggling, head into the options and turn this one to make things a little more comfortable.
Continuing with the presentation, you’ll find small comic-book like cut-scenes providing a little story, while simple, they do a great job of explaining things, and like the sound, they’re generally at a good level, the downside is, with such a short total playtime, neither really have the limelight for long enough to make much of an impact.
Thankfully at only £4.99 (£3.99 for the first two weeks), Steel Defier isn’t poor value, even though it’s over quite quickly, achievement hunters will find a fun game that’s actually enjoyable to play, while offering a full 1000 Gamerscore in an hour or less, and less experienced gamers can look forward to a pretty steady skill-increase as the game progresses.
So if you’re looking for a short-sharp game that’s fun to play and an easy 1000 Gamerscore, Steel Defier is well worth checking out.
If you’re looking for a short-sharp game that’s fun to play and an easy 1000 Gamerscore, Steel Defier is well worth checking out.
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