Code Name STEAM is a strange hybrid of turn-based tactics and action, but its simple mechanics create plenty of head-scratching decisions in single or multiplayer. Carefully selecting my squad and positioning them for maximum effect on the battlefield is tense and satisfying, even when I end up watching my goofy team crumble under a brutal counter attack.
This is the strangest, most wilful game Intelligent Systems has ever made - and that's part of its greatness.
This fresh take on tactics games adds a bit of steam, folklore, and shooter action to the turn-based combat. Plus, it's hard to pass up the crazy premise of Abe Lincoln fighting aliens.
The ingredients are there for a transcendent action strategy but the reality is that Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. is disappointingly mundane and only fitfully entertaining.
I had a blast besting stages, but the game loses momentum with lengthy enemy turns
Code Name: STEAM is misguided and horrifically dull
Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. fails to live up to its potential, offering a clunky and frustrating tactical experience.
There are some things that drive me crazy about Code Name S.T.E.A.M's mission design, and I really think the difficulty balance could have used another pass, but these issues are balanced by the excellent mechanics. Intelligent Systems know their way around the strategy genre, and it shows in Code Name S.T.E.A.M's deep roster and intricate level design. It's more frustrating than it should be in the early going, but stick with it. Silly as it might be, Code Name S.T.E.A.M is ultimately worth it.
For the strategy gamer, Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. is a must-grab. But even for those who may not be too familiar or comfortable with strategy games or the genre as a whole, Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. still merits a healthy look. The title eases the player into the ideas that relate to both the game itself and the genre as a whole, and highlights necessary details through pointed, yet laughably-bad dialogue. Players will enjoy Code Name: S.T.E.A.M., and I personally guarantee this, or my name isn't ol' "Honest Abe" Lincoln. (Guarantee subject to availability, and void where prohibited, and also, I'm not Abe Lincoln, so that kind of nullifies that guarantee anyway. See what you learn in the fine print?)
Meanwhile, the gameplay is a heady, engrossing experience. But it's also one that is frequently undermined by the tedious and protracted nature of enemy turns. Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. is a decent, respectable game with some truly euphoric highs amid equitably frustrating lows.
The game's Japanese release carries the subtitle Lincoln Vs Aliens, and in many ways the game benefits from the schlocky extra tag. The historical and literary figures, married with the silver-age comic book visuals make for an engaging world which begs for you to be a part of it. The downside is that the tactical gameplay simply isn't in the same league as the developer's other work, rewarding drawn-out, cautious play above any more meaningful tactics. Though there is fun to be had here, Codename S.T.E.A.M. disappointingly lacks the purity that made Intelligent Systems' earlier work so essential.
The premise behind Code Name: STEAM is so ridiculous that I couldn't help but enjoy myself the more I played it. It doesn't go very far beyond a "there are aliens at this location, get rid of them" type of story, but its gameplay, as brutal as it can be at times, can be rewarding when you figure out just the right combination of squad members to use during missions. Its initial playthrough will take around 10 hours to complete, but collecting all of the sub-weapons and boilers will take players way longer to achieve. Throw in a multiplayer experience that offers three different game types to enjoy, and I could see players spending a lot of time with Code Name: Steam for a while.
Code Name S.T.E.A.M. presents a lot of interesting ideas, but never pulls them together to form a cohesive and fun experience. There's certainly a lot here to enjoy, but to get to it you'll have to suffer a little boredom.
A charming Steampunk romp with the spirit of the Silver Age of Comics, which stumbles thanks to some awkward design choices.
Code Name: STEAM has gone from an unplayable tragedy to something that's not quite as terrible. Nintendo, thankfully, addressed the biggest problem when it enabled fast-forwarding with that recent update, but it shouldn't stop with that. Intelligent Systems needs to patch in a way to get a better understanding of your surroundings. The way it's set up now, this game is like playing chess where certain pawns secretly have the powers of a queen.
Intelligent Systems' super weird steampunk-themed strategy game isn't quite fully cooked, but it's tactical combat shines through all the same
'Code Name S.T.E.A.M.'s' biggest strength, its 3D perspective, also leads to its biggest weakness, resulting in gameplay that feels less like a battle and more like an interactive loading screen.
Code Name S.T.E.A.M. blazes ahead with entertaining characters, a robust host of missions, and engaging combat. Just the right amount of difficulty will keep any strategy fan engaged, and collectibles and multiplayer will keep you in long after the credits roll. Nintendo's IP is going at only one speed: full S.T.E.A.M. ahead.
Put together, it is hugely successful, not only offering an accessible strategy adventure with charismatic heroes and a fistful of innovations but one that in doing so refreshes the somewhat tired turn-based genre.
This unorthodox take on squad-based strategy can be muddled and mulish, but it’s also thrillingly distinctive.