[dropcap size=big]W[/dropcap]ho would have guessed that after years and years of video game designers chasing after increasingly realistic graphics that we’d be in the middle of another pixelated game boom? It seems all those fine folks who grew up playing classic consoles are out there making their own games, keeping that spirit alive. One such game is Steel Assault which calls some inspiration from NES titles Batman and Shatterhand. The two man development team of Sri Kankanahalli and Daniel Garcia are going one step further with their modern “retro” game by trending toward authentic NES music and graphics (well, mostly).
In its simplest terms, Steel Assault is a 2D action platformer which takes place after the fall of the United States. As a result of the country’s crumbling dominance, General Magnus Pierce has attempted to institute a tyrannical rule of his own. You simply can’t let this stand! Our protagonist, a resistance fighter, dons a robotic suit and heads out to stop the General. Players will explore Washington D.C., the D.C. Metro, National Harbor, and more along the way. Because it takes place in 2040 post-U.S. civil war each area appears modern yet dirty and is overrun by enemies.
Our super-powered hero can bring a beat down with his fists or utilize long range blasts from the robotic suit. So far, a “chain” style attack as well as a large single bullet have been shown. There will be a variety of weapons to use. Of course, enemies get their own armaments to fight back. It’s too early to tell if there will be any big variations in this beat ‘em up style or if it’s following the classic model of run right, beat up folks, and continue through to boss encounters. With that said there is at least one big twist – there aren’t distinct levels. Yes, there are different locations but you go through them all with a single life. It sounds challenging but thankfully multiple difficulty modes are going to be implemented.
One of the coolest aspects about Steel Assault (at least to retro enthusiasts like me) is the developer’s massive interest in authenticism. In a neat infographic on their Kickstarter page they provide a pretty noob-friendly outline as to how the NES handled graphics and in what way they’re abiding by (or fudging) the rules. When it comes right down to it they are creating a game which is visually impossible on the system but not by far. No matter what they’re striving for something which definitely looks and feels the part. The soundtrack, however, is completely legit and being composed in Famitracker. Some of it might sound too “good” for the system, but that’s thanks to utilizing a lot of tricks and techniques.
Wish you could play Steel Assault now? Heck, so do we! NES-styled games tend to be great fun and this one certainly looks good. With a successful Kickstarter campaign they’ll be able to release it on PC. Really though, you’ve got to wonder if they’re eyeing a possible console release down the line as well. In any case, if Steel Assault has you hyped then consider either backing toward their $8,000 Kickstarter goal or upvoting on Steam Greenlight.
Track the progress of the Steel Assault Kickstarter in our Campaign Calendar.