It’s always disheartening to see a Kickstarter project not make funding. For whatever reason they just fall short of the mark by the time the clock ticks zero. Most either give up and walk away or try again for a second time. And then there are those who find an alternate route to keep their game in development despite the “failure”. And Steamroll by Anticto is one such game that persevered despite their setbacks.
Back in June they ran a Kickstarter to fund the rolling puzzler Steamroll (you can read my announcement piece on it here) and unfortunately fell just under the halfway mark before losing steam (pun most assuredly intended). Still, that didn’t stop them from continuing on and rolled out (yes, another bad pun) the game on Steam a couple months later via its “Early Access” platform. Normally we don’t cover games that didn’t get funding but still released but this is a game that’s got quite an innovative angle to it rarely seen in the industry these days.
All right, this is really going to date me but I was a huge fan of Marble Madness back in the day. God knows I sucked at it but I still really enjoyed trying to steer a shiny metal ball down ramps and around obstacles to get to the end of each level. And I never got past the first couple of levels. I was that bad. But it didn’t stop me from trying one more time. And Steamroll is a modern version of this addictive ball play. But, of course, I still suck at it. Just not as hard.
Here’s what I love most about Steamroll. It’s a game that blends the old with the new. You drive around in a big ball called a Scarabeus, occasionally stopping at base or charging station to both reload on steam and to be able to shoot smaller balls around the screen. The first level alone brought me back to my days playing Marble Madness in that I had a hell of a time riding up a ramp to an elevated platform so that I could continue on. Let’s just say it took a while to maneuver it just right.
The puzzle part, though, is the most enjoyable. You become stationary when you deploy your home base and you can move the launcher around to shoot your balls at various obstacles and walls. And you get several different types, such as a wall that you can use as a way to steer your regular balls or a ramp to move them up to higher levels and even a bomb to clear debris or remove your previously placed walls and such.
Steamroll isn’t a perfect game, but it is still a very fun diversion that will tax your mind as you try to strategically place objects around the room so that you can bounce your balls around to unlock the exit. I’ll admit that I didn’t get particularly far in the game but what I did experience was very much enjoyable. Maybe eventually I’ll even be able to make it deeper into the mines to uncover whatever mysteries lay below and to rescue any trapped miners. Until then, though, I might need a map…or walkthrough.