This 2D Titanfall-Like On Steam Is Already Wowing The Internet
Gif: Take Aim Games / Kotaku
If you’ve been looking forward to a new Titanfall game… well, I don’t have any news for that (but know that I’m just as sad as you are). However, what I’m here to tell you about is this simple side-scrolling, mech-based indie game that just hit Steam. It looks like it takes inspiration from more than a few successful games, chief among them being Titanfall and Metroid. If this premise piqued your interest, keep reading.
Steelborn hit Steam yesterday courtesy of developer Vega Horizon Studio and publisher Take Aim Games. First impressions reveal the obvious: With a big-ass mech you can pop in and out of with the push of a button, the name Titanfall is simply reflexive. But on the ground? Here things feel like a weird alien life platformer that gives me some serious Metroid vibes, at least aesthetically. I can’t say whether or not it falls into the Metroidvania sub-genre, but the game’s Steam page promises “many mysteries and secrets hidden in hard-to-reach places” in its hostile alien world.
Steelborn Looks Like a ‘Titanfall Demake’
With obvious comparisons to the much-loved but frustratingly elusive Titanfall series, it’s no secret why the game has garnered attention on Reddit, becoming a top post on a forum with over 36 million members. Besides referring to it as a “Titanfall Demake”, other comparisons from people include Blaster Master, Metal Mech, Starbound and Metal Slug. Two of them are directly referenced, along with Contra and Ranger-X on the game’s official Steam page, so it’s not afraid to wear its inspiration on its sleeve.
Surprisingly, there were a few other cool things I noticed in the game’s opening moments that seemed like fitting homages to other classics: The opening space scene looks straight out of Halo: Combat Evolved’s opening, which takes you on a journey of regular No Man’s Sky Sky sequence over a planet. The synth bass used on the soundtrack also screams Mass Effect (which segues into a very fitting and sizzling metal meltdown). And the kind of enemy that lays you down and grabs you right reminds me of Half-Life 2’s needles – you can even use them as a quasi-movement technique (though you’ll take damage).
As a game, Steelborn is a bit harsh on first impressions. The first boss took me a while to get my head around since I was still learning the jetpack moves, and it doesn’t help that the game likes to throw a lot of enemies at you while you’re trying to dodge and attack the bad guys. great. But once I got into the flow of it, it felt like there was a good, fun, fast-paced action game here. You can also, of course, move around with your big machine, which makes you mostly impervious to small enemies. In addition to some combat vehicles, the mech also plays an essential role in clearing inaccessible areas, allowing for more platforming and exploration.
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On a gamepad, you’ll aim with the right analog stick and move with the left, so there’ll be a dual feel of side-scrolling and platforming. And while it hasn’t been verified on Steam Deck, I was able to get it to work pretty well, although it did flash the SMPTE-like color bars on the first release. She started the game shortly after; this is a common Steam Deck feature with games that are not directly supported but will still work.
Steelborn is currently on sale on Steam for just over $13. Although it’s a little challenging at first, it has a lot going for it, especially the great music and beautiful art design. And I love a game that isn’t afraid to be honest about its influences – which in this case are some pretty awesome games.