PC, Linux, PlayStation, Xbox, Switch
The bases for whether I cover a game on Buried Treasure are many and various, and incapable of being pinned down lest they wink out of quantum existence. However, in the case of frenetic dodge-em-up Steel Defier, there is one overriding cause: I’m good at it.
This is a very simple, very short game, about attempting to break out of some manner of space prison. Each of the game’s square rooms has a central button that when trodden on unleashes all manner of security measures. Your goal is, as is the case in any prison break, to avoid contact with the ever-growing number of blocks and bars and cones, while gathering fifteen randomly spawning floating tickets per level.
Yeah, it doesn’t make a lick of sense, but then which arcade game ever did? The fun here is that each new room adds another layer of security, until you’re jumping and darting and dodging like a loon to gather up all those tickets, switch off the security, and enter the next.
Every few rooms, scattered at random in the procedurally generated map, there’s a machine that’ll give you a new ability. You know, like in prisons where they occasionally replace the deadly security with useful equipment for helping you evade said security as you continue? These include a double-jump, a dash, and a run button, none of which I ever used at any point, but also more useful skills like slowing time.
You don’t have to find all these power-ups (although I really recommend the time one) to finish the game. I did, because I’m thorough, and handsome, and probably best. And the whole thing was over in about half an hour.
Now, the brevity of the game does make the £5 tag perhaps a touch high (although just £3.50 on Steam right now), especially given just how basic the concept is, and how little replay value it has. (I mean, you can play it as often as you want, but it won’t be dramatically different for doing so.) It does have a sweet little Survival mode bonus, where you just keep collecting tickets in the same (tentacular) room, as security escalates to daft proportions.
I do really wish there were harder modes for the Campaign, however. Which are words I almost never type. Right now I’m playing through Jedi Survivor on the easiest mode, because I can’t be arsed with replaying entire sections since the last save point because some random boss dropped out the ceiling. Screw that. But being apparently preternaturally good at Steel Defier (a FACT I’m basing on the sweet message from the developer at the end maintaining it’s difficult to complete) means I’d love a more intricate version, and certainly one with greater variety in level size and shape. Like I say, I never found a use for running or dashing, nor even double-jumping, and those are all skills it would have been interesting to learn and master… had there only been a need for them.
This is a wisp of a game, but I just had fun playing it, and that’s the real criteria for inclusion.
(Quick footnote: Normally I only use screenshots I’ve taken myself on BT, but Steel Defier was a real bugger in this regard, so the images here are the publisher’s.)