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Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Publisher: Nintendo of America, Inc.
Developer: Nintendo EAD
Style(s): Naval Combat Sim
Synopsis: Steel Diver sends 3D gameplay under water as players take control of three different submarines and explore the briny depths, avoiding mines, battling enemy ships, and fending off giant sea creatures. The action is controlled via the 3DS's touch screen and internal gyroscope, but each vessel offers a different set of controls that gamers must master, and three different game modes help keep the action fresh. "Missions" mode is a fast-paced shooter that requires players to control their ship's speed, depth, and pitch while they travel through branching underwater pathways, fire torpedoes at enemies, and use the stylus and touch screen to fix any leaks that arise. "Periscope Strike" uses the gyroscope to let players effectively take on the role of a periscope, rotating left and right to find enemies and fire torpedoes. And multiplayer fans can join a friend for "Steel Commander," a top-down, turn-based strategy game in which two local gamers move submarine fleets around the map in search of enemy ships. ~ Christopher Brown, All Game Guide
Package Contents: 16-page Instruction Manual
Nintendo's Steel Diver is an intriguing title. It is a submarine game, which isn't particularly well represented on handhelds or consoles, so it has the immediate benefit of being something different. Also working in its favor is the potential for exciting underwater effects in 3D. Alas, Steel Diver's design is so heavily simplified that it's less of a submarine simulation in the vein of Silent Hunter and more like a side-scrolling shooter -- a very <i>slow</i> side-scrolling shooter. Though the first-person periscope view impressively shows off the system's 3D and gyroscope capabilities, allowing you to move your 3DS to locate battleships and then launch torpedoes to sink said battleships, it's more of a mini-game. Steel Diver's main mode is played from a side-view perspective. The controls are the game's true stand-out feature, but not necessarily in a positive way. Since the goal in each of Steel Diver's seven missions is to travel from point A to point B, the emphasis is placed on carefully guiding your vessel instead of blasting everything in your path. You control your submarine (there are three classes to choose from, each offering different strengths and weaknesses) solely with the touch screen interface. A horizontal slider lets you freely adjust the vessel's forward and backward speed by sliding the stylus to the left and right; moving the marker to the center will completely stop the submarine's momentum. A separate vertical meter controls the ship's height. Thus, the gameplay has you fiddling with both sliders on the touch screen while watching your submarine move through the water. Your goal is to avoid crashing into the scenery while firing missiles at either enemy submarines or obstructions by periodically tapping a missile button. Other controls include a button to temporarily cloak your vessel and the ability to plug leaks by tapping on the screen. Make it safely to the exit or finish line and you'll advance to another mission, which has you basically doing the same thing with slightly new challenges. You can also replay missions to improve on your overall time, but it's doubtful you'll want to revisit the same areas because the gameplay is simply too slow and uneventful. Nintendo obviously realized this limitation and tried to pad out the game with a turn-based strategy mode and a periscope mini-game, but neither is engaging enough to keep players hooked. Steel Diver is more a curiosity than anything else, a game that doesn't seem to be related to anything else Nintendo has done and yet isn't up to the same quality you'd expect from the publisher. It's not a simulation, and it's not really an action game, either, so the target audience is anyone's guess. Steel Diver's biggest fault, however, is that it's a submarine game with no depth, which means it shouldn't register a ping on your sonar. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide
the game requires Joystick/Gamepad.