Updated: Jan 20, 2019
Thanks to Tate Multimedia for providing a review code for the purposes of review and coverage.
When it comes to motorcycle-based games, most gamers will often think of beautifully rendered and seamless worlds where players can freely roam on their motorcycles in a 3D setting. Steel Rats however, the latest release from developer Tate Multimedia, is a visceral and groundbreaking evolution of the 2.5D action-arcade genre fusing destructive, octane-fueled, motorbike combat and death-defying stunt gameplay. With such a description, it proves to be possibly the most daunting aspect of the entire experience-its 2.5D world. But while certain elements are original and live up to the promise that Tate Multimedia gave repeatedly in their marketing campaign, the rest of the game ends up becoming a hollow, bland experience that frequently felt recycled in the game’s meekly short 5-hour campaign. But even as such, due to the developer’s respectable decision to price the game at a discounted 20-dollar price, it saves the failing graces of the experience, resulting in a mildly enjoyable and respectable 2.5D time that attempts to blend a bold world and seamless gameplay but ultimately falls short due to recycled levels and a hollow progression system.
The stand-out and center aspect of the experience is undoubtedly the campaign, grounded by a thinly written campaign showcasing a four-member gang of motorcycle riders collaborating against an extra-terrestrial enemy. This synopsis and effectively the entire story are unfortunately just as clichéd as it may appear at first glance. The story at points is practically non-existent with the only notable storytelling being seen with the transition between the worlds. For an experience that is solely reliant on this 5-hour campaign, it was confusing to say the least that the story was so off-handedly included.
In addition to the overarching story, the writing on display here is both thinly written and reeking of manufactured clichés. From overbearing attempts at puns to stiff lines of dialogue, there was not a single line in the game that ever set off any sort of charm or attachment to these characters. The detachment I felt with the four central characters wasn’t helped by the somewhat lackluster voice acting.