Motorcycle combat platformer Steel Rats now has a demo (and is half price until February 14th), so you can try it for yourself instead of just being baffled by that combination of words. Tate Multimedia built an unusual game for sure, drawing inspiration from the Redlynx’s Trials series, Excite Bike, Joe Danger and more, and wrapping it all in an alt-history 1940s setting. There’s an army of angry junk robots causing trouble, and only a gang of bikers with super-science weaponry can save the day. Below, a video explaining the demo and its surprisingly technical controls a bit.
Ian Boudreau reviewed Steel Rats when it launched last year, and mostly bounced off it. It’s not a game about bombing down the road and letting nothing stand in your way – if you want to ride your bike off into the horizon, you might want to look elsewhere. Instead, it’s a very technical platformer. While the characters (who double as extra lives) don’t have a huge amount of difference between them, just mastering the basics is pretty tricky. While it’s a lot harder to crash or dismount than in a Trials game, there’s a lot of moves and buttons involved in getting from A to B.
Personally, I enjoyed the game a bit more than Ian, but it took a while for me to get used to its unusual physics. Gravity is light here, and bikes pivot lazily around a centre axis. It’s one of those games where you need to have the next second or two of actions planned out in your head or you’ll end up flailing and overcompensating. The odd feel makes it one of those quirky games with a unique look and a lot of playful ideas that’ll find their niche with some and not others, so ideal for a demo. Take it for a test drive yourself and see what you make of it.