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Steel Rats pits biker gangs against the robopocalypse

Highway to hell

Interesting post-apocalyptic bike combat/platforming game Steel Rats was first announced in October of last year (accompanied by an oddly cut CGI trailer) - we've got the first official gameplay footage within, showing off just how much you can do on two wheels. A lot, I'd imagine, when one of them transforms into a buzzsaw capable of scything through concrete and metal alike.

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Looking like a post-apocalyptic take on Excite Bike (or maybe Joe Danger), gameplay looks to involve managing speed and the angle of your bike while switching between several distinct lanes. Ideally you'll want to avoid crashing headlong into obstacles while maneuvering so that you can bring your bike's weapons to bear on whatever angry murderbot is blocking your way. There's clearly more focus here on positioning than shifting your weight on the bike, at least.

A key feature of the game seems to be the transforming front wheel on your bike, allowing you to saw straight through smaller obstacles and robots, and also adhere to surfaces to drive up sheer walls and even upside-down if required. Activating your blade-wheel in midair also looks to act as a lunging attack, allowing you to alter your trajectory in mid-air. If nothing else it looks mechanically interesting, and I'd rather try something unusual and fresh than yet another nigh-identical precision platformer patterned after Super Meat Boy.

Developers Tate Multimedia are no strangers to games involving life-or-death stunts atop two wheels and a screaming engine, as they had previously developed the Urban Trial Freestyle series. While those earlier games felt more like cheap pretenders to Redlynx's Trials series crown, Steel Rats seems to have a much stronger identity of its own, even if some comparisons can be drawn to other motorcycle-themed games.

There's no firm release date for Steel Rats at present, but Tate Multimedia are shooting for a launch this year. You can see a little more of the game on its official site here, along with an extensive gallery of gameplay and cutscene/intro screenshots.

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