Steam Marines is a squad based Roguelike set on a steampunk spaceship. It features tactical play focused on positioning and careful use of resources. Built to keep you on your toes as you progress through the decks of your besieged ship while clearing enemies and trying to reach each level's elevator.
User reviews: Mixed (208 reviews)
Release Date: Sep 4, 2013

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Recommended By Curators

"A tactical turn based roguelike set in space. Highly reminiscent of Warhammer 40k's Space Hulk series."
Read the full review here.

Reviews

“Steam Marines is a dark and compelling game, which will force you to learn to play the hard way and make you deeply regret every mistake you make.”
8/10 – The Indie Hut

“There are a lot of tactics. It's such a brutal game and it makes it even more brutal that you didn't realize how brutal it is when you start. Then you realize you died because you made one, literally one, wrong move.”
N/A – Indie Games AAA

“Players must control their Steam Marines and try to get as far as possible through the ship’s elaborate, procedurally-generated levels. When I say “try”, I really do mean it.”
N/A – The Wargamer

About This Game

Steam Marines is a squad based Roguelike set on a steampunk spaceship. It features tactical play focused on positioning and careful use of resources. Built to keep you on your toes as you progress through the decks of your besieged ship while clearing enemies and trying to reach each level's elevator.


Permadeath
Build your marines up into long range or up close death machines, but don't expect any mercy. Death is permanent and fallen marines are gone forever. Finding survivors not guaranteed.

Turn and Squad Based Gameplay
Command up to four marines, each with their own gear, talents, and Action Points. Positioning is critical - even a lone enemy can be lethal! Sight and snipe or funnel enemies into a choke point and blow them up!
  • Five marine classes - long range death, shotgun knockback, grenade launchers, all to help the squad
  • Four ranks for promotion and talent tree access
  • Five perks to further differentiate each marine
  • Exoskeleton suits stripped from the hulks of dead enemies - flamethrowers and face punching
  • Deck bosses that will challenge you but do not negate the tactics you have learned (no "immunities"!)

Procedural Generation
The steampunk spaceship is composed of multiple decks you must progress through. Different environments and creatures await, and you'll never know for sure what lies beyond the next corner.
  • Five human ship decks with a sixth Alien Deck
  • Procedural decks with destructible walls, high/low ground, and tactical variations
  • Randomized weapons, armor, and enemy units

Score, Difficulty, and New Game Plus
Get rated on your overall performance. Manage to fight your way past 30 levels of mayhem? New Game Plus offers fresh challenges. Four levels of difficulty with one being for the truly masochistic!

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP or higher.
    • Processor: 800 MHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL supported graphics card with 32 MB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 120 MB available space
    • Sound Card: OpenAL supported sound card
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows XP or higher.
    • Processor: 2 GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL supported graphics card with 128 MB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 120 MB available space
    • Sound Card: OpenAL supported sound card
    • Additional Notes: Widescreen monitor resolution
    Minimum:
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.7 or higher
    • Processor: 800 MHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL supported graphics card with 32 MB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 120 MB available space
    • Sound Card: OpenAL supported sound card
    Recommended:
    • OS: Mac OS X 10.7 or higher
    • Processor: 2 GHz
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL supported graphics card with 128 MB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 120 MB available space
    • Sound Card: OpenAL supported sound card
    • Additional Notes: Widescreen monitor resolution
    Minimum:
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
    • Processor: 800 MHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL supported graphics card with 32 MB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 120 MB available space
    • Sound Card: OpenAL supported sound card
    Recommended:
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
    • Processor: 800 MHz
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: OpenGL supported graphics card with 32 MB RAM
    • Hard Drive: 120 MB available space
    • Sound Card: OpenAL supported sound card
Helpful customer reviews
82 of 89 people (92%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
10.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 30, 2014
I originally recommended this game, but Ive had to change miy mind,

At first the game is enjoyable, the challenge is certainly there but the game is lacking in depth.

1) Massive jumps in difficulty between Easy/Normal etc. Enemes on Easy can die in 1 hit, whereas on Normal they can take 4 (thats quite a jump)

2) Limited skill tree. You marines can only level up 4 times and this seriously puts them at a major disadvantage late game (especially on Normal and above)

3) NG+ is not fleshed out. This connects to point 2, due to the limited levelling up and progression, the only reason to play NG+ is for a scaled challenge. Completed the game on Easy? NG+ is Easy 1.5 etc etc

4) The game is meant to be played multiple times, but there is a slight lack in variey (especially in enemies)

After completing a few runs, Ive seen enough. There are better games out there
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52 of 54 people (96%) found this review helpful
56.6 hrs on record
Posted: January 10
When I think rogue-like, I think of a good, challenging (sometimes brutal), game that I can play in a couple of hours. I think of ascending difficulty where I try to find better gear and become more powerful so that I can attempt to defeat ever more challenging enemies until they kill me, or I manage to beat the end objective. Completing the game should be a proud moment that makes me want to brag to my friends that I finally accomplished it.

Sadly, Steam Marines fails to achieve most of this. The basic game mechanics aren't bad, and the first couple of levels were fun, but it gets sorely repetitive very quickly. Each area introduces new enemies, but they all do pretty much the same thing (except the bosses, but even they only have a minor twist to make them unique). On the rare occasions when you find new weapons and armor, odds are your marines can't use it, or it will be worse than what you already have. Once you figure out how to beat the enemies, the game becomes very formulaic and more of a chore to trudge through each level. At normal difficulty, each level took about 30 minutes (that number can vary a lot). With 25 levels, it just takes way too long for a rogue-like.

When I beat the game, I wasn't jumping for joy. Rather, I felt myself saying "finally, it's done." I decided to raise the difficulty to see if it got better. The enemies were tougher and more numerous, but still did the same thing. The levels just took longer and longer to beat and felt more like a crawl. After a couple of levels, I decided I had better things to do than wait a minute or two between every turn while the computer made its move.

UPDATE: Changing the AI speed did help speed up the computer's turn significantly, but wasn't enough to reduce the tedium enough for me to want to play this game again. I got through a couple more levels and decided I'd rather spend my time playing something else. I do appreciate that the developers are still working on the game, so hopefully they'll be able to add enough variety to make me want to play it again.
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46 of 72 people (64%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: November 7, 2014
At first I was unable to play this game, after working through several guides I figured out there was an issue with the steam overlay. Kinda frustrating, but the game itself is fun but a little overpericed IMO, I'd wait for a steam deal if I were you, I was expacting a similar FTL experience but the UI is challenging and the tutorial only gives you the bare basics. IF you love roguelikes it might be worth trying, but I wouldn't pay full price.
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: April 2
Summary: The interface / control scheme in this game is in dire need of some polishing / streamlining. There are so many other amazing roguelikes out there that I just can't be bothered. Heck, there's even a straight up Space Hulk game on Steam which may be less terrible, so if you're craving the derelict spaceship atmosphere of the beloved board game, maybe that's worth a shot instead?
__________________________________

After a brief glance at the development logs, I have my doubts as to whether or not the developer will produce that any time soon. The game was in early access for at least a year, and I made a point of not playing it til after it was officially released since my backlog is already ridiculous as is. (I think I got it on a steep discount or as part of a Humble Bundle.)

In my admittedly brief time with the game, I found a number of irritations:

- Long (non adjustable?) delay after your squad members run out of action points before it switches to the next squad member. (Weirdly enough, you can adjust the enemy AI delay re: the length of time for their actions. It's a small quirk, but I knew if I played for awhile, nitpicks like this would drive me nuts.)
- Needs easier access to contextual info. It would be nice if I could just hover the mouse cursor over a tile to get more information. I don't think left click to focus does the trick, but I honestly can't remember.
- Enemies telegraph their location during their phase. (I was playing on Easy to try to learn the mechanics / interface, so I'm not sure if this applies to higher difficulties.)

I found myself wishing it had a user interface closer to something like Dungeons of Dredmor, which had excellent visual feedback and mouse support. Maybe the devs have to work around limitations of the Torque engine that they used to develop Steam Marines. Either way, there are better roguelikes to spend your time and money on.

There may be a fantastic game in here somewhere, but I doubt I'll put more than a couple hours into it out of morbid curiousity. Maybe I'm a masochist, but I find it interesting to see how badly a UI / mechanic can be implemented, which makes me appreciate all those little things I usually take for granted in other better games!

As it stands, I can't recommend it at anywhere near full price. The regular price on Steam is absurd, as I wouldn't pay more than $3 - 5 max and can't see it being worth more than a tenner if it ever gets proper UI updates. :(
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5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
4.0 hrs on record
Posted: March 5
This game is very bad, you have a 2 block sight and always have a 100% chance of hitting but not of doing damage. The sniper sucks with the 2 block range because he needs a long range to hit anything. The jump from easy to normal is alot goes from 1 hit enemies that deal 2 damage to 4 hit enemies doing 6 damage that may not seem like alot but classes only have 8-15 hp. Theres also enemies everywhere.
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8 of 14 people (57%) found this review helpful
7.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 4, 2014
If a roguelike met space hulk, this would be their mean offspring. It's a very unforgiving squad based dungeon crawler. The robots on the ship want you dead, and they are very good at it. You need to recognize each type of enemy and learn to deal with them. You can, with some luck, find equipment to help you out. But first and foremost, you need to keep your squad healthy. Learn how the enemies move, learn how to cut paths through the ship, and make sure to cover the entrances to the rooms you're in. It is a very bleak game. You're not gonna find health packs all over to heal your squad, but at the same time you are invested in them. There's multiple classes, each good for different roles, and together they mesh to make it survivable. Losing a squad member hurts, and you will be fighting to save a squadie if he gets cut off from the rest. I do wish that firing was more free line of sight, ala space hulk, but it's all tile based, which offers a different strategic element, though I find it works pretty well with the constricting corridors you often find yourself in. Playing the tutorial is a must. There's not a lot of clicking to be done, as most controls are done with the keyboard, and if you don't play the tutorial, you will not know what keys to use. I almost wish they had just completely removed the mouse from the controls. I think it just confuses people more than anything. Graphically, it's retro. My only real gripe is that I wish there were death animations and corpses left from your squad members instead of them just dissapearing. If you like roguelikes and you like tactical gameplay, and you don't mind (prefferably like) the retro presentation, it's a pretty fun game. I feel like there should be more depth to it, more classes offering more weaponry, etc, but it is what it is, and what it is is a pretty solid, cuthroat scifi roguelike with squad management. Just don't give up after you get murdered the first couple times.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.1 hrs on record
Posted: April 26
Worthwhile if you're a fan of turn-based strategy roguelikes. (As in your whole squad moves as one turn, followed by the enemy; not one movement = 1 turn.)

I would have liked a bit more diversity between various levels and enemies to more of a progrssion reward feeling from one area to the next. As it stands, the game does have a bit of a grind feeling to it after a while. Still, it's decent if you're looking for a casual game here and there.

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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
6.8 hrs on record
Posted: December 22, 2014
Steam Marines is a great turn based game similar to the Warhammer 40,000 game "Space Hulk". You control a squad of four marines trapped on board a spaceship full of human killing robots all wanting to rip your squishy human squad into teeny tiny pieces. The game is rouge like so each time you play the ship, enemy and loot layout is slightly different meaning nothing is predicable.

When you start the game you select classes and perks for each of your four marines, I higher recommend not taking duplicate classes and some loot is class specific. The leader & scout class are a must. Marines have an allotted amount of action points which are depleted by one everytime a marine moves, fights, shoots, open doors, use items etc... Fight your way to the elevator on each floor and take on the boss mob in order to advance.

Easy mode is great to gets to grip with the game but the true mature of this game is best played on normal mode. Easy mode is too easy, marines have lots of action points, enemies have lowered health and action points. Not much of a challenge.

Normal mode is good but is ridiculously difficult. Ideally this needs nerfing slightly and for that reason I rate this game 6.5/10. If normal mode was adjusted slightly to make it passably hard as appose to impossible I would rate this 8/10.
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
58.9 hrs on record
Posted: February 3
Steam Marines is the definition of a difficult tactical game. It is simply Brutal. Every little mistake you make means your death. There was no other game I have played that made me over think my every movement and regret so much some of my actions.

Overall it is a carefully crafted turn base strategy tactical combat game. The mechanics are very interesting, once you get a grasp on them … usually after you first 100 deaths in level 1. The UI is slow to grasp, it took me many days till I finally get to understand that your Soldiers can level up and use skills. But once you got everything … it gets very interesting.

Despite the brutal difficulty of the game, one cannot say it is unfair. The game stated that is difficult, so the deaths are caused by your decisions alone. On the contrary of what people think that this game is unbeatable … once you understand the way to play it, you are going to wreck those Aliens. You just need patience, a lot of smart thinking and repetition …. and luck … tons of luck.

I suggest this game to any turn base fans over there.
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3 of 6 people (50%) found this review helpful
10.7 hrs on record
Posted: February 27
I love tactics and i love space, not only that this gem of a game combines both togheter but it does it VERY VERY well.

An hard game but not unfair it's the type of game i spend hours in witouth realising it. The classes, the weapons, the skills and the tactical elements are massivly great.

It has aliens and si-fi horrors and youl feel trapped with great music + nice gameplay what is there else to ask?

An absolute must for anyone who love tactictal games, roguelike games, space marines and having fun.

Kero
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
2.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 24, 2014
Gave it a whirl after buying today. Still has a bug where your guys don't move but it uses a movement point, but not that big a deal. Got horribly slaughtered in the first room and hallway, but had a blast getting owned. Can't wait to get a chance to play this bad-boy more. Reminds me of a much less forgiving XCOM-esque squad combat system.
Will re-rate possibly once I get more time in this.
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2 of 4 people (50%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
6.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 10, 2014
Seriously good but seriously difficult game, permadeath really forces you to think about the consequences of every move you make, it runs very well on my Gentoo Linux machine too which is a good bonus
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162 of 201 people (81%) found this review helpful
11.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 27, 2013
Early Access Review
“In space no one can hear you scream” goes the famous film quote. They might just hear you scream after playing this intentionally hard roguelike game.

Steam Marines is a roguelike set onboard a ship that has been attacked. You control a squad of four soldiers who must reach the elevator on each procedurally generated floor to proceed through the ship and eventually find freedom. It would be fair to say the game takes a good amount of influence from the Space Hulk/Crusade and X-Com game series, with its dark corridors and rooms with ‘fog of war’ and action points to spend on movement and actions. While not an original concept, Steam Marines manages to blend its influences into a neat game.

Your squad can be created from randomised suggestions or built from scratch. There are four classes to choose from, a leader, support, scout and grenadier. As the names suggest, their weaponry fits their names, the leader takes the front with a close range shotgun, scout with a long-range sniper gun and support with a high capacity machine gun. Having one of each is probably a good idea to get a good balance of strategy and combat.

Steam Marines throws you in the deep end with a few words of encouragement to keep you afloat for a minute while you play the tutorial. The tutorial gives you a chance to see how the basics work such as movement and combat. Once completed, you are on your own to work the rest out. The tutorial could go into a little more detail for people who are not familiar with this genre of game. After reading the developers forums I found out a few features I knew nothing about. This is a Steam Early Access game meaning the game is still in development, so this can be excused but it is worth keeping an eye on the forums for this reason alone.

After a floor or two, the enemy number becomes many, and you will likely hit a brick wall as you learn the game the hard way. Death is permanent and once your squad is gone, it is game over. Tactics is important as it is in any strategy combat game, never knowing what is around the next corner or behind a door. You will soon learn that moving a soldier with few remaining Action Points into a new room is a silly mistake as they will likely face a couple of enemy units with no points to take action with. The game is turn based, so killing as many enemy units or getting into cover before you run out of AP is essential, the enemy can be brutal even on the easiest difficulty. Tactics such as flanking enemies that have shields works particularly well and grants bonus damage.

Steam Marines features a simple leveling up system that improves the soldiers stats such as their strength and class attributes. Your soldiers also have talents which are awarded as you progress and include attacks and defense buffs and special attacks which are important to take advantage of.

Much like the X-COM series, you form a bond with your soldiers and you will go to lengths to protect them. One mistake will make you scream as a group of enemy units slaughters half of your squad (if you are lucky). You can explore the ship to find items such as new weapons, health and AP replenishment and boosts. Survivors can join your team to replace any dead soldiers, but they will be weak and need to leveled up.

The graphics are an 8-bit pixel art style that is dark and at times scary. Scary, but not in a make you jump out of your seat way, more in a way that you never know what is in the next room. Your heart will miss a beat or two as you enter a new room to see what is inside. The audio adds to the atmosphere with again dark, slow and eerie effects that remind you of X-COM. It creates an opposing atmosphere and builds the tension very well.

There was little I did not like about Steam Marines. One minor annoyance is the auto-switch to new soldier once the selected soldiers AP has run out. If you manually choose a new soldier it can sometimes auto-switch to another without you realising and you end up moving the wrong soldier. You can switch this off in the options and I definitely recommend doing it!

Steam Machines is a hard game, but it is fairly balanced and death will most likely be player error rather than the game. It is a dark, atmosphere filled strategy roguelike that works very well taking in a lot of inspiration from classic games. If you enjoy roguelike or tactics games this is a perfect game for you. If you are a newcomer, you may find the learning curve a little steep at the start, but it is something that can be reached and enjoyed.

You can buy Steam Marines via the homepage at http://www.steammarines.com/ or via Steam here.

Gameplay - 8/10
Tough but fair combat system. The approach to the levels gets you thinking the best strategy to reach the elevators.
Graphics - 7.5/10
Nice pixel art 8bit style graphics that give a dark, opposing atmosphere.
Sound - 7.5/10
Eerie, slow background effects that builds up the suspense.
Final Score 8/10

Review originally posted on http://www.gamergeddon.com
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147 of 182 people (81%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
8.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 10, 2014
Post Early Access Update:
After the release the game still features numerous bugs, glitches and even chrashes. The game still does not feel like a full release. The random generator still spawns you in closed off rooms, the controls are still clunky, the UI still needs work and the overall experience still hasn't improved enough for me to recommend it.

Original Early Access Review:
I'm at a loss with Steam Marines. The game has promise and I might recommend it when it's finished, but so far the game is just lacking that special umph to make it a great experience rather than a mediocre one.

In Steam Marines you start the game looking over the tutorial, end up confused, start up a game and die... horribly. After 2 or so games and tinkering with the classes I started to get a grip on things. You choose a squad of 4 marines at the beginning of the game and each class has a different weapon and a different skill tree. The skill tree is interesting but basic, each level you get to choose a passive or an activated ability. I never did use the powers much as they take multiple points of Action Points (AP being the resource you use to move, shoot etc.) and it always seemed better to just fire regularly.

The gameplay is a slow tile-based tactical slog through a ghost ships with robots and other baddies crawling out of the walls before attacking. This can be very frustrating as a wrong move and lack of items to restore AP can lead to dead marines very quickly. Furthermore, the random dungeon generation really needs some touch-ups as rooms with no doors or walls placed on top of each other make it impossible to move without breaking down walls and you need to do this to create proper tactical spacing.

At the end of every level you're rated on your performance and if you're a careful player like me you'll most likely end with a negative score even if all your marines survived the level. The score seems to indicate that this is supposed to be a fast-paced tactical RPG but the gameplay itself rewards slow and methodical movement. It's frustrating to say the least.

I'm not saying there isn't fun to be had with this game but in-between bouts of frustration, lackluster UI, boring music and a retro look that works but still needs a little work done (dropped items currently don't show up on the map) it just isn't worth the full price. With some polish I'm sure this gem will shine but right now I just can't recommend it.
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62 of 75 people (83%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
12.1 hrs on record
Posted: September 28, 2014
They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. In Steam Marines, even the things that kill you make you stronger. And there are a lot of things that are very good at killing you.

As someone who hasn't played a bunch of roguelikes, this games is brutally difficult. I have often immediately regretted certain tactical decisions, and hung my head in shame as I ended my turn, resigning my squad to a swift and gruesome death.

The procedurally-generated levels, combined with the ability to completely demolish walls (I have a strange compulsion to destroy every wall I see) and carve out your own path gives this game a great deal of replayability. You don't memorize levels to make progress, you learn to plan and make better decisions. You will learn when to lure or flank the enemy, and when to shove the enemy off your ship a la Harrison Ford in Air Force One.

And when you get too frustrated, there's always hope. Maybe you'll get a giant metal exoskeleton you can use to exact fiery flame-thrower vengeance on your unwitting foes...
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80 of 107 people (75%) found this review helpful
12.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 30, 2013
Early Access Review
Steam Marines is a brutal tactical turn based squad based sci-fi roguelike. It is reminiscant of games such as Dungeons of Dredmore and Sword of the Stars: The Pit mixed up with the AP and Squad systems of X-Com.

The game currently offers 4 classes; Leader, Scout, Grenadier and Support which offer a variety of different play styles. This game does have a steep learning curve and like all roguelikes it is a very frustrating but rewarding experience.

If you enjoy roguelikes and tactical squad based games then this title is definitely for you, otherwise you may end up putting your fist through the monitor in sheer frustration.
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41 of 50 people (82%) found this review helpful
4.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 27, 2013
Early Access Review
Difficult? Yes.
Unfair? Maybe.
Fun? Definetly.

Steam Marines isn't a game for everybody. Hell, it's not a game for me -I haven't managed to beat it on easy-. But that doesn't mean it's not enjoyable. The artstyle is appealing, steampunk settings mixed with retro-like graphics. The music is appropiate and morale-boosting, especially when fighting those tough bosses. The game also has a rather unique sense of humour, which I'm really fond of.

Overall, for a game still in development, it's good value. Give it a try, if you like rogue-like, permadeath experiences.

(Also, I'd like to point out that I've played the DRM free version for about 10~ hours. Steam one, not so much.)
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24 of 25 people (96%) found this review helpful
6.1 hrs on record
Posted: March 8, 2014
Early Access Review
The game plays as a rapid dungeon delver, where instead of a singular character you control a team and battle against enemies to reach your destination, an elevator to different levels of the ship. Your team-members will gain experience and new items in their travels, gradually growing more powerful to take on more dangerous enemies.

The combat system is simple and easy to get into. Your team and their enemies cannot target each other diagonally, making combat easy to plan and to execute. However, a single miscalculation from one character might end up costing the whole teams life. Learning from such mistakes, by dying, is part of the charm, as in other roguelikes.

I'd recommend this game to anyone that enjoys fighting robot-aliens in space with simple tactics. The idea of traversing and exploring levels of a huge steampunk spaceship, under attack from unknown enemies, is certainly quite titillating.
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41 of 54 people (76%) found this review helpful
8.2 hrs on record
Posted: October 12, 2014
This game is fun... brutal, unforgiving, permadeath fun.

My first play I made it down four floors, but after the second floor, a feeling of hopelessness and dread started to set it. My team was injured... two guys with a point each of health. Armor was low, and ammo was starting to run out. As I dropped down to the next floor, I was praying for helpful goodies in lockers.

Meanwhile, I was getting a feel for the amount of strategy and thought needed to succeed in the game. Planning ahead is key, as is gaining a tactical advantage. Managing supplies is vital. It's all very challenging, and satisfying.

As I moved through the third floor, using flanking positions and crossfire traps to take down my foes, I came to the realization that it was already too late for me this game. In many games, even classics like Half-Life, there's a trusty health pack or armor kit just around each corner. It's all a bit too convenient, really... playing Steam Marines opens your eyes about things like that, and for me at least, has brought understanding that you don't always have to have the easy outs to get through a messy situation and have fun.

It's okay to lose... and you will. It's okay to feel like you have no clue what you're doing... because you learn as you go. It's okay that the game is a real challenge... after playing for a few hours, you probably wouldn't want it any other way.
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68 of 102 people (67%) found this review helpful
5.7 hrs on record
Posted: March 30, 2014
Early Access Review
Steam Marines will definitely appeal to a small subset of people, but not to a general gamer audience and certainly not to me (and I love roguelikes!).

To not die within the first couple of floors of Steam Marine, you must play extremely cautiously. Open a door; set up the rest of the squad to guard behind. Look around the room; set up the rest of the squad to guard. If there are enemies, kite backwards while setting the rest of the squad to guard and maybe get some pot shots in. Failure to do any of these things risks the chance of some ranged bot popping out the shadows and taking a marine from full health to dead/near dead in a single turn. You have a rough idea of where enemies are from hearing their footsteps, but you have no idea how the rooms and doors are connected until you actually pop your head in and turn about.

The marine health/enemy damage ratio is so very low, so there is no room for error. Trying to run and gun, or even advance to a forward position and burst an enemy down, will get you killed very fast.

This demanded precision is frustrated by the control scheme: every of the many actions has a mapped key, with NO context sensitivity. While I'm used to games like this, the learning curve is still a little steep, and the memorization will be a turn-off for many people. This frustration is compounded by the fact that there is no undo, even for benign actions with no impact on the immediate turn, such as guarding. Did you just hit the wrong key at a critical turn and accidentally fire at nothing, or guard into a wall, or use an item you didn’t intend to, etc.? All your hours and effort is wasted now, your run is over.

If a repetitive, boring, and cautious slog through a hardcore dungeon where small mistakes will waste hours of work sounds exciting to you, this game is for you. Again, I’m sure there are some people who will enjoy such a neurotic challenge, but this experience is not for most.
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