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.