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Steam Panic review - A hard-as-nails steampunk puzzler that will test your brain and patience


For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone

Alarm bells

Product: Steam Panic | Format: iPad | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
There are some games out there that simply won't appeal to everyone. Whether it's because of their genre, setting, or any number of other things.

Steam Panic is one such game, not because it's particularly niche or controversial, but simply because unless you automatically click with its puzzles, you'll never learn to love it.

It's well-presented, easy to control, and smart in its execution, but unless you've got the brains, you won't find it any fun.

Remain calm

Steam Panic sees you moving blocks around a grid to form shapes and manoeuvre them into designated spaces on the game board.

You can slide blocks as far along as you like, provided they don't fall off a ledge on their travels, although once four are connected they fuse together to form a larger shape.



Shapes can only be moved by rotating the entire gameboard 90, 180, or 270 degrees, so you'll need to plan ahead as to whether you need to avoid smooshing the shapes together if you need to get through a small space.

As you progress you open up even more nuisances to deal with, including mines, doors, portals, and bottomless pits. All of which will need to be utilised or avoided to get to the solutoion.

It starts off simple enough, but after too short a time you'll likely get stumped on a seemingly impossible puzzle and be willing to throw the whole game away.

Pressure building

There are some helping hands available - you can hit "undo" as many times as you like, or skip levels that you're particularly stuck on, or just let the game complete them for you.

But undo button aside, these aren't all that helpful. Skipping levels just takes you to a harder one, and you need to earn a set number of stars before you can unlock the next world.

And you can only see the solution to three levels before the game refuses to give you any more free passes, with no option of just seeing the first move you need to make to help you along your way.



What this means is that unless you click with the game's rules and mechanics early on, you're going to be stuck forever - you can either suffer and get good, or just give up and walk away.

Which is a shame, because everything else is great. It has an interesting steampunk style running through it, and the controls are straightforward enough that anyone can pick up and play.

Meltdown

Overall, unless Steam Panic grabs you in its opening moments, you're unlikely to stick with it outside of its first few levels.

It tries to be helpful, but somehow manages to offer too much help and too little help at the same time, leaving you stranded after promising so much.

If you "get it", then there's going to be a lot of fun to be had. If not, then there's little here to push you along as you struggle to understand how to play.
 
Steam Panic review - A hard-as-nails steampunk puzzler that will test your brain and patience
Reviewer photo
Ric Cowley | 31 July 2017
Steam Panic is well put together, clever, and cleanly presented, but unless you click with it, there's nothing to enjoy
 
Rate this game >> Average reader score: 
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