'Code Name S.T.E.A.M.' Resurrects Abraham Lincoln To Battle Space Aliens

March 13, 2015

Strategy games can be a tough sell for a lot of gamers. They usually take a lot of time, and a different kind of effort than most games on the market. You can't just run and gun your way through a strategy game - you have to plot and plan your way to victory. They're the thinking man's video game, and over the years only a handful have really risen to the top. The Fire Emblem series is one the longest standing franchises in the genre, dating all the way back to the days of the Famicom. Intelligent Systems, the team behind Fire Emblem and countless other classics, have been perfecting the genre for decades, but their latest strategy release, Code Name S.T.E.A.M., branches out by infusing a bit of action into their signature tactical gameplay.

Developer: Intelligent Systems
Publisher: Nintendo

Intelligent Systems have been creating some of Nintendo's best second-party games since 1984. Countless classics like Alleyway, Super Metroid, Paper Mario, Advance Wars, and, of course, the Fire Emblem series have all come out of one of the most talented studios in Japan. Their strategy games are some of the best that have ever been released which means that Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. has some of the most respected developers in the industry behind it, creating a wholly unique experience from this veteran team.

If you've ever wondering which U.S. president is the best equipped to fight against an alien invasion, then Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. is your best bet at figuring that out. In the steampunk alternate reality ofCode Name: S.T.E.A.M., Abraham Lincoln faked his assassination so that he could covertly lead up the Strike Team Eliminating the Alien Menace (S.T.E.A.M.) task force to help save the world. Players take the role of his team members and strategically battle their way across the world one square at a time. Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. plays out like a tactical rpg, where the combattants' movement and actions are limited by the amount of steam in their tank. If you want to move three squares and fire your gun, then you have to make sure you have enough steam banked to do so. Clearing off all of the aliens, and making it safely to the goal in each level is your key to success in Code Name: S.T.E.A.M.. As you progress through the game, you'll add more historical and literary figures to your roster, and weapons to your arsenal, as the aliens start throwing everything they have at you. Staying alive to fight another day requires lots of planning, and careful placement on each map, which gives players something to think about after every turn.

Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. is a Nintendo 3DS exclusive, and it takes advantage of the hardware's unique capabilities. The touch screen is used to control the camera and targeting (functionality that is mirrored on the New Nintendo 3DS XL's C Stick), and both Spotpass and Streetpass are available to extend the action within the game. You can also import amiibo characters from the Fire Emblem series (if you can find them in stores), to help build out your S.T.E.A.M. roster.

Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. is less of a departure from Intelligent System's tried and true classic, strategic style, and more of an action-oriented variation. The gameplay takes a little getting used to if you aren't familiar with the handful of other games of this ilk (really just the Valkeria Chronicles games), but in the end offers a solid blend of action and planning. Also, some of the levels can be a bit punishing, especially when reinforcements arrive at just the wrong time, but if you can stick it out, Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. offers up a fun, strategic experience. If you have the patience and mental capacity for games that require more thinking than gunning, then S.T.E.A.M. is worth your time and brainpower. After all, at its core, Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. is really about one of our nation's greatest presidents faking his death so that he can lead a team of famous historical figures into battle to try and save the world from an alien invasion... how awesome is that? Answer: very.