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Nintendo welcomes S.T.E.A.M.

Code Name: S.T.E.A.M., is a turn-based game published by Nintendo and developed by Intelligent Systems for the Nintendo 3DS. Picture from Public Domain.
Code Name: S.T.E.A.M., is a turn-based game published by Nintendo and developed by Intelligent Systems for the Nintendo 3DS. Picture from Public Domain.

by Michael Fiscaletti, junior fact checker

Code Name: S.T.E.A.M., a recent addition to Nintendo’s market of 3DS games, is a turn-based strategy game (a game in which the player and his/her opponent take turns performing actions in a strategical fashion) in which players take control of many characters from past American literature and culture such as Tom Sawyer (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer), Henry Flemming (Red Badge of Courage),  Lion (The Wizard of Oz), and Randolph Carter (an alter ego of the author H. P. Lovecraft).

So, welcome to the Strike Team Eliminating the Alien Menace (S.T.E.A.M.); a force led by the president himself, Honest Abe. In-game, players become a part of Lincoln’s semi-secret force of agents to fight off alien threats. Yeah, that’s “real” (virtual) extraterrestrials.

Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. utilizes a third-person perspective, meaning the “camera” shows the player a perspective from slightly behind in-game characters. This is a core part of the game, as it restricts players from seeing things that most turn-based strategies reveal freely. Such a function allows for suspense, exploration, and requires players to play with a bit of extra care, lest they wander face first into a swarm of enemies.

“Sounds really cool and interesting. I’d really like to see how the third person shooter style will work in a turn-based setting,” junior Daniel Kricheli said.

As the title suggests, STEAM is a central part of the game. In fact, if players are familiar with turn-based strategy games, they’ll understand them as “action points.” This means that each space a character moves, or each time one performs an action, it will drain a bit of his/her steam.

A unique thing about it in this game is that players may retrace their steps, backtrack, and recover the steam used in order to move in the first place. Said function allows for careful scouting and reconnaissance. Note that when players fire a weapon, get caught by an enemy, or retrieve a medkit, they will be unable to retrace those steps and also recover precious steam.

Some of the most critical complaints have regarded the game’s high difficulty, long-length, and, perhaps the largest complaint of all, that the enemy’s turns take an immensely long time. Code Name S.T.E.A.M. received a 7.9 from IGN (imagine games network); a “good,” with an overall consensus from users on Metacritic, scoring an 8.2.

A severe complaint involving the game has been a lack of ability to fast-forward or skip the “enemy’s turn,” in which the AI (artificial intelligence or in this case the enemies) make their own moves. Sitting at a blank screen waiting to be able to do something was a “feature” which tended to annoy players. Fortunately for them, there has been a patch/update for the game which adds the ability to fast-forward through the enemy turn. For those who were inconvenienced, this should be a boost.

“I think the game overall sounds fun and entertaining since aliens are involved. The ability to backtrack and recover the steam is a unique feature that would give new players like me a way to correct mistakes and restrategize my use of steam,” junior Eduardo Escamilla said.

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