Review - Steambirds - Casual Turn-Based Strategy

There are few casual strategy games available, especially not turn-based. Steambirds is a welcome, and often played, addition on my mobile device.

Steambirds is a fun little turn-based strategy game available for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone devices.

It's a dogfighting game with a lightly developed steampunk backstory — World War II-styled airplanes begin to appear in 1835 due to the discovery of low-temperature fusion. The backstory is really quite meaningless, though. The game and mechanics could have stood up well enough had it been a straight WW2 storyline.

There are 30 missions, with 15 in the main mission arc and an additional 15 bonus missions. A reasonable number of missions given the $0.99 price tag. The bonus missions were released as game updates, so there may be more missions on the horizon.

The game itself plays out on a single two-dimensional plane (no pun intended).

You command single planes or squadrons against enemies. Each turn, you plot out the movements of your planes using an ingenious little movement system. Firing weapons is done automatically and is dependent on the location of the enemy relative to distance and firing arc. Every plane has its own unique features; from speed bursts, quick u-turns, poisonous gas clouds, to missiles.

A grade is assigned at the completion of each mission. The challenge isn't so much completing missions, but trying to get perfect scores on those missions. Therein lies the replayability, teasing out the perfect combat run. A perfect score can be quite difficult to achieve on some of the later missions.

Plot out the movements of your planes using an ingenious little movement system.

The AI itself is fairly simple, and thus predictable. But in a way, that only makes it a better strategy game. It means that you can continue to improve combat runs based on the results of previous attempts.

The graphics are simple, yet effective. The game itself plays out on a single two-dimensional plane (no pun intended). It might have been better for the game if it had focused on tank or ship warfare, rather than planes, since the two-dimensional aspect would have made more logical sense.

Once all the different planes and their abilities have been encountered, the game can start to feel somewhat repetitive. I no longer play the game as often as I did when I first purchased it, but I do still load it up occasionally for a mission or two. It's a good distraction during a long queue or trip on public transportation.


Our Rating
7
There are few casual strategy games available, especially not turn-based. Steambirds is a welcome, and often played, addition on my mobile device.

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Published Sep. 8th 2017

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