GAME REVIEW: Steamscope iPhone
Posted by montoc1701 on March 20, 2012
We take a look at the new game from Digital Frame Studio on the iPhone where you have to navigate dangerously crowded tunnels, pipes and hallways. Think skinny and squeeze into some tight spaces to reach the goal.
Steamscope is a nice looking game let down by clunky, unreliable controls and heavily flawed level design.
The game is a first-person on-rails obstacle course where the objective is to reach the end in one piece. The speed of your movement is largely standardized according to three possible settings before you start a level: slow, normal, fast. With two possible control methods: gyroscopic and touch.
Graphically speaking, the game is a fine piece to look at. The obstacle course is rendered in 3D and finely depicts a rather gritty dystopic environment to race through. The first level you are speeding through pipes in a sewer network.
The biggest problem with the game falls in the gameplay. You have two options, use the gyroscopic controls or use your finger on the touch screen to guide your movements to either end of the screen. The gyroscopic controls on any speed setting are frankly awful. Unless you exactly memorise what position and height your hands were when you begin a level, then you will very quickly find the Game Over sign thrown in your face. And this is when you are sitting still, and not in a moving vehicle. Alternatively you could do the manual method but this is only marginally easier in that you have more control over where you are moving. Except this is where the other anger-inducing flaw in the gameplay comes in. The obstacles, at times, leave such bizarrely shaped and narrow gaps to get through with no way for you to gauge your avatar’s size in relation to them that bypassing them is left almost completely to chance. Changing speeds and control methods are all well and good but if the levels are so obstinately designed, you will very quickly find yourself giving up. The speed differentials are also poor – normal and slow settings are equally snail competing, and fast is impossible to follow for anyone but a complete masochist.
Steamscope is a big shame. For something so beautiful to look at, the game is awful to play.
GS Reporter: Dean