When we first reviewed Mecho Wars back in mid-2009, we were extremely impressed by the stylish, artwork and rich palette that creator Luc Bernard brought to the game. It's no wonder that his upcoming title, SteamPirates has received so much attention from our forum readers, as screenshots released to date have hinted at a gorgeous steam-punk based RPG with a certain feline influence.

SteamPirates is essentially a linear, turn based strategy game, with light platforming helping to tie the combat sequences together. You start off playing as Kat, a cat-raised, furless human working for the canines; and soon add to your team when you meet Ziggy, a sex-crazed star of an obnoxious rock band. The storyline of cat vs dog is outlined at the beginning and via character dialogue throughout. It's certainly different and sometimes entertaining, but tries a little too hard to be crude at times.

The combat is menu driven, where you use standard attacks, items or skills awarded to your characters upon reaching certain levels. There doesn't seem to be any character customization (in terms of gear or skills) in the build we have-- a feature still to come-- as a badge system was described in some detail in our forums.

The game features a number of mini-games in the latter part of the game. We came across helm-to-helm ship combat in our play through, which involves tapping on screen to direct your cannon fire. It's a simple implementation, but helps to break up the turn-based combat. There are purportedly castle-defence and match-3 mini-games spattered throughout the game too, which we'll have more details on in our review.

The artwork in SteamPirates is definitely its draw-card, and we hope the gameplay will follow suit. We'll be back for a full review when it launches, but in the mean time check out our video above of the opening minutes of the game and post your feedback and comments to our forum thread.

  • zztfox

    This screams for a tap to Dodge/boost attack mechanism.

    Like the cursor to the gun flashes a from green to red, when red tap to shoot for more damage than normal.

    And also an example of the dodge would be a cursor appearing on the cannonball the cats shoot when they get halfway to you, tap to shoot the cannonball out of the air and avoid damage.

  • zztfox

    This screams for a tap to Dodge/boost attack mechanism.

    Like the cursor to the gun flashes a from green to red, when red tap to shoot for more damage than normal.

    And also an example of the dodge would be a cursor appearing on the cannonball the cats shoot when they get halfway to you, tap to shoot the cannonball out of the air and avoid damage.

  • TheFamousEccles

    Am I alone in thinking the art looks really trashy?

  • TheFamousEccles

    Am I alone in thinking the art looks really trashy?

  • Jeff

    Man the combat speed needs to be at least 2x the current speed.

    What's with that huge pause between enemy turn and move selection?

    • gabe

      I agree, it's painstakingly slow.. The art style is nice, but I'm a dog person, cats really aren't my favorite animals, playing a game full of them just doesn't appeal to me :/

  • Jeff

    Man the combat speed needs to be at least 2x the current speed.

    What's with that huge pause between enemy turn and move selection?

    • gabe

      I agree, it's painstakingly slow.. The art style is nice, but I'm a dog person, cats really aren't my favorite animals, playing a game full of them just doesn't appeal to me :/

  • akira01

    I like that. A lot.
    Something different here...

  • akira01

    I like that. A lot.
    Something different here...

  • Rob

    The idea is great, but the half-assed art kills it for me. Pass.

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      There's nothing half-assed (or trashy, whatever that means) about the art. It may not be to your taste, but that doesn't mean it's poorly done.

      I agree that the combat looks slow, but that's not a deal-breaker for me.

      BTW, Peter, this looks to me like a straightforward turn-based RPG. I don't get why you would call it a "strategy" game.

      • TheFamousEccles

        If it's like Mecho Wars (which it seems to be) it is a TB strategy. To be fair, this does have a lot more RPG elements, so I think you could call it either way.

        You thinking that the art is good is no more valid than me thinking the art looks trashy.

      • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

        The art style is consistent and clear, the line-work is confident, the colors are well selected. From an art director's perspective (which is what I do for a living), I say it's well crafted -- in other words, not trashy. Of course, within the range of well-crafted artwork there's plenty of room for different of opinions.

        From that video, it's clear that Steam Pirates plays nothing like Mecho Wars. This is clearly an RPG.

      • http://www.twitter.com/thewindburn Peter L.

        You know what, squarezero, you are absolutely right, that shouldn't be there.

        From what I can tell that little slip was a product of me writing when I should be sleeping, so I'll fix that up pronto ;)

      • TheFamousEccles

        I guess that's what I get for not paying attention to the video. I was probably too insulted by the baseless attack on David Bowie...

        By definition, trashy means lowbrow, or second rate. I think it meets those conditions.

        I disagree with you on that only well-crafted artwork is good, but there isn't any point in discussing that. Differences of opinion exist, and I respect yours.

      • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

        I agree that good art doesn't have to be well-crafted: that's what punk is all about. Also, I may have misunderstood what you meant by trashy. I still disagree with your assessment, but I understand where you're coming from.

  • Rob

    The idea is great, but the half-assed art kills it for me. Pass.

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      There's nothing half-assed (or trashy, whatever that means) about the art. It may not be to your taste, but that doesn't mean it's poorly done.

      I agree that the combat looks slow, but that's not a deal-breaker for me.

      BTW, Peter, this looks to me like a straightforward turn-based RPG. I don't get why you would call it a "strategy" game.

      • TheFamousEccles

        If it's like Mecho Wars (which it seems to be) it is a TB strategy. To be fair, this does have a lot more RPG elements, so I think you could call it either way.

        You thinking that the art is good is no more valid than me thinking the art looks trashy.

      • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

        The art style is consistent and clear, the line-work is confident, the colors are well selected. From an art director's perspective (which is what I do for a living), I say it's well crafted -- in other words, not trashy. Of course, within the range of well-crafted artwork there's plenty of room for different of opinions.

        From that video, it's clear that Steam Pirates plays nothing like Mecho Wars. This is clearly an RPG.

      • http://www.twitter.com/thewindburn Peter L.

        You know what, squarezero, you are absolutely right, that shouldn't be there.

        From what I can tell that little slip was a product of me writing when I should be sleeping, so I'll fix that up pronto ;)

      • TheFamousEccles

        I guess that's what I get for not paying attention to the video. I was probably too insulted by the baseless attack on David Bowie...

        By definition, trashy means lowbrow, or second rate. I think it meets those conditions.

        I disagree with you on that only well-crafted artwork is good, but there isn't any point in discussing that. Differences of opinion exist, and I respect yours.

      • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

        I agree that good art doesn't have to be well-crafted: that's what punk is all about. Also, I may have misunderstood what you meant by trashy. I still disagree with your assessment, but I understand where you're coming from.

  • Jyankee30

    Why isn't the top headline the new super quick hook video. Super quick hook> this.

  • Jyankee30

    Why isn't the top headline the new super quick hook video. Super quick hook> this.

  • robutmike

    I really like the art. I think its amazing. I also find it humorous that so many people are art critics. Link your deviant art page maybe, with your animated artwork if you have something better.

    Looks like a compelling game from an independent developer. Good job guys, and ignore the naysayers.

    • TheFamousEccles

      I don't need to be a better artist than them to criticize it. That's sort of like saying I can't criticize a brain surgeon for killing their patients because I couldn't do a better job.

      It's actually a good thing to criticize games, especially in the iPhone market, where part of the draw is how devoted the developers are.

  • robutmike

    I really like the art. I think its amazing. I also find it humorous that so many people are art critics. Link your deviant art page maybe, with your animated artwork if you have something better.

    Looks like a compelling game from an independent developer. Good job guys, and ignore the naysayers.

    • TheFamousEccles

      I don't need to be a better artist than them to criticize it. That's sort of like saying I can't criticize a brain surgeon for killing their patients because I couldn't do a better job.

      It's actually a good thing to criticize games, especially in the iPhone market, where part of the draw is how devoted the developers are.

  • Luc Bernard

    I noticed one thing on this preview video, as Director of the game, I feel like I should of told the person who takes the videos, that to jump on a platform you press above the platform not below it.

    This really makes the game look terrible, while the controls are so easy, you press where you want to go, if you press under a platform you will go there, above you will jump onto it...

    so yeah this video makes controls look terrible

    • http://klicktock.com Matt

      Have you got any official gameplay videos as yet Luc?

      Game looks great BTW.

  • Luc Bernard

    I noticed one thing on this preview video, as Director of the game, I feel like I should of told the person who takes the videos, that to jump on a platform you press above the platform not below it.

    This really makes the game look terrible, while the controls are so easy, you press where you want to go, if you press under a platform you will go there, above you will jump onto it...

    so yeah this video makes controls look terrible

    • http://klicktock.com Matt

      Have you got any official gameplay videos as yet Luc?

      Game looks great BTW.

  • thinkthis

    The pauses in combat need to go away. People need to execute their moves immediately. No need to see the name of the move and then a two second pause and the move. Just have people do their moves.

  • thinkthis

    The pauses in combat need to go away. People need to execute their moves immediately. No need to see the name of the move and then a two second pause and the move. Just have people do their moves.

  • sim

    I really love the gameplay video.
    It looks so great!!!
    Looks like a must by by for me.

  • sim

    I really love the gameplay video.
    It looks so great!!!
    Looks like a must by by for me.