New from the developer who brought us Canabalt [$2.99] and Gravity Hook HD [$2.99] comes SteamBirds [99¢/HD], an iOS port of the Flash game of the same name. Like Semi Secret's other games, SteamBirds takes an incredibly simple game mechanic and marries it with high quality presentation. At its core, SteamBirds is a turn-based strategy game featuring dogfighting aircraft from a top-down perspective. In an alternate history where a scientist accidentally discovers cold fusion in the mid-19th century, this new technology is used to create high-velocity steam-powered weapons on airplanes. These planes are then deployed into combat to complete the 21 missions in SteamBirds.

Controlling your fleet of planes in SteamBirds is simple, and a nice tutorial during the first few levels explains all of the ins and outs. A small line sticks out from the front of your aircraft which represents the distance that each plane can travel per turn. Touching and dragging the arrow at the end of this line changes the direction of your plane's flight path. The enemy aircraft will travel around each level, and the strategy lies in deciding the best course for each of the planes in your fleet in order to intercept and destroy the enemy while taking as little damage as possible. In addition to the regular flight path, you can choose to use one with a longer distance or defensive properties as special moves with limited use in between turns.

The gameplay in SteamBirds works really well, and although it looks and sounds overly simplistic there is actually a ton of strategy needed to complete each level. The game starts of fairly easy, but quickly ramps up to dogfights with many planes to manage onscreen at once. There is also a star rating system for every level based on how much damage you take during battle, and it will take some serious skill to get 4 stars for every level. Also, since it is available on both iPhone and iPad there is the ability to transfer your progress from one device to the next if you ever feel the need to do so.

I've been having a ton of fun with SteamBirds so far, and the impressions in our forums have been really positive as well. At the very least I would suggest trying out the free Flash version of SteamBirds, as it's nearly identical to the iOS version gameplay-wise and gives you a great idea of what to expect.

  • http://dendory.net Dendory

    Looks pretty decent.

  • http://www.semisecretsoftware.com Adam

    It's a small thing, but the enemy patterns are definitely NOT set - the enemy units will react to every move you make :)

    • Jared Nelson

      Oh, interesting. It seems like they do since on the levels I replayed they always seemed to start off in the same manner. I didn't pick up that they reacted differently to what I was doing. Anyway, I reworded it a bit. Thanks for pointing it out :)

  • eev

    lol, all games of this developer are reviewd asap.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Canabalt is one of our alltime favorites, of course we're going to look at Semi Secret's other games... Just like we'd instantly review anything released by Rovio, creators of Angry Birds.

  • Createplayshare

    Ya,, We are coming with a realtime dogfight. Lets see if we get lucky getting reviewed from Toucharcade.

    Game license will be available on Gamecot.com for publishers.

    Createplayshare.com

  • Max

    Don't bother with the HD version until the sound issues are sorted out. I bought it anyway and am now disappointed, I wish I had of waited.

    • http://twitter.com/BrettArchibald Brett Archibald

      Was just about to buy the HD version. What's wrong with it?

  • Max

    As it says on the app store, the sound isn't working; apparently they didn't test it on iPad or something. The missing sound really detracts from the gameplay, which is a shame because it looks like a good game. Honestly, do yourself a favour and wait for the patch to resolve the sound issues. I've stopped playing after a couple of missions, to wait for the patch. It's very frustrating.

  • Disqus

    No universal app = no buy. A real shame, too - I had been looking forward to this one.

    • Anon

      Canabalt Universal: $2.99
      Gravity Hook HD Universal: $2.99
      SteamBirds iPhone + SteamBirds iPad = $2.98

      I like universal apps too, but it's worth pointing out that playing Semi Secret's new game on both iOS devices will cost 1 cent less than it did for their previous efforts.

  • Vj

    Oh this is so cool I guess they got lucky with the review. I am wondering if its so bad how it got reviewed then.I am also wondering on how are they reviewing apps then

  • Createplayshare

    If you guys loved steam birds so much. Then I would love to know your views on this one.

    Air Dogs - Realtime Multiplayer dog fight on One device
    Video link - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_cMvtV4LDY&feature=player_embedded
    Game License Will be available on http://www.gamecot.com