Tate Multimedia are no stranger to the motorbike stunt bike racer genre. In the past they have tempted us into some sweet biking adventures. From Urban Freestyle to the Playground, the Polish devs continue doing what they do best but this time around it’s all changed and notched up to another level. Welcome motorbike combat action game Steel Rats…
Steel Rats is one dark and eerie infestation. It’s a moody, gritty atmospheric playing ground that looks mighty good. Set in an alternate version of 1940’s USA, the gist is you’re a member of an outlaw biker gang on a quest to rid the city of mechanical Junkbots vermin. You get to play as four unique characters. If one gets low on health or if you’ve simply connected face to concrete too many times, you can simply switch bike and rider. Your main task is to reach the end of each level. Some levels are more straight forward than others but each one entails some careful riding. If you’re more of a speed freak then the daredevil approach works too, as the beauty of Steel Rats is the level design – it’s a mixed bag. You’ll find yourself jumping from rooftop to rooftop, bunny hopping over obstacles and even scaling walls and ceilings. Making things even more interesting is the element of combat. Either mowing down scurrying bots or exploding cars with your sabre toothed front wheel arch, Steel Rats comes full of unexpected bangs.
As there is a Trials feel throughout, handling is spot on. A nudge on the throttle catapults you forward, while a tap on the handbrake sees you perform tight turns. Steel Rats is not just a constant right scrolling ride, there’s duel paths, sharp turns, destruction and a story that unfolds as your venture further into the rats layer. It does take a while to get your head around it, especially the controls and the fancy quick u turn trick, but once understood they do become second nature and that’s when everything starts to flow.
It’s a combination of combat, bike handling and skill that makes for a new kind of 2 wheeled adventure game that works well. Each of the 28 levels can be replayed to better you score and jump up on the online leaderboards. The games’ five districts unlock one by one and scores for each level are logged over at the Rats Nest, where else hey? Each level has a great replay value and with levels having so much to destroy with your hot front wheel and the drip fed weapons, Steel Rats delivers a big game to gnaw away at.
Steel Rats does a fine job in mixing combat, stunts and story to deliver a great platformer come Trials experience. Wrapped in an exciting retro yet futuristic setting along with unique level design, Tate Multimedia have pushed the boundaries yet again.
Lizard Rating: 8/10