Initially, this was going to be a review. After sinking some time into DieselStormers, though, I can’t approach it like that just yet. When a game has a loading screen warning players that it’s an early access version with ‘a fraction’ of the final game content included, that’s a strong indicator that maybe it’s not yet put together enough to fairly judge. I definitely got the sense when playing around with what’s there now, that there’s still a lot left to fill in, but also that there’s a pretty solid foundation that’s worth building on – not enough to put a score to just yet, but more than enough to make put together some initial thoughts and impressions, so here we are.
So, what exactly is DieselStormers? At the core, it’s a side-scrolling shooter with some platforming elements and a heavy bend towards multiplayer cooperative action. In fact, that multiplayer is one of the reasons I’m shifting this to a preview, since I haven’t had the chance to see what the game is like with more people, but I imagine it adds some good depth to the whole thing that’s, frankly, somewhat lacking in single-player play. The drive behind the game has to do with collecting parts — engines, frames, and barrels — to upgrade your weapon, giving you more powerful tools to fight against the Ork and Goblin hordes that plague each of the randomly-generated levels. This, of course, makes it easier to complete more missions and collect more parts, and so forth.
In addition to customizable weaponry, DieselStormers offers players some other unique tools. Hover jets and a knockback-inducing dash maneuver give some good options for player movement, and the arc that ties players together can also be used for quick, if difficult to control, leaps utilizing environmental elements to pull players up, over, or down depending on position. The controls aren’t exactly what I’d call smooth or responsive, but once you get the hang of it, they’re not awful. Still, some improvement here in the final product would go a long way to convicing me that the game is worth spending hard-earned cash on, so take that as you will.
With the variety available, a pretty solid (if initially confusing) crafting system, and a whole buttload of potential, DieselStormers is one I’ll be keeping an eye on, and plan on writing a full review for later on down the line as more of the content rolls out. It’s a pretty limited set at the moment, so I’m trying to reserve judgement, but if the pieces that are set up right now get fleshed out the way that Black Forest Games says is planned, then there’s a pretty good chance that this becomes a great pick-up-and-play title for quick, fun matches with friends. I’m not entirely sold that it’s going to meet the $18.99 price tag currently on Steam, but it could work out pretty well depending on how much gets added in. Either way, if you’re looking for something that doesn’t take itself too seriously and offers up a fun diversion, it may be just up your alley — though I’d urge holding back on the purchase button until it’s closer to a final release.