After sitting down and spending some time with the Codename S.T.E.A.M. demo, I have to say that what I’ve seen so far is promising. The demo has at least 3 hours of content available, with multiple maps and missions available for playing, and any resources gained in the demo will carry over into the full game. From the looks of it, Codename S.T.E.A.M. will be familiar to those who have played XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and very familiar to those who have played Valkyria Chronicles. So much so with the latter that it would not be inappropriate to call Codename S.T.E.A.M. a steampunk version of Valkyria Chronicles. That having been said, that does not mean that Codename S.T.E.A.M. is not worth your time.
The gameplay involves taking a squad of up to four soldiers through maps full of aliens. As far as the demo shows, the only objective on each map is to reach the exit zone, but there will probably be other objectives in future missions included in the full game. About six maps are offered in the demo, and after you complete them all, you are allowed to replay them using all of the squadmates given to you. This allows you to find secret paths in the levels that offer quicker paths to success or secret caches of currency.
You control each soldier separately and move them around the map, manually aiming at enemies using the touch screen. The manual aiming is not perfect, but seeing as how the action is turn-based, it is not that great of a problem. Each enemy has a vulnerable point that is more difficult to hit compared to simply aiming for the alien and firing. Striking this weak point does a significantly higher amount of damage, so combat becomes as much a test of skill as it is an exercise in tactical thinking.
The demo also offers a lot of insight into the scale of the full game. One feature not available in the demo, but alluded to, was an upgrade system. There are two types of currency that the player can gather during missions: gears and medals. There are three gears hidden on each map, and potentially dozens of medals can be found lying around the map, inside of crates, and dropped from defeated enemies. The gears will be used for new upgrades and weapons, and the medals will be used to purchase the new weapons and items to kit out your crew. It’s not yet clear just how in-depth this system will be, but it will surely be in place with the full version. The opening menu also alluded to a versus mode that is only accessible in the full version.
Ultimately, the demo for Codename S.T.E.A.M. is at least worth the download. This is a rather meaty demo, so if you’re on the fence about the game, this will either solidify your purchase decision or turn you off from the game entirely. Give it a look if you find yourself even vaguely curious.