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Preview: SteamDolls - Order of Chaos (PC)By Ofisil At 07.05.2020 20:12

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You are in control of the masked anarchist, 'The Whisper;' a mysterious character, who must venture deep into the heart of a heavily guarded complex in order to… err, hard to tell, really. The 20-30 minute-long demo didn't provide much info about the story aspect of SteamDolls, although the few scenes available did pique the interest of yours truly, especially when a naked witch appeared out of nowhere, adding quite the mystical touch in what is otherwise an Orwellian dystopia, with elements of steampunk, and a heavy industrial and militaristic look and feel.

Dark and oppressive, the world the Whisper will brave is quite the engrossing one, and the protagonist looks very cool, with his metallic full-face, Ultron-mask, Assassin's Creed blades, and David Hayter's voiceover - yes, that David Hayter. Now, as good as this looks, apart from just one or two striking locales, it's all a bit… generic, if you will, with forgettable area after area, and with even the protagonist looking more like a cool enemy, rather than the main star of the show.

Again, this was a very short ride, so there's still hope of having visuals that will stay with you much longer in the full release. As for the actual game, it's metroidvania 101. Players explore a gargantuan labyrinth, open new paths and shortcuts, and so on. Apart from the typical running and jumping, the Whisper can hack and slash foes with his blades, or throw knives that use some of his blue energy. Even better, he can sneak behind people, and - brutally - backstab them, leeching their life while at it.

Sadly, this being a concept demo, it ends long before showing any additional tools of the trade. What was shown, was great, and without the heavy lack of polish expected from something so early in development, bar one game crushing bug, and some insignificant (for now) rough edges here and there. If this critic had to mention a couple of things he didn't like very much, that would be a few unfair spots, or, more accurately one unfair spot where it was almost impossible to avoid damage, and the fact that the jump height is a few pixels lower than it probably should be.

Another thing that's hard to comment on, is how the game will feel as a whole, as this 20/30 minute run leaned heavily towards platforming, with just a few fights alone the way, most of which were against simple cannon fodder that would die with one single hit, and not many soldiers, which are arguably much tougher to put down. In other words, this is mostly about jumping from platform to platform, and avoiding various hazards, like turrets, bombs, electrical currents, jets of steam, etc.

Long story short, SteamDolls is very entertaining, but the free demo that's currently available simply isn't enough to help one "predict" what is to come, which is a shame really. It's too empty, even for a - very - early preview build. If the team of The Shady Gentlemen is reading this, please, craft a meatier demo that shows much more than what this one does, and release it to the public ASAP! Yours truly is dying to meet the naked witch once more. For review purposes, of course.

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