Puzzle Game Steamroll Has Unique Concepts But Confusing Instructions

What do steam punk fanatics do on the weekends? Go golfing, obviously.

Developed by Anticto, Steamroll is an adventure and puzzle game that takes place entirely inside of a steam-powered ball called a Scarabeus. The ball has specific abilities used to navigate underground mines. As you progress, more of the Scarabeus’s features are revealed to you.

You play as a young engineer on his very first day on the job. While piloting your half armadillo, half beetle Scarabeus you must work your way around the mine repairing things that you may or may not have accidentally broken yourself.

Your Scarabeus is usable in two different ways. Its first form is the 360 degree motion that allows you to move freely around the map, so long as you have enough steam. In its second form, the Scarabeus is able to dock itself into a portion of the ground to allow it to shoot balls of steam like a tank.

Many of the levels are very Point A to Point B where you must unlock rooms using your golfing-like method of shooting balls at buttons and then rolling into the next room to do it again. This sounds pretty simple but, as you can imagine, the difficulty increases the further into the mine you venture. You’ll have to utilise bombs, walls, and more in order to get the perfect angle to send your steam ball in the right direction, all while making sure that you have enough resources to pull it off.

When it comes to gameplay, Steamroll is pretty fun. That is, once you’re able to interpret the confusing instructions and you’ve figured out the controls. It feels like a solo game of Golfing with Friends with the fun of explosions and a steampunky atmosphere to go along with it.

The further you move into the mines, the more complicated things get – but unfortunately there’s very little story to motivate you. There’s no sense of urgency in spite of constantly having the chance of running out of Steam. In fact, Steamroll would probably be successful with a heavier story, with lots of dialogue and background on the characters, or without a story at all focusing solely on the gameplay. As it stands now, the characters and story feel a bit bland and useless.

For players that love puzzle-heavy adventure games, Steamroll does what it sets out to do. The puzzles are unique, interesting, and ever-changing – but if you’re looking for something easy, with a fulfilling story, then it might not be exactly what you’re looking for.