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Steel Defier Review

Steel Defier review

We might have completed it in less than an hour, but while it lasted, we had a blast with Steel Defier.

From developer Viridino Studios and published by Ratalaika Games, Steel Defier is a fast-paced level-based arcade game about escaping from a futuristic prison. Make your way from one room to another, with each one challenging you to avoid obstacles as you collect keycards. You’ll need to collect 15 keycards from one room before you move on to another. But that’s often easier said than done.

Steel Defier‘s challenge starts out very easy: in the game’s early levels, you’ll simply need to jump over one obstacle as it moves from one side of the room to another. Keep your wits about you, jumping at just the right time as you pick up keycard after keycard, and you’ll be done with the level in a matter of seconds. It’s all too easy to get complacent, but it doesn’t take long for Steel Defier to up the ante.

As you progress, Steel Defier‘s levels get much tougher, introducing more obstacles including fast-moving blocks, spikes that quickly appear, and blocks that split into four. This game is out to kill you, essentially. And you’ll get to a point where each level will take several (or sometimes several dozen) attempts to beat. But overcoming a tricky level feels very good indeed.

Steel Defier review

It helps that as you move through the game, you’ll pick up various power-ups to make each level a little easier. Over time, you’ll amass a dash ability, a double-jump, a passive magnetic power that allows keycards to slowly move towards you and more. Perhaps the most useful is the last power-up you’ll receive: a free hit, allowing you to continue even if you’ve collided with an obstacle.

The unfortunate thing about Steel Defier is that it’s very short. Even though we got stuck on half a dozen levels, requiring us to try again and again multiple times, we’d fully completed Steel Defier in less than an hour. We’d have happily played more: its concept may be simple but it’s fun. Completing a tricky level leaves you feeling like a badass, even if you’ve failed twenty-odd times before succeeding. It’s the sort of challenge that keeps you coming back for more – but it’s all over far too soon.

Steel Defier review

Outside of the main series of levels, there is an endless mode, which challenges you to collect as many keycards as you can while obstacles ramp up around you. It’s a nice addition, and we can see ourselves jumping back in for at least that mode every so often. The endless mode is the sort of thing we can see ourselves playing with friends: challenging each other to see how far we can get.

It’s a shame that Steel Defier doesn’t last much more than an hour; we’d have gladly played through many, many more levels. This is a simple little game, but one that absolutely nails the concept of a fulfilling challenge. More please, Viridino Studios.


Steel Defier Review – GameSpew’s Score

This review of Steel Defier is based on the PS5 version of the game, via a code provided by the publisher. It’s available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.
Editor in chief // Kim's been into video games since playing Dizzy on her brother's Commodore 64 as a nipper. She'll give just about anything a go, but she's got a particular soft spot for indie adventures. If she's not gaming, she'll be building Lego, reading a thriller, watching something spooky or... asleep. She does love to sleep.