Developer: Nitrome
Platform: Flash
Release Date: 8/5/11

     Ah, Steampunk. You never fail to amaze me with your fancy British accents, weird technology and amazing top hats. I wouldn't go as far as to call myself a fan, but I'm interested enough that I was intrigued by a flash game called Steamlands when I came across it.
     In Steamlands, your goal is to survive in a brutal European wasteland shortly after the "Great War". The wasteland is inhabited by pirates who cruise around in massive tanks, and in order to survive against them you'll have to pick up spare parts and build a tank of your own.
     Steamlands is a bit of a genre-defier. It's a sort of fusion of sandbox, real-time strategy, action, and RPG. In each stage, you're given a tank to start off with and are free to re-arrange its parts as you wish. As you proceed through the area, you'll encounter enemy tanks that you have to take down. Defeating them not only clears the way to the next foe but can also award you with scrap parts with which to beef up your tank. Defeat all the tanks in an area to move onto the next and gain money for upgrades.
     The big thing I enjoy about Steamlands is that you can continue to re-arrange parts in mid-battle and even knock an enemy's parts off and add them to your tank, creating some strategic choices as to whether you want to take down the enemy as quickly as possible or knock out precise blocks so you can claim their leftover parts.

     One aspect of the game that a lot of people have complained about is that your tank is reset at the beginning of every mission, meaning parts that you have in one level don't transfer to others. I didn't find this much of a bother, as I enjoyed that the game forces you to stay on your toes and come up with solutions for odd situations, such as missions where you start off with no weapons. Still, it's worth mentioning that your mileage may vary if you're not a fan.

     My only real complaint about the game is the camera control, it's a little awkward and can lead to getting fired on unnecessarily if you're in the middle of building your tank, since you have to scroll over in order to click it and fire back. I would also complain about the long scroll sequence when you're entering and exiting shops, except you can just CLICK TO SKIP IT. Seriously, people, stop whining about it and use your brains for a second.

     Overall, Steamlands isn't quite perfect, but it's definitely worth checking out if you're short on your quota of explosions or squeaky high-pitched British accents.

                                                                  Score: 9/10

     This has been the Freeware Fanatic, reminding you that steam-powered machine guns aren't real. Mythbusters told me so.


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