The Legend of Steel Empire – Review
Follow Genre: Shoot-‘em-up
Developer: Mebius
Publisher: ININ Games
Platform: Switch
Tested on: Switch

The Legend of Steel Empire – Review

Site Score
Good: Fun fast paced action, nice visual presentation
Bad: Lack of content, Some audio problems
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)

It’s been more than 30 years since the original release of Steel Empire. This horizontal shoot-‘em-up was an instant classic on the Sega Genesis thanks to its fast-paced gameplay and unique steampunk aesthetic. There have already been a few rereleases of the game to keep it up to date, but now The Legend of Steel Empire arrives on Switch to introduce a new generation of fans to this arcade experience.


Having a story in a shoot-‘em-up game is often not the developer’s priority, since the focus is on the gameplay. This causes The Legend of Steel Empire to have a pretty basic narrative that doesn’t have a ton of developments. You take on the role of a pilot in the Republic of Silverhead, which is taking on the rival nation of Motorhead. While there isn’t anything more to the story, each mission is accompanied by a small introduction that sets the stage for the action you will be taking part in. There is somewhat of a use in this narrative, as it sets up the boss you will face and the location you will visit. This lack of story isn’t that big of a deal since the game’s focus is clearly on the fast-paced action gameplay.


This remake of the 1992 classic is a fateful recreation of the original. The game looks like an exact recreation of a Sega Genesis game, giving it a lot of charm and nostalgia. This also makes it very impressive in just how much variety there is in the locations and enemies you will face. Each level has a unique feeling and look, brought to life by the steampunk aesthetic that is present throughout the entirety of the game. Especially the enormous bosses are a marvel in design, considering the pixelated style the developers had to work with.


The sound design of The Legend of Steel Empire is a bit of a mixed bag. The original soundtrack is a lot of fun and perfectly fits the atmosphere of the game. Each level has a unique sound and has that nostalgic old-school feeling. Where the game drops the ball, however, is with the sound effects. Since the screen is often filled with a dozen enemies and even more bullets, the sound effects of these elements can become a bit overwhelming, drowning the great soundtrack.


The Legend of Steel Empire is a remake of the original Shoot-‘em-up on the Sega Genesis, fatefully recreating the experience and bringing over all of its strengths and flaws.

The general controls of The Legend of Steel Empire are pretty simple, featuring only three buttons to control your airship. The main weapon of the fighter can be fired both in front of the ship or through the back, meaning you can take out enemies from all sides. This is a great mechanic, giving the game the option to throw enemies at you from both sides, mixing up the gameplay and also forcing you to keep on moving. Along with this basic weapon is an automatic grenade launcher that will launch projectiles at a regular interval. There is no way to control these projectiles, meaning that the placement of your ship is crucial for utilizing this weapon effectively. Lastly, you have access to an ultimate weapon that will wipe out everything on the screen and deal humongous damage to bosses. While this attack is a very powerful one, it’s also a very rare resource that you will have to use sparingly. All of this feels great to use and the movement is smooth and responsive. This makes the high-speed combat you’ll find yourself in always a joy to experience.

Throughout the game, you’ll fight your way through seven unique levels, each with its aesthetic and enemies. The best thing about these levels is the boss you will face at the end. Most of these feature different phases and make use of multi-directional shooting, sneaking up behind you every chance they have. While these threats keep getting stronger, so will you. Throughout each level are a bunch of pickups that will make your ship stronger. Some will grant your ship experience points, rewarding you with level-ups that increase your firing power and defenses, while others add two small ships to your side that make the enemies less threatening. These permanent upgrades are great to encounter and give a feeling of constant progression. Aside from upgrades are health boosts and the rare 1-Ups that will help you stay in the fight longer.

While the gameplay of The Legend of Steel Empire is a ton of fun it has one major flaw: there just isn’t that much of it. the seven levels the game features can be beaten in under one hour, leaving you with not much else to do other than replaying them to beat your high score. There are some features, like different difficulties and two ships to choose between, that add some variety in replays but this is far from enough. Especially since the second ship you can use is just slower with better defense, making the difference minimal. There are also some challenges to take on during a playthrough, but the only thing they unlock is some pieces of art.


The Legend of Steel Empire delivers a classic shoot-‘em-up experience to the modern audience. The gameplay feels solid and is a ton of fun, presented with a great art style and a decent soundtrack accompanied by some faulty audio mixing. While the game is a ton of fun, there isn’t enough of it to make you come back after a one-hour playthrough or two. This makes it a hard game to recommend with the high price tag it releases with.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
The Legend of Steel Empire - Review, 6.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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