Dieselstormers Preview – MOUSE n JOYPAD

Dieselstormers Preview



Dieselpunk. You’ve got to love it. After all, there’s nothing quite like the combination of that old Victorian flair and grimy environments and, well, diesel. Black Forest Games – the devs behind Giana Sisters, have envisioned their next game set in one such universe. Where knights in shiny armour use chainguns and oil turns humans into orcs (wait, what?). Set in the ravaged city of Ravensdale, Dieselstormers is looking to deliver a mighty kick for all of those who yearn for a new Metal Slug-alike to wade through.

Over the course of the game, you’ll be in control of one of the Dieselknights – the power-armour clad survivors of the initial orc outbreak. True to their name, these aren’t your ordinary knights. Instead of carrying shields and swords, they use pretty advanced firearms in their task to eliminate the scourge that’s ravaging their city. Not unlike Space Marines of the Warhammer fame, they’re also quite bulky and badass, which are essentially the two most basic qualities you want to give to the characters with a name such as theirs. This universe is a strange mix of medieval and industrial ages, and works wonders when it comes to setting up a strangely endearing story of our knights’ plight to save the citizens of Ravensdale from turning into bloodthirsty orcs. And that’s about it as far as plot is concerned. Don’t expect much in the way of storylines and character growth – you’re here to destroy thousands upon thousands of rabid green beasts, not to read about the connection between the blue and red knight (hint: there’s none – they’re just here to kick ass).

The devs decided to use the sidescrolling perspective for this game, which works rather nicely in the context of given gameplay. As up to four knights charge through the randomly generated levels that comprise the city of Ravensdale, they will encounter a decent number of infected beasties to punch through. By using quite advanced movement mechanics and a wide selection of weaponry at their disposal, our protagonists can easily deal with whatever they might find on their raids. Being an Early Access title, there’s a healthy chunk of content missing from the game, but what’s already implemented gives a pretty good hint of what’s to come in the following months. As a sidescroller/platformer, Dieselstormers has to have a gimmick of sorts to differentiate itself from the rest of what is currently an extremely saturated genre. This comes in the way of movement abilities every knight has at his/her disposal. You can dash in any given direction, stunning enemies and sending the smaller ones flying, you can float with the jetpack and propel yourself towards the omnipresent orb that follows your squad wherever it goes. This orb serves as a connection between the players and gives them the means to get to high grounds or to escape enemy retaliation without wasting the other abilities on these feats. It will gain more functions as the game nears its final version – one of them being special attacks triggered by the entire squad of knights.


Gatlings, exhausts pipes, guts and diesel. Everything a real man could ever wish for.

The levels are not as varied as I’d like them to be, but this can be chalked to the game’s beta state. What’s interesting about them is that they’re randomly generated each time you load one up, so endless replayability is practically guaranteed. The entire game is resting on its systems to generate content on the fly. The enemies, for example, will be just as varied as the levels themselves once everything is up and running. For now, however, we have to contend with the semi-varied city landscape levels and the gun modification system. Indeed, the dieselknights have a small HQ (said to be upgraded soon) where they can try their weaponry out, choose missions… and that’s pretty much it for the time being. Still, it’s a promising start, and if Black Forest Games have shown us anything in these past couple of years it’s that they sure can build a platformer properly. One thing that will hopefully be addressed is the somewhat floaty and unresponsive interaction between the knights and platforms that comprise the levels. While precise and well built, the movement system is missing a certain amount of tactile feedback we’ve come to expect from the genre’s best offerings.

Graphically, Dieselstormers is a much more colorful experience than one might expect at first. Sure, you’ll see lots of browns and gooey greens, but the visual effects and post-processing make the entire scene come alive in a cacophony of lively colours and icky giblets. The whole thing looks quite dynamic on the move, and screenshots don’t do the game much justice. I’ve experienced some framerate drops, too, but nothing that would make me want to stop playing. Technical issues such as this are bound to be solved before release, so it isn’t all that important. The soundtrack is missing a certain something to make it memorable. Sound effects, on the other hand, seem to be spot on, with guns sounding appropriately powerful and the background rustling of the ravaged city streets setting a decent atmosphere that can only be improved further down the line.

From what I gather, Dieselstormers is trying to do the same thing ShootMany Robots did a couple of years back, but with much more oomph to back it up. It’s no secret that everybody loves a good sidescrolling shooter every now and then, and I can say that this game is shaping up to be quite a treat.

Now, enough talk. Where’s my damned jetpack? The orcs threw goop at my house again.