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[Nintendo Switch] The Legend of Steel Empire Review

[Nintendo Switch] The Legend of Steel Empire Review
  • On January 23, 2024

Horizontal shoot ‘em up gem Steel Empire is back for another round, now on Nintendo Switch. Are you ready? Then check out our The Legend of Steel Empire review!


Horizontal shoot ‘em up gem Steel Empire is back for another round, now on Nintendo Switch. This time, Mebius has cooperated with ININ Games for this revamped HD experience on Nintendo’s hybrid console under the name The Legend of Steel Empire. For those of you who have yet to play Steel Empire, let me tell you… you’re in for a treat! But before we dive into this new 2024 version, let’s talk about the game’s original run.

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Steel Empire launched way back in 1992 for the Sega Genesis/Megadrive in Japan, North America, and Europe. The European version is known as Empire of Steel. It was a shoot ‘em up from developer HOT?B that presented a steampunk-inspired take on the genre. This was followed by a Game Boy Advance version in 2004 that certainly packed a punch. And 10 years later, we also got a revamped Nintendo 3DS version. It’s now 2024, and 10 years after that Nintendo 3DS release, we’re getting a port of 2018’s PC HD version.


The Silverhead and Motorhead nations are still at war, and it’s now time for Silverhead to send the Reinhart into action so that it can bring your aircraft of choice to the battlefield. Your first mission will be to reclaim the mining city of Rahl, which has been seized by the evil Motorhead forces. For this mission, you can choose between two different options: the Etupirka (ET-02R) or the Zeppellon (ZP-02N). Choose wisely!

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To make it easier for you to decide which one you should use for this mission, you should know that the Etupirka is equipped for ground and air combat, has a high speed, and a good enough protection against enemy attack. The Zeppellon has high attack power and certainly packs a punch. While it has a slower overall speed, it’s built like a tank, so it will allow you to trade blows with your opponents without quickly falling in action.


Since this is a new take on an old-school shoot ‘em up, the controls are simple and to the point. You will control the aircraft of your choice with the left analog stick or the D-Pad, shooting at enemies by using the B and Y buttons to shoot left or right as needed. The A button will be for your super bomb, which is going to deal a ton of damage to enemies or to the huge bosses you’ll run into at the end of each stage. You can play on one of three difficulty settings: Easy, Normal, or Hard. Very Hard will unlock once you’ve completed the game.

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As you fly through each stage, you should keep an eye out for the different pick-ups you can collect. There’s one with a big dollar sign that will boost your overall score. Another one will have a capital P and will boost your overall attack power up to three times in total. The one with a capital O will add extra units known as Options to your aircraft, which can attack enemies alongside your aircraft. Find an item with a B on it, and you can add an extra bomb to your arsenal.


You can also find something to repair your aircraft if it is damaged. This is important since, depending on the difficulty setting you play in, you could end up taking on a bullet hell-worthy experience! Avoiding attacks is important so that you can reach the boss not only with as much health as possible but also with as much firepower as possible so that you can deal some good damage. Every time you grab three attack power-ups, you’ll receive a boost to your level, so try to stay alive as you keep up with the increasing challenge so that you can destroy the Motorhead forces! And if you’re lucky, you could find a 1-up to add an extra life to your count!

This new version also has an in-game achievement system for you to work on. There are achievements for completing each of the seven stages on offer, for playing through the game with the Zepellon or the Etupirka, reaching the end while playing on the Easy, Normal, Hard, and Very Hard difficulty settings, obtaining 1,000,000 points, completing the game without using any bombs. Oh, and completing the game without losing a single life while playing on Very Hard.

It’s been a while since Steel Empire’s launch on the Sega Genesis/Megadrive, way back in 1992. It’s now 2024, and we’re getting a revamped take on this shoot ‘em up gem under the namee The Legend of Steel Empire. You’ll get to enjoy all seven stages with a new HD coat of paint as you work your way through its achievement system. With four different difficulty settings, it’s a journey that gamers of all skill levels can enjoy as they take on the evil Motorhead forces in this steampunk-inspired shoot ‘em up. The Legend of Steel Empire is out today on Nintendo Switch with a $24.99 price tag.

This The Legend of Steel Empire review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by ININ Games.

Review Overview

A solid old-school shoot 'em up gets a new life on Switch