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One kind of shooter game you usually don’t hear about is a top-down shooter. With a world full of first-person shooters, there hasn’t been a whole lot of variety in shooting games (and no, a Tanks game doesn’t count). While modern top-down shooters are a bit rare to find, they’re far from non-existent. One of the best top-down shooters is Steel Storm: Burning Retribution, and it’s one you really should play.

About Steel Storm: Burning Retribution

Steel Storm: Burning Retribution is cross-platform so anyone can play it, even Linux users! It is a top-down shooter where the goal of the game is to complete the objectives in each mission while fending off enemies. The game has a futuristic setting where you’re in a hovering shooting machine that fires all sorts of lasers, and fighting extraterrestrial enemies. You can get the game on Steam for just $4.99.


After a download of just under 800MB, you can immediately start the game and get going. You’ll first need to create a profile to use, so that you can keep multiple games going and/or keep things separate if more than one person plays the game on the computer. While creating a profile, you can also choose between “Arcade” and “Classic” mode. Essentially, all this does is tweak the difficulty so that it’s easy or difficult, respectively. In other words, if you choose Arcade mode, you just want to play and shoot down enemies to release some steam.


Once you’ve created and selected the profile, you can start playing the game. You can go through in a single-player campaign mode, where you have many different missions you must complete in order. There is also a multiplayer mode which works over a LAN network so that you can play with or against other players on your network. Multiplayer offers three different game modes — campaign, team deathmatch, and capture the flag. All of these modes are very fun to play in and should be great for some LAN parties with friends.

Once you’re in the game, it’s easy to move around. You can use the W, A, S, and D buttons to move, and you can shoot with the left mouse button. You can shoot enemies and nearby containers for possible boosts, such as health replenishment and upgraded laser guns. Depending on the mission, you’re supposed to do various tasks such as go through various force fields that keep you from advancing until you do certain things or destroying certain structures while being attacked by enemies. There are a lot of different possibilities, and it can actually take quite a bit of work and luck to get through a mission — at least, it will if you play in Classic mode.


Steel Storm: Burning Retribution has some great graphics for a moderately lightweight game. Despite the stunning look, performance is still excellent. In fact, on my laptop which sports Intel HD 4000 graphics, I can crank up the settings to their maximums and not experience any lag. There is a selectable option specifically for Intel graphics, so I’m not entirely sure what this does to improve quality or performance (or compatibility, as that could also be an issue).

Future Development

The game has actually been out now for a while, and it’s been a blast to play. The developers behind the game have been running a crowdfunding campaign (such as those found on Kickstarter) to fund the development for Steel Storm 2, the successor to Steel Storm: Burning Retribution. They haven’t been able to receive a lot of donations to fill their $95,000 goal, but they’re still accepting funding if you thought Steel Storm: Burning Retribution was a fun game. Hopefully if they receive enough money, the developers may start on the development of Steel Storm 2.


Again, this game is really fun because it’s different, it’s fast-paced, and it’s exciting. The best part is that for a paid game it’s actually very cheap, and should offer plenty of hours of entertainment. Best of all, it’s a cross-platform game, and was one of the best games available under Linux at the time, and is still a fantastic game today. It certainly isn’t a big title, but it’s absolutely one worth playing. The game is available from Steam, Desura (an alternative to Steam) 4 Digital Distribution Gaming Clients You Might Like More Than Steam [MUO Gaming] 4 Digital Distribution Gaming Clients You Might Like More Than Steam [MUO Gaming] Although we've been taught to worship anything Steam's Gabe Newell pushes out at us, it's very important to remember that you have other options to explore. I won't argue that anything beats Steam's annual sale... Read More , and independently sold as a standalone, so you can choose your favorite way to obtain the game.

What’s your favorite indie game? What’s been the most unique feature or game mechanic you’ve seen? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Victor O
    October 20, 2013 at 1:10 am

    One of my favorite top down shooters is Alien Swarm. The top-down teamworker-required game is really fun for me :)

    • Danny S
      October 31, 2013 at 9:10 pm

      I'll need to try that game out! :)

  2. Noddy
    October 19, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    Going to disagree heavily. As an avid gamer of all genres and platforms, Steelstorm: Burning Retribution is mediocre at best. After being fooled by the trailer as I'm sure many are, I found it to have unimaginative and boring gameplay bolstered by unmemorable and bland environments from level to level. It's supposed to be 'oldschool'? Well that's great, because it plays like Pong.

    You have to look no further than the Metacritic page for proof of this:
    > "This game features such brilliant things as poor controls, poor timing, a tired (almost to death but evidently not quite there yet) premise with a bland storyline, and then insults the player for quitting.
    Rather than well-paced action and good atmosphere I find myself sitting in one spot and staring blankly at the screen as I wait for some inanimate object's health bar to slowly run out as what can only be described as a half-deaf wazzock's attempt at ambient noise half-heartedly assaults my ears.
    Forgive me for leaving now but there are things I would rather be doing than spending more time focusing on this game, such as sticking my head in a toilet and flushing repeatedly."

    Do not buy, do not play. It is not worth the 5$ asking price.

    • Raquet
      October 20, 2013 at 5:41 am

      If you actually look at the Metacritic closely, there are more positive reviews than negative. They just weight negative reviews more. Also only giant sites are considered critics, so many good reviews (8/10) went unnoticed.

    • professorX
      October 20, 2013 at 5:41 am

      Sounds like you are the same person who wrote than ugly and false MetaCritic entry.

      The game is great, especially with the last DLC. Well worth $5 and even more. It should cost $10 in my opinion.