Can’t Wait for The Order: 1886? Play These Other Steampunk Games Instead

Rachel Kaser 16-02-2015

Steampunk is a recognizable aesthetic characterized by steam power and Victorian fashion. The Order: 1886 claims not to be steampunk, but it certainly looks like it. If you can’t wait to play it, or if you believe it isn’t, here are some steampunk games that you can play instead.


The Order: 1886 and Steampunk

When trailers for Ready at Dawn’s new game 5 PS4 Exclusive Titles To Make Xbox One Owners Jealous Having already proposed five reasons you should be buying a PlayStation 4, it's time to focus in on the games that will be released for the system within its first year on sale. What follows... Read More The Order: 1886 hit the web, the word “steampunk” immediately leapt to mind as a convenient descriptor. It’s set in Victorian England with advanced technology, so it was an easy association to make.

However, Ready at Dawn co-founder Ru Weerasuriya told Joystiq that the very people making the game deliberately avoided what he calls “the s-word.” Their rationale is that calling The Order steampunk brings with it certain connotations that they didn’t want associated with their game. Instead they call it “Neo-Victorian.” Six of one, half-dozen of the other, if you ask me. But whatever; Ready at Dawn’s game, Ready at Dawn’s prerogative.

What is Steampunk?

The term “steampunk” comes from the idea that, in a steampunk world, steam is the primary source of power. Some of it is inspired by Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, and borrows some Victorian elements. The “-punk” suffix originated in the word “cyberpunk,” which characterized a world of high technology and low lives. So steampunk in its purest form is a Victorian aesthetic and steam-powered machinery with story focus on the lives of ordinary individuals within such a society.

There have been a number of games NeoSteam - Steampunk Victorian Fantasy MMORPG Gaming Read More that fit this description. With that in mind, here are a few steampunk games you can play instead of The Order: 1886:

Thief II: The Metal Age (PC)

“Blessed be the Forge that gives shape unto metal, and steam unto the boiler.” The entire Thief series is a mix of steampunk and Medieval Gothic. The second game is the one where the punk-y tropes stand out the most.


Master thief Garrett gets caught up in the schemes of the Mechanist cult, an extremist religious sect that views machines as the inheritors of the land. Garrett encounters numerous steam-driven bots and clockwork security cameras made by the Mechanists. Garrett fits the profile of the lowly main character in this land of evolving tech.

Alice: Madness Returns (PC, Xbox 360, PS3)

We just can’t seem to leave Alice in Wonderland alone. When it comes to dark adaptations of classic literature, they don’t come much darker than American McGee’s Alice. This version is Alice Liddell, an orphan with serious mental health issues whose subconscious manifests as Wonderland.

There are some steampunk elements in the first game, but it comes to the forefront in the sequel. Alice, now the resident of a mental institution, must fight the Infernal Train, a massive moving monstrosity that looks like a cross between a cathedral and a steam engine.

Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs (PC)

Something about these settings invites horror, it seems. The original Amnesia had a few steampunk elements, if you squinted, but they are much more prominent in the sequel. The game is set on the eve of World War 1, an accepted endpoint for the real-world period associated with steampunk.


Even the title gives it away: The greatest horror in the game is the massive, steam-powered machine that… I’d better not say any more lest I give something away. Machine for Pigs uses steampunk to invoke horrors specific to a time period, to great effect.

Dishonored (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)

This game is set in a world that looks like it’s transitioning out of a steampunk era. Whale oil is pushing things towards an industrial revolution, and I’ve seen it described as “whalepunk” for that reason. But I do see heavy steampunk influence in the architecture, costumes, and weaponry.

It’s a fantastical setting, with hero Corvo handling clockwork mechanical devices that are powered by magic. The dystopian setting is also characteristic of “punk” settings, as it is about the lives of the lower classes in the society.

Machinarium (PC)

You want robots? This game has them. Machinarium, a point-and-click indie game 3 Great Free Games For Kids New to Gaming Read More , really puts the “steam” into their steampunk. The entire game looks like it is set inside a giant metal boiler. You play one such robot, a little guy named Josef who’s been thrown out onto a scrapheap. He must overcome the machinations (sorry, I couldn’t resist) of the Black Cap Brotherhood, who are currently holding his girlfriend hostage.


The beautifully drawn backgrounds show a world of wrought iron, crumbling bricks, and steam pipes holding everything together.

Bioshock Infinite (PC, PS3, Xbox 360)

The original Bioshock definitely had a steampunk kind of look. But it’s this game, Bioshock Infinite, which feels more like a classic example of the genre. The city of Columbia, floating high in the sky, has steampunk robots and Victorian-era fashion and weaponry.

Infinite is much brighter visually than the other games, and feels more like an adventure. Still, the underpinning conflict is literal class warfare; and protagonist Booker is an anti-hero detective with a very dark past, fitting the mold of punk heroes.

Tell me what you think!

If you think one of these games isn’t steampunk, or you have a favorite that I’ve forgotten, let me know in the comments below!


Related topics: First Person Shooter, PlayStation, Steam, Xbox 360.

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  1. Ben S
    February 21, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    I just finished The Order for my MUO review, and it will be up shortly!

    Man, was the game short...

  2. Dann Albright
    February 19, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    I definitely recommend Dishonored if you're looking for a steampunk-influenced game. I've always loved dingy Victorian urban settings, and the one that they created in Dishonored was really great. I've been looking forward to The Order for quite a while, and I can't wait to see how it stacks up!

  3. PlaGeRaN
    February 17, 2015 at 11:20 am

    I wouldn't mind playing Machinarium 2 if they ever make one. A game similar to that (if you have a psvita) is Escape Plan. Fun, dark and funny as hell!

  4. Doc
    February 17, 2015 at 12:47 am

    Steampunk: "Something about these settings invites horror, it seems." It would seem that in the 19th century, there was less government oversight, few people had IDs, and it was so easy for a few people to disappear and never be missed. This was also the age of Springheel Jack, Jack the Ripper, and Dr. Jekyll. As such, it's the perfect setting for horror, whether in the US or England; a mad scientist could make you disappear and turn you into a steampunk "cyborg" with little effort, or use you for crazy experiments like a Victor Frankenstein. Modern horror got its start in the 19th century, and adding pseudo-technology appropriate to the time is a perfect fit.

    • Dann Albright
      February 19, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      I really like the connection you've made between steampunk and Victorian Gothic literature / culture. That was my focus as an English student, and I definitely a see a lot of links there. I especially like that you bring up both Springheel Jack and Dr. Jekyll; the idea of something lurking in the shadows, hidden behind an illusion of normalcy, seems very relevant to The Order.

  5. Ben S
    February 16, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    I'd like to chalk my vote up for BioShock Infinite. I played it for the first time last month and I absolutely fell in love with it. Play the original BioShock first for sure, and then you can fully enjoy Infinite (and the DLC, Burial at Sea).

    One of the coolest stories ever with an ending I'm still thinking about months after finishing it. I'm a nostalgia-laden guy, and it instantly rocketed itself into my top 10 favorite games ever.

    So consider this your second recommendation, everyone!