Code Name S.T.E.A.M.

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Code Name S.T.E.A.M. Game Poster Image
Unusual but fun turn-based strategy game with mild violence.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about strategy and perhaps become interested in historical figures and classic works of fiction while playing this unusual tactical adventure. Turn-based missions encourage players to carefully observe their enemies and take stock of their characters' abilities before devising tactics and outfitting their teams. Caution and planning often yield tangible rewards, including new gear and weapons, motivating kids to be even more strategic as the game progresses. Kids also will be introduced to a variety of familiar characters ranging from Henry Fleming (The Red Badge of Courage) to Tom Sawyer (Adventures of Tom Sawyer), which could lead them to seek out the classic books from which they were plucked. Code Name S.T.E.A.M. is a weird but ultimately compelling experience that promotes tactical thinking and could foster an interest in history and historical literature. 

Positive Messages

Encourages kids to engage in strategic thought but with violence as the conduit. Could interest some kids in exploring the classic books from which many of its characters are drawn.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The protagonists -- a mix of historical figures, revered heroes of fiction -- presented as soldiers but only fight aliens. Their noble goal is to protect civilians under attack, aid cities and organizations, defend Earth from invaders.

Ease of Play

Combat is straightforward, but it takes time to master strategy nuances. Most missions take a couple of tries to complete successfully.

Violence

Characters engage in turn-based combat against aliens using rifles, grenade launchers, mines, other weapons. Hits result in cries of pain, occasional small splash of blood. Allies aren't killed but are knocked unconscious, revived after each battle.

Sex

Still image on mission victory screen shows a woman with cartoonishly large breasts, deep cleavage.

Language
Consumerism

Supports amiibo figures, sold separately. Encourages kids to use them to unlock characters in the game.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Code Name S.T.E.A.M. is a steampunk-themed turn-based strategy game with moderate violence. Players control recognizable fictional characters such as Tom Sawyer and Tiger Lily as they use various weapons -- rifles, grenade launchers, shotguns -- to ward off invading aliens and protect the humans they're attacking. Combat includes screams and brief splashes of blood but nothing grisly. Allies don't die when defeated but instead are knocked unconscious and revived after each battle. Parents also should note that this game supports four specific amiibo figures that unlock content, and kids might become interested in purchasing these toys in addition to the game. This game includes online play and supports the Nintendo 3DS StreetPass feature, which means kids could be exposed to unmoderated user-generated text, potentially from strangers. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bypankakemarine236 November 22, 2015

Fun Strategy Game

This game is not for 13+! I think it is for 8+, because all it has is minimal violence. Although, the game can be hard at times. This game can make younger kids... Continue reading
Parent of a 3 year old Written bynashnul June 7, 2015

Fun

But with swearing, sex and violence
Teen, 13 years old Written byGame_squire June 30, 2015

Great game

Some of that stuff on common sense is a lie it's a amazing turn based game.
Kid, 11 years old July 6, 2015

Amazing game

yes it is a good game but it is SUPER HARD. If your kid rages to much over video games then this is not the game for them because it is so hard. I have had this... Continue reading

What's it about?

A mix of famous historical and fictional characters band together to fight aliens in an alternate-history steampunk version of 19th-century England and the United States in CODE NAME S.T.E.A.M., a turn-based strategy game from the same studio that makes Advance Wars and Fire Emblem games. Under the command of Abraham Lincoln and with the help of Nikola Tesla, players move a cast of characters including Tom Sawyer, Queequeg, the Cowardly Lion, Tiger Lily, and John Henry around gridded maps to attack aliens. Gameplay takes place from a third-person perspective, with expended energy shown in the form of puffs of steam with each action. Once all steam has been expended, the aliens take their turn, advancing on your heroes' positions. If you collect coins and gears scattered around the environment en route to each map's goal, they will unlock additional sub-weapons and new boiler backpacks that can increase the amount and regeneration of each character's steam supply. Beyond the lengthy campaign, kids can engage in local or online competitive multiplayer play, pitting their team of heroes against other gamers. It also supports Nintendo's four Fire Emblem amiibo figurines, which can be transferred into the game, where they become playable characters.

Is it any good?

Code Name S.T.E.A.M. takes a fresh approach to turn-based strategy games and not just because of its strange assortment of familiar characters and their often bizarre weapons, such as a scissors-extension boxing glove, a banana peel launcher, and exploding pumpkins. It melds the notion of gridded, turn-based movement with 3-D shooter action in unconventional ways: Players can precisely aim each shot (Hint: Target glowing spots on enemy bodies) for additional damage or creep around stealthily to avoid detection. They can even explore the boundaries of a character's current square to see if they can find a better shot without expending an additional unit of steam. But you need to be careful of your enemies' real-time reactions to your movements. Tread into their field of vision and they'll take a shot at you -- unless you can quickly aim and tap the fire button first.

There's still some room for improvement, though. You have to wait -- sometimes as long as a couple of minutes -- as enemies take their turns. That's a drag. Plus, enemies can sometimes react to player interactions as subtle as a shift of camera, potentially carrying out as many or more attacks than your character during his or her turn. That just feels unfair. Still, it’s an unusual blend of considered tactics and real-time action that ought to prove plenty of fun for people looking for something other than games that reward reflexes over strategy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about classic book characters used in video games. Do you think they remain true to the characters they're based upon? Would you like to read the books that help make the source material for the game?

  • Families also can discuss online safety. How do you conduct yourself when chatting with others online? What are some key differences between communicating with people online versus in person? 

Game details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love tactical action

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