Steel Diver

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Steel Diver Game Poster Image
Clever submarine sim takes advantage of 3DS hardware.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 9+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

While not overly negative, the purpose of the game is, in part, to fire at enemy subs and creatures and stay alive by avoiding mines and other obstacles. Most missions have military undertones of destroy or be destroyed.

Positive Role Models & Representations

As commander of the various submarines, you must attack enemy vessels to complete missions.


Ease of Play

The game is fairly easy to learn on the Nintendo 3DS, but different modes have different objectives and camera angles, so there might be a small learning curve during the first few minutes of each mode.


Players can shoot torpedoes at enemy submarines and deep sea creatures. Depending on the mode, the game is played from a third- or first-person perspective. There is no blood or gore in the game, but you can fire weapons, with the intent to destroy. Your submarine can be destroyed by running into mines.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Steel Diver is a military submarine simulation, featuring some violence. You can blow up enemy submarines and see the vessel sink into the ocean. The cartoon-like graphics means it's not realistically represented, nor are there people screaming or bodies floating in the water. You can also destroy deep sea creatures out to harm you. But be aware a periscope mode has you play the game from a first-person view. Plus your ship can be destroyed by running into mines. Parents need to remember that Nintendo is warning parents not to allow kids age six and under to view the graphics in 3D because that viewing "may cause vision damage." The Nintendo 3DS offers parents the ability to lock out the use of 3D graphics in the system's Parental Controls.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written byGroo May 26, 2017

steel diver 3ds review

This game is great formkids its just shooting submarines no blood no gore so good
Kid, 12 years old December 3, 2011

Submarine simulator is somewhat good.

This game is very slow-paced and short on content. This game is one the reasons why the 3ds had a slow launch. This game does not fully utilize 3ds hardware cap... Continue reading

What's it about?

As one of the Nintendo 3DS launch titles, STEEL DIVER is an arcade submarine simulation for the portable game system. You are in control of various subs, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. For example, the Manatee can maneuver the waters quickly but doesn't handle as well as the slow but sturdy Serpent sub. The Blue Shark, however, is the most balanced in your fleet. Depending on the mode you play, you'll be firing torpedoes at enemy subs, avoiding mines, and navigating around other underwater obstacles in order to reach your goals. You'll use the touchscreen to carefully control your depth, speed, and pitch (and prevent water from entering the sub by fixing the leak with the stylus pen). The game also includes fun first-person elements, viewable through the submarine's periscope, and a head-to-head wireless option for two friends in the same room.

Is it any good?

Steel Diver is a good game, but $40 is a bit much for what you get. That is, there are only seven main missions to tackle (which are replayable with different subs), plus there's the "ad hoc" Steel Commander multiplayer option for two friends in the same room. But Steel Diver doesn't seem to have longevity as many other Nintendo games, though it is still fun while it lasts. The 3D effects works well, too, which adds to the immersion, as does the gyroscope sensor that lets you move the 3DS around in 360-degrees to look for (and shoot at) enemy submarines in Periscope Strike mode. You can also earn sub decals that unlock special abilities, such as increase speeds or stronger defenses. Overall, Steel Diver is a fun game but it might be better as a weekend rental than a $40 purchase.

Online interaction: The game lets you play wirelessly with a nearby friend ("ad hoc" mode), but there is no over-the-Internet multiplayer options. Gamers can't chat through their Nintendo 3DS while they're playing, either.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about submarine games not being very popular in North America. Could Steel Diver help to make the genre a popular one, or is this a niche topic?

  • Does the Nintendo 3DS add more pizazz to the graphics because it's playable in 3D and the gyroscope has you move your body around to see the action?

Game details

  • Platforms: Nintendo 3DS
  • Price: $39.99
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Nintendo
  • Release date: March 27, 2011
  • Genre: Simulation
  • ESRB rating: E10+ for Mild Violence
  • Last updated: November 11, 2020

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