Operation STEEL (PC)

One major life lesson we should all take in is that you should never judge a book by its front cover. Obvious foreshadowing aside, time to boot up another run, pray to the gods of RNG and Shmup it up, it’s Operation STEEL time. 

Operation STEEL is a Shmup meets Roguelike developed by UNDERMOG Games and released on Steam for a bargain price of £11.39.

A brief description of a Shmup would be you pilot a small spacecraft, you fight many other crafts until you come to the end of the stage where you throw down against a significantly larger foe that takes a bigger slapping down than the others. 

A brilliant genre born from the arcades, still very much steeped in it, and one of my personal favourite genres. Roguelike is another word thrown around ALOT, for the sake of this review in relation to this game, it means that elements of the game are random and thus a fresh game every run. 

This is very much a match made in heaven and when you have a game like Operation STEEL that not only respects the genre but practically dedicates every aspect of its being to the genre it might be worth giving it the attention it demands.

On initial inspection Operation, STEEL looks like a normal standard ship fighting standard enemies, horizontal shooter, earning points, picking up power-ups, and fighting the boss. 

It wasn’t until I’d chipped away at a level or two and found myself flying across a stage that looked very familiar to Konami developed Salamander that cogs started to turn. 

Run 2 saw me spending more care to grab coins, learning that more coins would appear if I took the whole wave down, upgrading my weapons in the shop, and finding a weapon that bore more than a passing resemblance to the laser weapon from Raiden

Run 3 had the shopkeeper mentioning Tuna Sashimi as I was buying upgrades, doing repairs and just spending away my coins. 

From bosses to enemies, stages and even the map of the levels you have been through on that run is covered in reference to other Shmups and it just feels like a giant celebration for fans by fans. 

There are a few ships you can unlock, different weapons that can drop mid-run, these are built up to in time by scoring high on your runs giving you something to aim for alongside that 1CC trophy.

You can upgrade your ship’s hit points, switch out weapons on the fly from any you collect on that run and even pick up old school power-ups like satellites that block bullets or the ability to automatically draw in coins.

While the stages don’t really have any set pieces, the bullet patterns are an absolute joy to deal with and keep you on your toes from your first to the current run. Each stage has a mini-boss and a bigger tougher main boss, these are fantastic fights but I feel they start to get too spongy in the middle of a run.

Operation STEEL has local and online leaderboards so you can see just how well you stack up against the world. There is also a fantastic Caravan shooter style Score Attack mode and even a Boss Rush mode to contend with.

Be it the Roguelike DNA, the brilliant music, effective and colourful art style, smooth and simple controls or the many many references such as the Truxton bomb, I can’t stop thinking about or playing Operation STEEL.

It’s ideal for quick pick up and play, you feel and see you getting better with each run, you always find something fresh and you’re always guaranteed to have a phenomenal time.



Budget priced but far from budget fun. Dangerously addictive  

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Straight from the streets of SouthTown, all Dunks Powah'd and ready to Bust A Wolf. Catch me on Twitch/YouTube.

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