Is Steelborn, Worth Playing?
Honest Video Game Reviews received a free copy of this title for review purposes, however our opinions are our own.
Steelborn comes so close to perfection that its over-reliance on a single mechanic and subsequent fall from grace is one of the greatest disappointments I have encountered when reviewing games in the last 5+ years.

The Lowdown.

Product Details
Genre: Action
Developer: Vega Horizon Studio
Publisher: Take Aim Games
Price: $14.99
Release Date: 7th March 2023
Supported Modes:

Partial Controller Support.

Games like Steelborn are always more enjoyable when played with a controller. Honestly, I am baffled by the developer’s insistence on focusing on keyboard and mouse controls for so long when a superior model of control (and one required by the Steamdeck) is left in a half-finished state for so long.

With missing keybinds, incorrect key binds, crash-to-desktop bugs, and a half-finished controller IU already in place, it’s clear the developer doesn’t set much value on playing Steelborn with a controller, despite it being much more enjoyable when using a controller (bugs included).


Boring Mech Gameplay.

Being able to control a mech suit is a fantasy held by many people of all ages. While not every mech-related game has delivered in all areas, it’s very difficult to make stomping about in a massive combat suit boring, and yet Vega Horizon Studio has done exactly that, making the sections where the player is forced to control the Steelborn (mech) some of the worst gameplay I have been forced to endure in recent memory.

1) Punch Mechanic.

Punching things as a robot is difficult to make tedious. Still, the developer’s instance that each punch requires charging and the charge bar’s annoying tendency to occasionally empty for no reason (causing a misfire) has somehow managed to accomplish that.

This would be less of an issue if punching was not required to open passageways, jump, dash, double jump, escape area of effect damage, handle certain enemies, deflect certain projectiles and more.

2) Lack of Defensive Abilities. 

Mechs are made of solid metal; in the case of Steelborn, we can only assume steel. Yet, boss encounters will see players facing off against powerful enemies without the ability to block attacks or dodge to avoid them, leaving only one method of defence, you guessed it… punching bosses to interrupt them.

3) Lack of Mobility.

The Steelborn mech, which players are forced to control, has the manoeuvrability of an out-of-service school bus, and platforming sections are a nightmare due to the developer’s instance that jumping more than a few inches off the ground requires p[layers to perform a punch jump or punch jump dash.

What makes this all the more laughable is my pilot character when on foot, can jump roughly twice as far and twice as high as his 30ft tall mech suit, a suit of that size should be able to easily step between platforms without the use of a “punch jump.”

4) Unrewarding Combat.

Despite being made of solid steel, the Steelborn is a bit of a wimp, with a barely effective laser cannon and armour that can sustain damage from even ankle-high lizards, slugs and spiders.

(Un)fortunately for players, they are not entirely defenceless, as with every other challenge in Steelborn, punching is the solution!


Save Issues.

While Steelborn does offer a save system, it is rather peculiar in that save stations occasionally will not load. Even when they do, they are often positioned in locations that require players to redo tedious platforming sections (which are beyond terrible due to the over-reliance on punch jumping) or watch unskippable cutscenes.

While everyone is grateful for a checkpoint before a difficult encounter, it’s customary to place another right after it to ensure players don’t have to repeat it if they fall prey to another danger further down the line.

The developer’s instance of repeatedly making players replay the same punch-heavy sections has ruined Steelborn for me, despite being impressed by its presentation and overall level of polish.


Boss Battles.

At first glance, the boss battles in Steelborn look pretty impressive, with each boss encounter comprising multiple phases and each boss presenting the player with new challenges to overcome, and that is true.

However, upon discovering that every boss battle requires the player to stunlock and interrupt the boss with the punch mechanic, I began to notice that every battle and phase was essentially identical in that no matter how cool the enemy looked, no matter how many moves it had, every boss had the same weakness. That weakness was the already overly-used Steelborn punch mechanic, and after discovering this, my desire to play Steelborn vanished.

I have played many games with mech characters, and Steelborn is the first game where I wished I could take on the boss on foot instead.

With every encounter reduced to punching a boss and then blasting it with lasers, I found myself mentally AFKing through encounters, which is a shame due to the excellent soundtrack, varied mechanics and stunning pixel artwork. I would love to see the developer redesign Steelborn to remove the punching mechanic entirely or reduce its importance in boss battles and similar high-stakes encounters.



Steelborn looks fantastic, and while pixel art games are not for everyone, I feel that the aesthetic is perfect for low-budget indie titles, as it allows developers to focus their limited resources on making a better game, which can also include more variety of enemies, with 2D pixel art sprites frequently being easier and cheaper to animate than their 3D counterparts.


Steelborn’s soundtrack is a perfect match for its 2D visuals and 16-bit aesthetic, and honestly, it’s one of the best parts of Steelborn and one of only a few aspects of the game that doesn’t require players to punch things.


The elevator encounter music is unironically amazing and is well worth listening to.

Steelborn FAQ

Steelborn is a action video game developed by Vega Horizon Studio and published by Take Aim Games, it was released on 7th March 2023 and retails for $14.99.

Platform Availability.

Steelborn is available exclusively on PC.

How Long Does Steelborn Take to Complete?

On average Steelborn takes between 5 and 6 hours to complete.

  • Main Story: 5 Hours.
  • Main + Side Quests: 6 Hours.
  • Completionist: 6 Hours.

Estimated completion times are derived from various sources and may vary based on the skill level of each player.

What Peripherals Are Supported?

The following peripherals are officially supported:

  • PC - Mouse and Keyboard.

Is There Any Mature Content?

Steelborn is unrated and contains the following:

  • Violence

Final Verdict.

Steelborn is a decent game, but it could have been great if the developer had spent more time fixing bugs and less time finding new ways to shoehorn in the punching mechanic.

Is Steelborn Worth Playing In 2024?

Honest Video Game Reviews has given "Steelborn" a rating of 5/10, which means, while it is mediocre/average, and has its fair share of issues, the average gamer would not regret playing it.

You Might Be Interested In: