Steel Diver: Sub Wars is a downloadable sequel to the Nintendo 3DS launch title Steel Diver. The game is played from the first-person perspective and is focused on submarine combat. It was released on February 13, 2014 on the 3DS. The game comes in two versions; a free version, with a limited amount of content, and the full version, which must be purchased.
Without the Circle Pad Pro :
- Circle Pad - Control ship's depth and direction
- X - Move the ship forward
- B - Move the ship in reverse
- Y - Use the sonar
- A - Launch a torpedo
- R - Launch a homing torpedo
- L - Switch between the area map and the sonar
With the Circle Pad Pro
- Circle Pad Pro - Control the ship's speed and direction
- ZR - Launch a torpedo
- ZL - Use the sonar
You can use the touch screen for all the controls as well. Additionally, the touch screen has three blue buttons that allow you to use the periscope (controlled using the 3DS gyroscope), to communicate using morse code and to go into stealth mode.
Because the battles take place underwater, the action is a lot slower and requires foresight more than actual precision.
The player has to use torpedoes to destroy enemy ships and submarines. The standard torpedoes will always go in a straight line and require to predict where the enemy is going to be. They are unlimited but need to be reloaded once they have been depleted. Homing torpedoes will follow the enemy, but are limited to three per ship. Destroying enemies rewards with health or homing torpedoes pickups.
The sonar and area map help the player locate enemy vessels. The area map is split into areas (from A1 to F6) and areas containing an objective are highlighted in blue. The sonar is used for close combat and shows the player points of interest when used. Yellow dots show objectives, white dots show other vessels (allies or enemies) and purple dots show crew that can be rescued.
It is possible to go into stealth mode, called "Masker", which makes the player's ship completely disappear from sight. It still shows up on the sonar and in the area map. Stealth mode ends after a few seconds, if the ship fires a torpedo or surfaces. Being in stealth mode does not prevent the ship from being hit by torpedoes but it will cause homing torpedoes to lose their target. The masker is limited by an air gauge. Going into stealth uses air and in order to replenish the gauge, the submarine has to surface. Since using the masker is impossible while surfaced, it can be a risky maneuver if an enemy ship is nearby.
Submarines and Crew
The player is able to choose and personalize their submarine. They are unlocked by finishing single-player missions with a star ranking and ranking up their multiplayer profile. Submarines can also be personalized using patterns that are unlocked in single-player and multiplayer.
The submarines have varying stats :
- Number of torpedoes
- Torpedoes reload time
- Number of crew member spots
- Torpedo strength
- Turn speed
- Surface speed
- Submerged speed
- Depth change speed
In addition, crew members can be added and modify the submarine's stats. Crew members appear randomly during certain missions or in multiplayer matches and have to picked up to available.
The game has 7 missions available, with each having three progressively unlockable levels of difficulty. Finishing a mission rewards the player with a circle or a star medal, depending on if the special objective has been completed. Since each level of difficulty has its own medal, each mission can reward up to 3 star medals, which are used to unlock additional submarines and patterns.
The multiplayer battles are 4 on 4. If some players are missing, they are replaced by AI enemies though only human players count to determine the winner. Each player only has one life, and friendly fire is enabled. The battles take place in a randomly chosen map, varying from huge fight in the middle of the ocean, to small range battle in a fish tank.
As most of the submarines, crew and patterns in the game are unlocked by ranking up in multiplayer, this mode is the obvious focus of the game.
Instead of regular text chat, the game supports Morse code chat in multiplayer with a chart of the Morse code alphabet available to quickly look up.
A free version of Steel Diver: Sub Wars is available on the 3DS eShop. It contains the first two single player missions in the game (with all three difficulties), two submarines (though one has to be unlocked) and the full multiplayer experience. All crews or patterns unlocked are available but any submarine unlocked is not available until the premium version of the game is purchased.
In version 2.0, access to the online multiplayer portion of the free version requires two Play Coins.