Steel Empire
Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

Steel Empire was one of many shmups that was released on the Sega Mega Drive back in the day, and stood apart from the crowd thanks to its unique steampunk aesthetic, which took a lot of inspiration from the Hayao Miyazaki classic, Laputa: Castle in the Sky.

The game would later be ported to the Game Boy Advance and then the 3DS – with the latter version using the console's autostereoscopic 3D to good effect.

Now, Steel Empire is getting a new release on the Nintendo Switch, thanks to publisher Mebius. It's based on the 3DS version – which might explain the rather fuzzy upscaled visuals shown in the screenshots below – and comes with a replay mode and in-game achievements.

Our pals over at Nintendo Life awarded the 3DS version 9/10 when it was reviewed back in 2014, with the following verdict:

Combining classic shoot-‘em-up action with an irresistible steampunk style, Steel Empire is an old-school delight. Not only is it a fantastic example of a remake done right, with a polished presentation that feels right at home on the 3DS, it also stands as a great modern game in its own right. The two-way shooting gives the fast-paced action a unique feel, excellent level and enemy design keep things interesting, and an actually easy ‘Easy’ mode lets inexperienced players drawn in by the steampunk aesthetic see it through to the end. If the idea of a steam-powered side-scrolling shoot-‘em-up gets your motor running, get ready to party like it’s 1992 — Steel Empire is a blast.

Here's some PR:

Steel Empire is a steampunk shoot ’em up game featuring a frantic combat filled with powerful enemies and insane obstacles. Enjoy a beautiful world and retro game-play as you dodge and shoot your way through classical stages. Choose one of four difficulty settings according to your set of skills and fight the evil empire! See how well you did using the Replay Mode and show your worth by getting all achievements.


Choose to fly one of two classes of fighter aircraft: the Etopirica (ET-02R), a small and a fast plane, or the Zappellon, a slower but more resistant zeppelin. You fly in only one direction, but you can fire from behind as well as ahead. Levels are divided into a few stages to complete, each with their own boss before moving onto the next level. After a level is complete, you can change your craft, watch a replay, continue the game in your current craft, or save your progress.

During the game there is a certain number of lives and continues at your disposal. Once the health bar is depleted, a life is lost with a play continuing normally. If all lives are used, you can hit a continue, which will restart at either the beginning or midpoint of a stage depending on how far you were. When all continues are expended, the game is over.

To increase your firepower, collect powerups such as experience points, health, bombs or additional lives.

Key Features

- Complete remake truthful to the original game, based on 3DS version with improved graphics and controls.
- Side-scrolling shoot ’em up game, originally released on Sega Genesis and later on Game Boy Advance and Nintendo 3DS.
- Seven complex stages full of adrenaline-pumping action and boss fights.
- Collect special power-ups and increase your firepower with a level-up system (up to 20 levels).
- Steam Achievements and Trading Cards.
- Full controller support.
- The classic is back!

You can check out how the Mega Drive, GBA and 3DS versions of the game compare in the video below.

[source, via,]