The Lady of the Lake knows you've got to change with the times, so when a super steam powered jerkface of a knight storms your castle with his minions and boots you off into the horizon, she changes your sword for a fancy rifle in IriySoft's platform shooter game Steam King. After the long, long, long load, and a long, long, long (but cute!) cutscene, you can move with [WASD] or the [arrow] keys, and click to fire or use [Z] or [X] to do so too. Your health is in the upper left corner, and at the bottom you'll find a count of any grenades (launched with the [spacebar]) that you're carrying... these grenades don't carry between levels, so smoke 'em if you got 'em. Most importantly, however, in the top middle of the screen is your count of cogs, which you can spend at any time on upgrades by clicking the dollar sign icon to the upper right, which presumably sells them off to an interdimensional steampunk cosplayer. If you die, you'll be booted back to the last checkpoint you passed in each stage.
Steam King wants to be a goofy, fun, silly game, and it is, but it does feel like its pacing is holding it back. You have to be upgrades in specific orders, which makes it frustrating to have to spend precious, slowly amassed cogs on upgrades you might not want just to get to one you do. The levels tend to be nice and big, allowing plenty of opportunities to replenish your cogs, though they're also a little slow to showcase variety initially. Stick with it, however, and Steam King ups the ante nicely, with a lot of different enemies, hazards, boulders to push, power-ups to find, and more. It plays like a very classic platformer, allowing you to hop and blast away at most enemies incapable of stepping down off a ledge after you and only letting you fire in a straight line, but that's sort of part of the charm. It's a game I found myself having to warm up to because of how simplistic and easy it initially seems, but the more I played it, the more I found myself liking it. It's still a little clunky in movement and control compared to some other games in the genre, but its style and increasingly creative, sprawling levels, and classic boss battles earn a lot of marks in its favour. You could probably do without the annoying enemy knock-back when the flying enemies start bouncing you around like a pinball when they show up in number, and it make take a while to start really showing off, but Steam King is a quirky and challenging classic platformer that is a welcome addition to the genre.