When K W Jeter initially coined the term steampunk it is unlikely he imagined the extent to which the genre would grow in the years to come. He was initially trying to convey a world powered by steam, but over the years the meaning of the word has evolved into a unique culture involving retrofuturistic designs, inventions, Victorian-era fashion, etc. The global presence of the genre allowed fans from all over the world to collaborate on everything to create some unique and legitimate stories. This, in turn, gave rise to the promise of stunning digital adventures and action-packed narratives in the form of amazing digital steampunk games.
Over the years with the evolution of digital media, steampunk has provided creators with a unique aesthetic that allows them to create a wide range of steampunk game genres such as RPG, real-time strategy, etc. Some of the best steampunk games strive to provide players with a fantastical and immersive world with an emphasis on retro-futuristic tech, steam-powered weapons and machinery, and Victorian-era meets Wild West aesthetic. Here is our list of some of the best steampunk games to enjoy this year.
Skies of Arcadia
Skies of Arcadia is one of the most critically acclaimed role-playing steampunk games created by Overworks for the Dreamcast gaming console and was published by Sega in 2000. This game creates a sense of adventure and majesty as we follow the protagonists on their amazing journey of exploration, turn-based battles, and flying airships in the game’s 3D space.
This game puts a great emphasis on exploration as the players travel through six different regions or cities in their airship. The world map starts out blank, and it is up to the player to chart the map through exploration. Exploration, battles, and completing objectives in the cities provide players with experience points which in turn makes the in-game characters stronger.
This game is a perfect mix of steampunk and fantasy and has received critical acclaim from several well-known institutions such as Metacritic, IGN, Gamespot, etc.
They Are Billions
They Are Billions is a real-time strategy video game developed and published by Numantian Games. This is one of those steampunk games with a post-apocalyptic theme and survival is the goal. The players spawn in randomly generated steampunk-themed zombie-infested worlds. The players then have to build a base and protect themselves from zombie attacks and at the same time, they also have to explore the map, collect resources, expand their base, and fight the local zombie population. There are eight main resources on the map that can be collected by the players. These resources can then be used to create structures and units to defend against zombie attacks.
This game is a perfect mix of steampunk in a post-apocalyptic future where the existing technology fails and the world has to revert back to steam-powered machines in order to survive. This game features amazing steampunk architecture, machines, automatons and weapons that will leave any steampunk admirer in awe.
This game is available on Microsoft Windows as well as on Steam. Xbox and PlayStation versions are also available.
Steampunk games: Professor Layton Series
The Professor Layton series follows the adventures of Professor Hershel Layton and his apprentice Luke Triton. This game is a puzzle adventure video game series and transmedia developed by Level-5. Each title in the series presents a different set of puzzles and mysteries that need to be solved in order to finish the game. The game is based on an integrated structure of adventure-style exploration, dialogue sequences, and regular story-prompted puzzle solving.
The players explore their environment talk with NPCs, learn more about the environment, or locate hidden secrets such as “hint coins” that may be used during puzzles. The puzzles take the form of brain teasers, most of which are only loosely tied to the plot. The game features a diverse range of puzzle styles, such as logic puzzles, lateral thinking problems, mazes, math problems, sliding-block puzzles, and various others.
Steampunk fans might also love the aesthetic setting around the titular character and at the same time may also appreciate the gadgets and gizmos available at his disposal on this grand adventure.
Steampunk games: SteamWorld Dig Part 1 and 2
SteamWorld Dig is a 2D platform action-adventure game created by Swedish video game developer Image & Form. The gameplay revolves around mining for resources and ores which a player achieves by controlling the main character of the game called Rusty. Rusty is a steam-powered robot equipped with a pickaxe but can gain access to a variety of tools, such as a drill and dynamite. New abilities can be unlocked and the tools used for digging can be upgraded as the player progresses in the game.
Part 2 of the series also follows a steam-powered robot called Dorothy as she is trying to find Rusty who has disappeared. Again as with part 1, the gameplay largely involves exploring a vast underground mine, coming up against enemy creatures while finding various resources as the player digs their way downwards. As the game progresses, Dorothy can also gain abilities and weapons such as pressure bombs, a hook shot, and a pneumatic arm that can punch through rocks.
And if the steam-powered robots were not enough the amazing gadgets and tools will definitely appeal to any steampunk games fan.
Steampunk games: BioShock Series
BioShock is a collection of retrofuturistic steampunk games created by Ken Levine, developed by studios such as Irrational Games and 2K Marin, and published by 2K Games. This game is a perfect balance of first-person shooter game modes and RPG modes giving any player a sense of freedom when approaching combat situations or any other situation. The series is also notable for exploring philosophical and moral concepts with a strong in-game narrative that is influenced by ideas such as Objectivism, total utilitarianism, and American exceptionalism.
The first BioShock game is themed around the philosophy of Objectivism established by Ayn Rand. BioShock 2 focuses on versions of utilitarian and collectivist ideals. BioShock Infinite uses the concept of American exceptionalism as the basis for its setting. BioShock 1 and 2 are part of the same story whereas BioShock Infinite is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the first two games but carries many of the same gameplay concepts from the BioShock title.
The series also features one of the best depictions of steampunk themes that combines rusted and gritty machinery with grandiose architecture. This is further complemented by the gameplay that emphasizes action and exploration, allowing the player to search every corner of the map. And if this was not enough then BioShock Infinite’s floating steampunk city of Colombia is definitely something that all steampunk fans will enjoy.
Frostpunk is a survival video game developed and published by 11 bit studios. The players take on the role of a leader in an alternate-history late 19th-century setting where they must build and maintain a steam-powered city during a worldwide volcanic winter. The main objective of the game is to manage resources, make choices on how to survive, and explore the area outside the city for survivors, resources, or other useful items.
The game starts with a group of survivors that consists of workers, engineers, and children. The players are also provided with several small caches of supplies with which to build a city. From here on out, the players have to harvest coal, wood, steel, and food in order to keep their society warm and healthy in the midst of fluctuating cold temperatures.
Everything from the architecture of the buildings to the machines and technology that are used in this game has an amazing steampunk aesthetic. This is one of those steampunk games with a myriad of retro-futuristic tech inspired by the steampunk genre.
Dishonored is one of the most popular steampunk games that many consider being steampunk, however, the genre also draws influences from dieselpunk as the robots and machinery in the game are actually powered by oil and diesel.
Final Fantasy VI is another game that draws inspiration from the steampunk genre. However, this game also has a gothic atmosphere and is a mix of the two cultural genres.
Apart from these Myst is also one of the earliest steampunk games that draw influences from this epic genre. Minecraft (2011) also has an exclusive steampunk-themed pack that can be accessed by players in the game.
Please feel free to let us know your own thoughts and recommendations about some of the epic steampunk games that you may have encountered.