Crimson Steam

I snagged a copy of Crimson Steam (iTunes link) this past Friday, thinking it would be fun to play with over the labor day weekend. The game play is good, very good actually. It really uses the direct touch style interface of the iPad to good effect, while not trying to shim in a “virtual joystick” or the like. It ends up with a turn based sort of effect that’s vaguely reminiscent of old-school miniatures gaming.

But there is something about this game that just really annoys the crap out of me. The music theme is a (very!) thinnly veiled rip off from the Pirates of the Carribean theme. Its not the same, but its so close as to be nearly identical in my head. And that theme has been SO overworked in my hearing that I just want it to go away. I get that the harebrained folks were wanting to (I think, positively) riff on the genre, and that’s reasonably cool – but I’d really hoped for music that enhanced the game, rather than a piece which, probably because of my over exposure to it, pisses me off rather than adds. The game itself was pretty new and interesting for the gameplay – I wish they’d taken the trouble to make the music something of their own rather than relying on a “common theme” that most people will recognize to try and garner some emotion towards their game.

The artwork is a bit overdone for my tastes as well, but maybe it appeals to folks a bit more into steampunk than I am. It’s a fun, goofy genre – the artwork in the game reflects that.

The only other downside is that the game has a tendency to crash on me as well – usually right when you’re loading up a scenario to play it. I’m guessing they got a bit overexcited with the memory allocation or something, as restarting the iPad resolves it – makes me think they’re hitting upper limits on memory pressure, and just not dealing well when the iPad OS says “shrink or die!” under the covers. Their FAQ even tells you to do restart the iPad (or reinstall), which is an incredibly lame response. I hope they put a little more effort into tuning the memory use to avoid that crap in the future.

Published by heckj

Developer, author, and life-long student. Writes online at

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