No Mario, Miis or Pokémon? Yes Nintendo have ventured out of their comfort zone with their latest 3DS release.

Steel Diver is a submarine game, or rather a collection of underwater diversions.

At the heart of the game are the campaign and time trial missions. In these you manoeuvre one of three types of submarine through maze-like levels while avoiding collisions and torpedoing enemy subs, ships and the occasional sea monster.

The challenge comes in the controls, which take the form of a cockpit displayed on the touch screen of the 3DS. Using the stylus you steer your submarine using sliders that adjust your depth, direction of travel and speed as you travel through attractive aquarium-like levels.

These controls are cumbersome and deliberately so because the challenge is to find a balance between the care needed to safely make it to your destination and the speed required to get there before time runs out.

It's tricky and tense, but rather ponderous. It's also slight, feeling more like a smartphone app game than a £40 retail offering.

To make up for this Steel Diver offers two more submarine-themed games. The first gives you a periscope view of the sea and challenges you to torpedo enemy ships and boats. It has its moments and some impressive 3D effects (the stormy seas are especially good), but again it's all a bit throwaway.

The final offering is Steel Commander, a turn-based strategy game reminiscent of the board game Battleships but vastly inferior in almost every way. How Nintendo let it slip past quality control we do not know.

The end result is a £40 game that, at its best, delivers the kind of fun you'd expect in a 59p app game and, at its worst, even less than that.

Stuff says... 

Steel Diver review

A wet fish, with nowhere near enough depth or firepower

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