This is a download-only title, and is actually a port of an obscure shoot-em-up that was first released on the Genesis and later made its way to the Game Boy Advance. If you were to play the game without this knowledge, you'd be hard-pressed to tell that it was a port and not a brand new game, as the graphics have been given a considerable overhaul to look more like something out of a Neo Geo title.
Steel Empire, though clearly derivative of titles like Gradius and even Scramble, still features a couple of concepts not usually seen in a shmup, much less one that originally came out in the early 90's. Firstly, you can shoot in two directions rather than just the one your ship is facing in. Secondly, your ship has a health bar and thus will take a few hits before going down. This feature in particular makes Steel Empire a much less punishing game than veterans of the genre are used to, though the difficulty can be set to Hard or Difficult if you aren't the type to choose Easy or Normal.
The actual game is quite enjoyable while it lasts, though the last two levels (out of 7) feel like a slight letdown due to reusing bosses from earlier in the game and having a final boss that takes for-frickin-ever to beat. Regardless, I recommend Steel Empire to anyone who owns a 3DS. Note: Originally the game cost $29.99, which is frankly overpriced in regards to what it offers. However, as of recently, the price is now a much more reasonable $9.99, which is slightly cheaper than the amount the original Genesis version goes for online.
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I agree, this is a great little game. The graphics are very nice and the music is very good and it's just enjoyable to play. However, for it's price (even at $9,99) I think it's way too short and the price of $29,99 was just ridiculous. You're paying for quality - but very short quality!