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Steel Diver is a simulation video game developed and published by Nintendo, with assistance by Vitei, for the Nintendo 3DS. In the game, the player controls a submarine via a set of touch-screen based levers and wheels. The game was released in 2011, and was followed up by a free-to-play sequel in 2014, titled Steel Diver: Sub Wars.

Steel Diver
Steel Diver cover.jpg
Packaging artwork released for all territories
Developer(s)Nintendo EAD
Director(s)Takaya Imamura
Producer(s)Tadashi Sugiyama
Designer(s)Takao Kurebayashi Shigeru Miyamoto (Steel Commander)
Programmer(s)Giles Goddard
Artist(s)Takaya Imamura
Masahiko Murakami
Hiroki Ishibashi
Composer(s)Atsuko Asahi
Toru Minegishi
Platform(s)Nintendo 3DS
  • NA: March 27, 2011
  • EU: May 6, 2011
  • AU: May 12, 2011
  • JP: May 12, 2011
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer



In the year 19XX, a 'power-hungry rogue nation' invaded several nearby countries. A secret organization known as the 'Steel Divers' was formed from various countries' navies to combat this threat. The Steel Divers travel through various areas including Arctic and jungle settings and are eventually tasked with destroying the enemy stronghold.


Steel Diver consists of 3 main modes: Missions, Periscope Strike, and Steel Commander. Missions is further broken down into 2 modes: Campaign and Time Trials. The main gameplay occurs during Campaign. In Campaign, the player uses sliders and dials on the touchscreen to manoeuver a submarine through side-scrolling levels displayed on the top screen, sinking enemy submarines, battleships and avoiding naval mines and depth charges as required. There are seven missions available, playable with different subs and difficulty modes, which usually involve goals such as eliminating enemy fleets or infiltrating enemy bases by reaching the goal in a time limit. Time Trials features the same gameplay style and controls, however the levels are shorter and are not connected to the story, instead being solely to achieve a fast time through a complex path. Periscope Strike mode is played after every successful mission or can also be played separately, or as part of Steel Commander. This mode sees the player moving the system to rotate a periscope to fire torpedoes at enemy ships. Steel Commander is playable against the CPU or a human opponent via Download Play. It is a strategy game in which the two players command a fleet of battleships and submarines and try to sink each other's fleet.[1]


At E3 2004, Steel Diver was first shown as a playable tech demo for the then-upcoming Nintendo DS. The concept of a sub game, however, was, according to Miyamoto "Long before that" and stems from Miyamoto's desire to make a flight sim.[2] Even though he had created Pilotwings which has some similar aspects to the genre, Miyamoto was not fully satisfied with its simulation aspects.[2] He noted that a true flight simulator players "should be flying a huge passenger aircraft instead of, say, a fighter jet." [2] He also noted that a submarine was similarly big and bulky and thought that the subject might work for a simulation game.[2] He had considered developing the game for a system before the Nintendo DS, but soon realized that the control system for such a game would be less than ideal.[3] Even though the tech demo at E3 2004 had good buzz Miyamoto was unable to expand on the idea until late in the DS's life due to scheduling conflict.[3] When a team was finally able to be allocated to the project the 3DS specifications became known to him at which point he felt the game would work better as a 3DS title.[3]

Six years after the DS demo Nintendo revealed the game at E3 2010, as a launch title for the Nintendo 3DS.[4] The game was developed by Nintendo's Entertainment Analysis and Development division in cooperation with the external company Vitei.[5] It was released in North America on March 27, 2011, where it was one of the first games for the Nintendo 3DS. However, it did not make the Japanese and European launch window. The game was released in Europe on May 6, 2011, and in Japan and Australia on May 12, 2011.

Steel Diver: Sub WarsEdit

Steel Diver: Sub Wars
Artwork released for all territories
Developer(s)Nintendo EAD
Director(s)Takaya Imamura
Producer(s)Tadashi Sugiyama
Designer(s)Takao Kurebayashi
Programmer(s)Daniel Wright
Nathan Heckel
Shintaro Iguchi
Artist(s)Takaya Imamura
Ryo Koizumi
Ryota Kanno
Composer(s)Kenta Nagata
Atsuko Asahi
Toru Minegishi
Platform(s)Nintendo 3DS
  • WW: February 13, 2014
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

In June 2013, it was announced that Nintendo was working on their first free-to-play game, which would be based on Steel Diver, to be released by March 2014.[6] This was ultimately revealed to be titled Steel Diver: Sub Wars during the Nintendo Direct on February 13, 2014, which released after the event for the Nintendo 3DS. Sub Wars is a first-person game featuring a free-to-play online multiplayer mode and two levels of the single player campaign, with additional features and missions available to the paid version.[7] The game supports a range of control schemes including the Circle Pad Pro and touch screen for many inputs.[8][9] Reviews have been mostly positive.


Aggregate scores
Review scores

Steel Diver has received mixed reviews. IGN's Audrey Drake gave Steel Diver a 7 out of 10, praising it for its addictive gameplay, but gave caution that the slow-paced strategy is not for everyone.[12] Contrarily, Game Informer gave the game a 4.00[clarification needed], praising its music and sound, but criticizing the multi-player and the knob-moving game play during a time limit and chaotic levels. Official Nintendo Magazine awarded it 61%, criticizing its lack of content, saying, "Wait until the price dives for the depths before you consider a purchase."[13] GameSpot awarded it a score of 4.5 out of 10, saying "Steel Diver never figures out if it wants to be a submarine simulation or an action romp, and that indecision leads to a yawn-inducing experience."[14]


  1. ^ "Steel Diver". Nintendo Australia Pty. Ltd. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d "Iwatta Asks volume 5: Asking Mr. Miyamoto Right Before Release". p. 4: Why Develop Steel Diver Now?. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Iwata Asks: Volume 5 Asking Mr. Miyamoto Right Before Release". p. 5 Better on the Nintendo 3DS System.
  4. ^ SILICONERA.COM - Steel Diver Was At E3… Six Years Ago
  5. ^ "Iwata Asks: Steel Diver – 1. Ever Since the Original Star Fox". Nintendo of Europe. May 19, 2011. Archived from the original on July 31, 2011.
  6. ^ Green, Andy (19 June 2013). "Steel Diver Will Be Nintendo's First Free-To-Play Game". NintendoLife. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  7. ^ McMahon, Conor (13 February 2014). "Free-To-Play Title Steel Diver: Sub Wars Breaks The Waves Today On The 3DS eShop".
  8. ^ Ben Williams (February 12, 2015). "New Nintendo 3DS Review". The Hazel Key.
  9. ^ Zorine Te (February 15, 2015). "Games That Are Better On The New Nintendo 3DS". GameSpot.
  10. ^ "Steel Diver". Game Rankings. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
  11. ^ "Steel Diver". Metacritic. Retrieved 2011-06-17.
  12. ^ a b "Steel Diver". Retrieved 2011-03-30.
  13. ^ a b "Steel Diver review". Future plc. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  14. ^

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