The idea of a submarine simulation game may not seem enjoyable to most, but there is something very satisfying about guiding a sub through various obstacles and leaving destruction sinking behind you. But with only a handful of missions the game is over far too quickly.

The game features seven missions with three different subs, so replaying levels is encouraged.  Even with replaying each level with all three sub the game can still be completed in just under a few hours.

Each levels plays similarly, steer the submarine from left to right and up to down. Each level is very linear with an occasional branching path that offers nothing unique. There isn’t much variety in the levels.  Nintendo missed an opportunity not allowing players to explore more varied levels with hidden caves, coves, and treasures.  The game plays like a tech demo.  It looks incredible, the 3d is impressive, and the controls are spot on, but it doesn’t feel like a complete game.  About the time I started settling into the game and feeling comfortable with the controls the credits were rolling.

The game is controlled by using the touch screen to guide the sub with various speed and depth sliders.  Each sub controls differently and offers unique attributes the other subs don’t have.  While controlling the sub may seem easy in the early levels the later levels require more skill and preparation, but even with this added difficulty the players skill will never truly be tested.

Aside from missions there are two other modes; Periscope Strike and Steel Battalion. Periscope Strike is short timed missions trying to destroy ships or submarines from the perspective of the periscope.  It’s a quick thrill but with limited variety and short play time there isn’t much to this mode.

Steel Commander mode is similar to the board game BattleShip.  It is a turn based game that you can play with a friend.  While entertaining, it is a shame this is the only multiplayer mode in the game.  Nintendo missed a great opportunity not allowing players to battle subs with each other or racing each other down narrow caves.

Overall, Steel Diver is a very impressive game that is low on content.  It features impressive gameplay and is a great showcase for the 3D effect but will leave most gamers wondering where’s the rest of the game.