Gamers join cartoonish versions of famous literary characters as they battle aliens through a steampunk version of 19th-century London in Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. The acronym stands for Strike Team Eliminating the Alien Menace, the group is led by Abraham Lincoln, and it includes Henry Fleming from The Red Badge of Courage, Queequeg from Moby Dick, and Tom Sawyer, among others. Agents wear boilers on their back and each wields a unique weapon and a special attack, and the action finds gamers teaming up with other agents and heading into third-person, turn-based battles.
Steam is more than just an acronym for the heroic group in this game. It also powers everything in the world, from the airships in the sky to the weapons players use, and steam is even the source of movement and healing during battles. Each agent consumes steam with every action, with one unit of steam being depleted for every space gamers move on the gridded maps, and weapons using differing amounts of steam. This resource management adds a tactical aspect to the action as players guide their agents around each map, collecting medals and gear, and looking for cover to hide from the vicious, insect-like aliens. Levels also contain checkpoints where gamers can save their progress, stock up on steam, sell medals to revive fallen teammates, and use gears to upgrade equipment.
In addition to the single-player campaign, Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. offers three different modes of local and online multiplayer action. Deathmatch pits two gamers against each other in a battle to the death, while Medal Battle is a five-turn contest to see who can collect the most medallions, and A.B.E. Battle mode involves taking control of the Anthropomorphized Battle Engine, a stories-high robotic version of Abe Lincoln. The game also offers Amiibo support, with players able to scan and play with characters from the Fire Emblem series.