[[caption-width-right:350: The plane that won the World Wars... [[RecycledINSPACE OF STEAM!]]]]

-> "''The Battle of London - October 15th, 1940. The Axis' flying armada is en route to London. The Allies are [[SciFiWritersHaveNoSenseOfScale outnumbered 1000 to 1]]. [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption You cannot save the city]], but [[YouShallNotPass you can stall the armada long enough for London's citizens to evacuate]]. Good luck and Godspeed, pilot.''"
-->--'''''Steambirds: Survival'' opening speech'''

A [[AlienSpaceBats zany]], addicting flash game series and iTouch app (The original can be found [[http://www.kongregate.com/games/weasello/steambirds here]] and ''Survival'' can be found [[http://www.kongregate.com/games/spryfox/steambirds-survival here]]). An AlternateHistory version of our timeline where, in 1835, "Sir Albert Pendleton" accidentally discovered [[AppliedPhlebotinum low-temperature fusion]], resulting in nuclear fusion-based [[SteamPunk steam-powered]] jet fighter analogues stylized in decidedly WorldWarII design fashion.

The story is vaguely told in the mission descriptions. As can be followed, the timeline moves forward in a very InSpiteOfANail fashion, with WorldWarI occurring in a reasonably similar fashion to our own with similar dates, albeit with heavily increased emphasis on [[DeathFromAbove air superiority]]. However, the timeline begins to diverge more in WorldWarII, which opens with the [[NukeEm nuking of Paris by Axis Germany]]. Continuing in that vein, Britain is subsequently invaded by an overwhelming German air force utilizing advanced bioweapons. Despite this, [[AlternateHistoryWank by]] [[OnlyTheAuthorCanSaveThemNow some]] [[AssPull unknown]] [[AuthorsSavingThrow providence]] [[DeusExMachina of fate]], they are able to push the Germans back and end the war in 1956.

Despite the [[SlidingScaleOfAlternateHistoryPlausibility less-than-plausible]] timeline, the game is genuinely fun, utilizing a self-contained mission structure. Within the iTunes app and first flash version, each mission provides a number of planes, typically between two and four, and a (usually) substantially larger enemy force to defeat. This is achieved by directing your planes' movement (they fire automatically when an enemy enters their firing arc) and usage of special weapons. Stars are awarded for your performance, ranging from four for not taking a hit, to one for coming out with one HitPoint left.

In ''Steambirds: Survival'', a spin-off game, you play an EndlessGame reenactment of this world's version of the Battle of Britain (called in-universe the "Gassing of London"), where you're tasked with making a LastStand in order to [[YouShallNotPass buy time]] for escaping Londoners--ranging from [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming orphans]] to Parliament--[[TakingYouWithMe by taking as many Germans down with you as possible]]. You earn "copper," which is used to buy more advanced aircraft until you can buy the [[strike:[[InfinityPlusOneSword Behemoth]]]] [[InsistentTerminology Allurbase]] [[BraggingRightsReward airship]].

!! This game provides examples of:
* AirborneAircraftCarrier: {{Subverted}}. Airships are present, but they don't carry aircraft. They do have wide gun coverage and an absurd amount of armor, but not complements of aircraft.
* AlienSpaceBats: The true point of divergence for the timeline is this, with a man discovering cold fusion twenty-five years before the UsefulNotes/AmericanCivilWar (the birthplace of modern warfare) even broke out and long before the nuclear weapon was ever invented in RealLife.
* AllohistoricalAllusion: Combined with ShownTheirWork. Charles Babbage, who in our timeline became the father of the modern computer, is noted in the game to be the inspiration for a computer made by the Axis to crack the [[LaResistance French Resistance's]] communication codes.
* AlternateHistory: in which SteamPunk jet fighters rule the skies alongside floating fortresses and [[ZeppelinsFromAnotherWorld airships]]. The timeline, AppliedPhlebotinum excepted, isn't too different until WorldWarII, where it's implied that America never joined WorldWarI and the SovietUnion never took power in Russia.
* AlternateHistoryWank: Britain walks cleanly out of a WorldWarII [[DarkerAndEdgier far darker and]] [[CurbStompBattle more one-sided]] (and not in their favor) than ours while Germany ends with a defeat-in-detail worse than the RealLife WorldWarI. They also consistently defeat German forces substantially larger than their own, and by the end of the game the levels are without-exception two or three British planes versus some ten or fifteen German ones.
* AmericaWinsTheWar: {{Subverted}}. It's implied that America ([[AndZoidberg and Canada]]) joins neither world war. In fact, it's implied that America [[HolyShitQuotient doesn't even care that the Germans are taking over Europe]].
* AppliedPhlebotinum: Present in copious amounts. The "low-temperature fusion" which Sir Pendleton somehow discovered in 1835 appears to [[SteamPunk power everything]], as all aircraft emit steam trails and ''Survival'' mentions fusion plants in London being dismantled to deny the Germans the assets.
* ArbitraryGunPower: Guns have [[PowerLevels arbitrary stats]] which, in conjunction with an armor stat, tell you how much damage your plane will do to the enemy plane's health bar.
* AwesomeButImpractical: The "Chickadee" fighter deployed by the British. The ace pilots demanded a [[AceCustom plane]] "that wouldn't hold them back." The British responded with [[FlyingBrick a plane with a very wide firing arc, high speed, impressive damage, and useful special abilities.]] [[WeaksauceWeakness All this came with practically no armor to speak of.]] Most of the pilots refuse to use the plane on these grounds.
* BadassBoast: One of the story memos in ''Survivals'' is this: "''Death will feast on us all, but his appetite will be sated by all these German appetizers!''"
* BloodKnight: One of the story memos in ''Survival'' urges the player to be this: "''[[HonorBeforeReason What men would give for this chance at glory!]] Kill them, brave pilot. [[LaughingMad Kill them, and laugh!]]''"
* BonusBoss: The Barrage, a gunship equipped with ridiculously heavy armor and paired missile launchers (although it can only fire one per turn). It appears at the end of the bonus Commonwealth levels.
* BritainIsOnlyLondon: The Germans are implied to be invading all of Britain in ''Survival'', but we only see the Battle of London and that is understood from the text to be the most important part of the battle.
* CoolPlane: Many of the aircraft in the game--a majority of which are inspired by real planes as per WordOfGod--qualify for this trope, but the Looper and the Axe probably take the cake.
* ColorCodedForYourConvenience: Mixed with PaletteSwap. The British and Germans will use the same planes sometimes, the only difference being the color (in the original, the British are always red, while the Germans vary between blue, green, and black). Some planes share the same airframe model but have different names and attributes. This could all be assumed to be GameplayAndStorySegregation, however.
* CurbStompBattle: WorldWarII is this in the beginning in favor of Germany, but about midway through the game the British are typically beating large enemy squadrons with only a handful of their own planes.
* DeflectorShields: One of the special abilities, without so much as an accompanying HandWave.
* DegradedBoss: Greatly weakened versions of the Bombino, Behemoth, and Barrage appear as regular enemies in ''Survival''.
* EasyLogistics: {{Subverted}}. Though your planes have unlimited ammo and fuel, ''Survival'' notes that various facilities are being dismantled so that the Germans can't use them. Also, one mission in the iTouch/iPad version centers around you having run out of ammo in the last mission and therefore forcing you to rely solely on missiles.
* EndlessGame: In ''Survival'', there is no end to the waves of German air craft attacking you.
* FailureIsTheOnlyOption: ''Survival'' makes it clear from the start that you can't stop the Axis armada from gassing London, you can only hold it off as long as possible in order to let as many as possible escape. The iTouch game goes further; each city's storyline inevitably ends with a massive armada on the way to bomb each city to the ground.
* ForcedTutorial
* ForWantOfANail: Possibly blended with a {{subversion}} of HitlersTimeTravelExemptionAct. It's not unlikely, given the way the game speaks of Germany, that the [[ThoseWackyNazis Nazis]] never took power in Germany.
* GameplayAndStorySegregation: The number of planes seen don't add up to nearly what would be necessary to fight a world war, even if it's a locally focused on in Europe. It's also mentioned that the British stole their missile tech from the Germans, but the Germans never use this missile tech. This is probably because the game would be [[CompetitiveBalance too hard]] if they did.
* GhostTown: Britain's major cities are described as becoming this in ''Survival'', and it's played for all the [[DespairEventHorizon depressing]] they can get out of it.
* GunsAreUseless: {{Inverted}}. Nothing ''but'' the gun can be absolutely trusted to reliably kill the enemy in a reasonable amount of time. Missiles can [[NiceJobBreakingItHero back]][[MisguidedMissile fire]] [[OhCrap spectacularly]] and swing around to kill you rather than an opponent (this is removed in ''Steambirds: Survival''). Poison gas ([[MST3KMantra which somehow jams a plane's guns and damages its airframe]]) can be avoided, and your other auxiliary weapon, the bomb ([[BellisariosMaxim once again, it goes unexplained how a bomb is hitting aircraft]]) depends entirely on the enemy aircraft being behind you at a specific distance to be hit.
* HeroicSacrifice: The player-character in ''Survival'' is ultimately destined to make this regardless of how good the player is. Also in ''Survival'', a team of scientists is noted to have refused to leave their lab in Britain even under threat of mass gas bombing from Germany. They stayed on grounds of still trying to find a cure to that very poisonous gas and believing that they were very close to a cure.
* HonorBeforeReason: Some of the mission descriptions read as this, with British pilots sent to lure the German air force out on the understanding that they aren't coming back.
* InSpiteOfANail: This timeline's world wars start right around the same time as when ours began, and their WorldWarI even ends at about the same time. Their WorldWarII diverges a lot, however.
* ItsUpToYou: In ''Survival'', the player will frequently start with [[RedShirtArmy a small squadron of attending planes]], but these have something like 1/10 of the health of the equivalent player aircraft and get shot down rapidly.
* JustForPun: The second special mission involving the "Chickadee" prototype aircraft is called "Dead Turkey," a play on the phrase "Turkey Shoot."
* LaResistance: The French Resistance still forms in this timeline to fight Axis Germany.
* LastStand: The British air force has one of these in ''Survival'', fighting on purely to destroy as many enemy planes as possible and distract them from evacuating ground personnel and civilians.
* LethalJokeCharacter: The Looper flying wing [[SuperPrototype prototype]] actively encourages the player to use [[IndyPloy ridiculous tactics]]--like full 360 degree spinning on the horizontal plane--to offset the aircraft's [[AwesomeButImpractical very narrow firing angle]].
* MacrossMissileMassacre: The [[AuthorityEqualsAsskicking Axis leadership's]] final base uses a subdued form of this trope, launching an unlimited supply of missiles which fill the sky and cause incredible tactical issues with attacking the otherwise-defenseless enemy aircraft.
* MisguidedMissile: The missiles in the game are apparently heat-tracking and will fly until they hit a target. [[FriendOrFoe This target]] [[HoistByHisOwnPetard does not have to be on the opposite side of the firing aircraft, however]], as it seems that the world of ''Steambirds'' did not develop IFF technology yet.
* NukeEm: Germany's opening of WorldWarII.
* OhCrap: An appropriate response if you fire a missile and it swings around to kill you instead of hitting an enemy. Also an appropriate response for the "true" final level of the iTouch version, which involves '''''three''''' enemy Behemoths ''with'' an attending squadron.
* OneManArmy: If a mission starts with more than one plane under player control, all of them will likely be needed for that mission. But if you only start with one, you are guaranteed that you'll slaughter with just that plane. The player-character in ''Survival'' is made of this trope, as is the pilot of the prototype Looper flying wing aircraft.
* SchizoTech: The nations of this Earth have missiles with no Identify-Friend/Foe technology, flying wings without stealth or advanced fly-by-wire technology, and [[ImprobableAimingSkills guns which can target enemy missiles mid-flight and shoot them down]]. They power all of this with [[SteamPunk steam]].
* ShoutOut: To George Orwell's Literature/NineteenEightyFour. In ''Survival'', Japan is mentioned to have "floating fortresses tied up in China." This is also an AllohistoricalAllusion; Japan was embattled in China while Germany was fighting its war in Europe, having invaded the area in 1932 in RealLife.
* SteamPunk: [[CaptainObvious Duh]].
* StupidJetPackHitler: Although possibly lacking in the [[UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler Hitler]] and any trace of time travel, this world's version of Axis Germany enters WorldWarII with nuclear and chemical weapons of surprising advancement, as their nuclear firepower is apparently sufficient to vaporize Paris.
** Actually, it's [[FridgeBrilliance almost certainly lacking in Hitler.]] The games never mention one way or another, but a history nut can tell because of one key fact: [[EvenEvilHasStandards Hitler did not approve of and never would have approved the use of poison gas on the battlefield.]] The Germans ingame... are not as principled.
* SuspiciouslySmallArmy: Neither side in either world war seems to possess nearly enough planes, although this is likely a clear-cut example of GameplayAndStorySegregation.
* TakeThat: One of the story memos in ''Survival'' takes a potshot at British Parliament and [[AcceptablePoliticalTargets politicians in general]]: "''Parliament has been evacuated. Our politicians are saved! Hooray?''"
* TakingYouWithMe: The British air force's attitude in ''Survival'' towards the Germans.
* ThemeNaming: Each plane usually has a name that is appropriate. The [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Looper]] is designed to use 360 spins as standard tactics. The Spider is highly agile and fast, designed to spin "webs" of poison gas and run the [[TooDumbToLive foolish enemy pilots]] into it. The Duster is designed to fight in mass groups and lay unavoidable paths of poison gas. So on and so forth.
* WeaksauceWeakness: The Chickadee is made as the perfect plane, a textbook example of a FlyingBrick...except for that small problem of having no armor to speak off. Needless to say, fighting in it involves avoiding the enemy firing arc at any cost.
** The Neverslow has extreme speed and maneuverability, a powerful gun, and a nearly infinite supply of speed boosts. It also has '''very''' thick armor, unlike the above example. Unfortunately, it is completely unable to slow down.
** The Looper is more than cappable of shredding anything that it meets in 2 turns max, including [[DegradedBoss Behemoth]]. Most in one turn, often literally killing an entire enemy force by turning beside it. On the other hand, it's firing angle is ''very'' small.
* YouShallNotPass: The British air force's mission in the Battle of London.
* ZeppelinsFromAnotherWorld: The world of Steambirds still uses zeppelin airships, apparently having equipped them with heavy armor and wide-arc anti-aircraft guns.