SteamWorld Dig 2 easily belongs in one of the top games of 2017. As a spin-off to the SteamWorld Dig series, the newly released SteamWorld Heist feels like a completely different take on the SteamWorld formula. It has the been there, done that feeling, but still offers a fresh perspective on gameplay with a focus on turn-based movement and combat system.
SteamWorld Heist is an old game but it has received a breath of fresh air with the release on the Nintendo Switch. The complete package is now available as a single game with the post launch DLC ‘The Outsider’ now integrated in the main game, it feels like the ultimate offering for fans who have enjoyed the original SteamWorld Heist. The art style is fresh and might be familiar to the fans of the series, but the focus on a space pirate life and scavenging ships and planets is a nice idea that is executed well here.
In Steamworld Heist, you will take the roll of a space pirate captain who is out to scavenge for new items and water resources. There are nods to the Steamworld Dig series throughout Heist but the majority of the gameplay is focused on a tactical combat and movement system that lets control a party of steam-powered robots. You can recruit new robots in your party if you fulfill some of their specific requirements letting you expand your team. The main theme for the game is scavenging while the story is fairly simple.
Steamworld Heist gameplay plays like a turn-based side-scrolling shooter where you control a team taking turns among them. The levels are designed as spaceships that you will board to locate treasure, water resources and more. You will also encounter enemies that you have to kill before they can shoot at you, since the health is limited for each member of your party. The levels are all procedural generated so it leave the door open for replay value. Each level comes with its own rating and the randomization of items mean you can replay it again to get a different set of items.
The combat works as a side-scrolling shooter where your character will have limited movement. You can either move to a limited set of blocks and ready your character for attacking the enemy, or you can move them even further while losing the ability to perform an attack or action. The limited movement helps keep the game strategic forcing you to either choose escaping an enemy ambush, or stand against their attacks and retaliate back. The game isn’t exactly easy on the normal difficulty so chance are that the random level design might make you die a lot especially if you end up with more enemies than what you initially fought in a level.
Speaking of the enemy placement and difficulty level, there are close to 5 difficulty levels and they can be changed at any point when starting a level. The level difficulty not only has an affect on the number of enemies, it can also get you more experience points or rewards when you complete a level. If you are running low on resources, you can attempt to replay a level that you already completed on a higher difficulty setting. It works both ways with a lower difficulty setting if you have trouble clearing a level.
The combat is entirely strategic and relies on risk vs. reward. The placement of the shot that you make matters, as well as the stats of the gun. Since some guns don’t have a laser sight, which makes aiming easier, you will have to decide between choosing a weapon that best fits your style of play. Some weapons will offer more fire power when you get a critical hit with them, which usually means targeting the weak points of the enemy. The bullets will ricochet on the surrounding metal so you will have to carefully think before making your shot. If you can get closer to your enemy, melee attack is also an option but again, it is a risk vs. reward system since the opponent can also counter your melee attacks.
Steamworld Heist is a fun turn-based strategy game with an addictive exploration and combat system. The replay value on offer here is immense and the Switch version has all of the post-launch extra content included with it, letting you experience the game at its best.
SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition Review (Switch)
Game Reviewed on: Switch
Game description: SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition is fully optimized for Nintendo Switch™. It comes with "The Outsider" campaign, including a mysterious ally and a shipload of weapons, upgrades, hats, and missions previously only available as DLC.
Despite having an art style similar to the SteamWorld games, this is a completely different take on the SteamWorld series with a focus on turn-based strategic battles offering a good amount of challenge with procedurally generated levels.