SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition
Reviewed by Brett
Publisher – Image & Form International AB
Developer – Image & Form International AB
Music – Steam Powered Giraffe, Johannes Hedberg
Category – Action, Strategy, Role-Playing
Release Date – Dec 28, 2017
SteamWorld Heist is the follow up to the very successful and wonderful SteamWorld Dig series by Image and Form games. Steamworld Heist sees you trading a shovel for combat rifles and underground tunnels for the depths of space in this brilliant tactical turn based shooter that’s filled with beautiful art and music.
SteamWorld Heist take place a couple of centuries after SteamWorld Dig 2, you are captain piper the adventurous go-getter in charge of a rag tag group of space pirates. You shoot and loot your way from one end of space to other defending the galaxy from are tyrannical space force and foreign invaders alike. Only you and your crew of cutthroats and opportunists stand a chance of cleansing the galaxy of threats from within and abroad.
In Steamworld Heist combat is the name of the game. What every mission consists of is boarding, looting and deactivating all enemy bots in your way.
Prior to starting a mission you can traverse the star chart and stop in to grab some gear from one of the local bars or backwater black market barges. Bars usually consist of round assortment of guns, gear and maybe a new cast member to add to your gallery of rogues. There will also be lone ships in space that serve as strictly gun shops, in my experience its always better to wait to get a gun as a drop from a mission instead. I found myself getting most of the items from shops as rewards from grabbing loot bags and boxes from mission. If you do buy something i recommend going only for rare items as they are less likely to drop during a mission.
The other type of shop found in game is the hat shop of course.
That’s right HATS!
Want a hat made of a cat. Check. Want a hat to match the Russian vibe of your body builder bot. Check. Want a robot head to wear on top of yours as a kind of hat, yup that’s there too.
There are probably between fifty and one hundred hats to buy or alternatively to shoot of the heads of your enemies and keep for yourself. Just as you can take an enemy’s cap for your own they too can shoot off your hat with a well placed shot. Its very important to make sure you garb your hat after its shot off because if you don’t pick it up before you end the mission its gone for good and trust me once you find a badass hat to match your characters badass personalities you will be quite mad if you lose your favorites during a mission. Some are much harder to replace than others.
Ok. Now that i got the hat talk out of the way lets move on to what makes this game so great besides the hats.
The combat in Steamworld Heist is superb. When combat feels this good you don’t want to put the controller down and i didn’t for many hours at a time while playing.
As soon as you select a mission you are presented with the charter selection screen where you will equip one to four character with guns equipment and of course hats. Then its right into the action. Your ship docks with another vessel your crew hops into whatever space craft you are assaulting and its go time. This is a turn based strategy combat game so each character takes turns moving spaces and shooting. Movement can be affected by equipment giving you more or less spaces to move, you can also essentially be crippled leaving you prone during a turn.
Shooting is done by manually aiming your shots. This feels really good and leaves all error of missing in your hands. There are many, many types of weapons available to find and purchase, each character fits into a class and can only certain weapons. Each weapon handles very differently and getting a feel for each one is required but you will soon find a favorite. Some guns come equipped with a laser sight and a majority of guns have the ability to ricochet shots. Let me tell you bouncing a bullet of five surfaces to nail a bot in the head feels great.
Each level or ship, in which most cases are randomly generated are cleared by obtaining all the loot in the level in most cases. Sometimes its destroying a specific thing or enemy, as in boss levels, but its always about getting all the loot you can and getting as many crew mates to the designated escape pod to take you back to the safety of your ship. this is repeated over and over as you gain better gear and xp that levels you up unlocking character specific abilities and enhancements.
The hand drawn art style of SteamWorld Heist is beautifully done and the attention to detail is amazing and really shows the love that was put into making this game, as is the case with the SteamWorld series as as whole. With an insanely good score by Steam Powered Giraffe and Johannes Hedberg all the music in SteamWorld Heist is equally fantastic. There is an actual robot band representation of Steam Powered Giraffe in all the bars in the game and their folksy, blues, space rock is so good that each bar i visited a stayed for a while and mingled with the other customers until i listed to each song several times over before leaving.
SteamWorld Heist is an absolutely amazing game filled with subtle references and delightful hat names that you for no reason should not play. The graphics, artwork and score are so fantastic, lovingly done and full of detail (really hope this makes it to vinyl soon). Every encounter is fun to play through and thanks to most levels being randomly generated, never gets stale. Combat is fresh and fluid, it really does feel good getting in great shots that are due to you being a crack shot, or feeling the sting of defeat for not being one. There is even a new game plus to keep the fun going even after completing the game, crank up that difficulty for even more challenging battles and sharpen your shooting skills to a razor edge.
Everything in SteamWorld Heist comes together to form a beautiful, fun to play, amazing gameplay experience.