I'd been super impressed with how polished and enjoyable Image & Form's 3DS release Steamworld Dig was, and so was keeping tabs on their follow-up, Steamworld Heist. The game is set in the same universe as Dig, but has completely new gameplay. Heist is a 2-D strategy game, but the view is like a side-scroller rather than the typical grid-based top-down view of games like my beloved Fire Emblem series, etc. The game is as polished as Dig, and in it you command an army of sharp shootin' steambot space pirates (who can also get up close and personal with melee attacks). The gameplay involves gunfights across various space vessels (many of which are procedurally generated), and there's a slew of weapons and items to equip. I tended to go for the weapons with laser sights, because with them it's much easier to pull off tricky ricocheted shots, but there are a number of other worthwhile weapon types as well.
The steam mechanics recall the sadly ignored Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. (by Intelligent Systems and also for 3DS), but the they definitely don't feel redundant. Both games feel less precise than the more-traditional strategy games in that you have to not just position yourself correctly, but also execute your attacks with good aiming and timing. Heist has the added issue that you don't have all of the info about the enemies' movement ranges, etc. at your disposal, but otherwise the game mechanics work pretty well.
The game is divided into three worlds, and I got through the first world pretty quickly and without a lot of effort. I started playing around with using other characters (each with their own character-specific abilities and bonuses) and making use of the adjustable difficulty settings and so was enjoying the game more, but the strategy doesn't change much at all from map to map. The game isn't as immediately gratifying as Dig and things started feeling repetitive even before the halfway mark. There are gameplay goals to reach in every level (pick up all the loot, no deaths, etc.) and they give incentive to replay levels, and there's a built-in level cap so you can't grind to breeze through the harder levels.
All in all I enjoyed my time with Steamworld Heist, but despite its polish in both presentation and gameplay it didn't hit the heights of Dig. The game is coming out as a physical disc for Wii U with the DLC included and the remastered Steamworld Dig in a little more than a week, which is nice to see. I may pick this up again at some point, but this is case where I was happy to play this game, but I'm more looking forward to seeing what the developers come up with next.
Pull off these Steamworld Heist links:
- Official site
- Official trailer
- DLC trailer
- The game is also available on Steam
- Guide, on Steam with details on collecting all the hats and weapons
- Page on Miiverse
- Review at NintendoLife