SteamWorld Heist is an indie game developed by Image & Form, who brought us the immensely popular SteamWorld Dig game and its sequel.
Heist takes place after the events of Dig 2, as our robotic characters struggle to cling to existence after Planet Earth has been shattered.
Resources are scarce, and that’s why our trusty Steambot pirate leader Piper and her scrappy crew are exploring space and raiding enemy ships for loot.
The objective of the game is to enter a series of procedurally generated ships, accomplish certain missions like obtaining epic swag, rescuing robots in distress, or destroying big baddies.
Combat consists of moving your characters behind cover, lining up shots, and firing weapons that you’ve collected from across space. Many times, destroying all enemies is not a requirement for success, so it pays to play smart and keep the mission in mind.
Along your journey, you will collect a plethora of weapons in many categories and a ragtag bunch of crew members with different abilities. It’s up to you to determine your loadout for each mission, and any characters that survive the ensuing encounters will gain more experience points and level up.
Controls are flawless. Whether you’re playing with Joy-Con, Pro Controller, or even touching the screen without the need for any buttons, the game adapts to the way you want to play. You can gain a bit more accuracy by aiming with the touch screen if you prefer, even if you play the rest of the game with analog sticks and buttons.
Gameplay in SteamWorld Heist is turn-based, but fast-paced and exciting during the player’s turn. Aiming is a nonstop challenge that gets easier with experience, and as you learn how your character’s “breathe” and move naturally as you line up a shot. Sometimes, I wished that I could speed up the enemies’ turn, especially when multiple Scrappers and turrets were on screen. A “zoom-out” button also would have been helpful for scouting a ship, but panning around works fine.
It’s hard to complain about the graphics in this game, which are high definition with a stylized art approach. Presentation is equally good, with quick load times, a driving atmospheric soundtrack, simple user interface, and genuinely funny and clever writing that endears you to the characters and their world.
SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition boasts a healthy amount of content, including DLC previously sold on other platforms. A large range of difficulty settings promises replayability, as well as New Game+ mode unlocked after beating the game (which took me over 10 hours). The downloadable content adds a playable character, interesting side-missions, and a load of hats with pop-culture references.
Simeon and I both played through this title simultaneously, and it was really fun to compare our loadouts, including all the optional characters Simeon unlocked while I was impatiently pressing through the main storyline. Exploration and strategizing is rewarded in this title!
SteamWorld Heist is easily recommendable to everyone that enjoyed Mario + Rabbids, the Worms series, or previous SteamWorld games. Heist has more limited movement options than Kingdom Battle, but is also available for the lower launch price of $20 on the Switch eShop, launching December 28th. To sum it up, it’s a challenging, rewarding, interesting, smooth, expansive game for a great value. Two Button Crew awards SteamWorld Heist: Ultimate Edition an 8.25 out of 10. Buy it!