Steamworld Heist for the Nintendo 3DS Review

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So, no one should be surprised that I have a review of SteamWorld Heist, the next game by the creators of SteamWorld Dig. In a sense, it seems like Image & Form, the developers behind the SteamWorld franchise is making the next generation version of the Oddworld franchise. What I mean by this is SteamWorld Heist is a different game altogether from SteamWorld Dig. Instead of an action platformer, we have a turn-based tactical RPG with SteamWorld Heist. Let’s begin!

SteamWorld Heist puts you into the shoes of a ragtag group of what are essentially space pirates/rebels as they take down other space bandits and what is basically the royal guard as they try to take them down for stealing an unusual piece of cargo. What could it be? Why do they want it? Will you find the right hat to wear on your head? Once again, the universe is pretty fun with the steambots this time being able to fly in space with huge ships, country music, and be able to run bars. The characters are memorable, like the main character Captain Piper, who is a fun female character. She is a strong captain, but she cares for her crew and what the heck is going on around her.

SteamWorld Heist is a 2D tactical RPG, where you control up to four characters as you traverse ships to take down enemies, find special story-based items, and since you are basically space pirates, loot, and plenty of it! You get a variety of weapons from pistols that shoot once, rifles with multiple shots, rocket launchers that have area damage, and if you want to, you can even put up your dukes and try to recreate any scene from One Punch Man. You will be able to recruit multiple individuals who have different abilities, from being able to move around the level faster to being a better sniper. As you level up, you will gain new stats and newer abilities, like not being able to take damage for one turn, or be able to heal everyone next to you. The levels themselves have twists and turns with barrels/barriers to get behind, flammable substances on the ground, turrets, and so on. Another element of the levels you should watch out for are areas you can shoot your bullets off of to ricochet and hit a target from far off. As you complete the levels, you will gain loot, such as currency, weapons, armor, upgrades, and sub-weapons which you can equip your crew members with. Knowing what crew member to use, and what weapon to give them will really help with what strategy to use on each level. Even on the casual setting, expect a challenge. I was slaughtered by one boss so many times, and I can’t even imagine how hard this boss is on the harder difficulty modes. You will definitely get your money’s worth in value with multiple missions, difficulty modes, and side objectives.

The graphical presentation is great. A lot of the characters look unique and have memorable designs, from the strong-man recruit carrying a dumbbell, to the surly sailor robot that is with you at the beginning of the game. The music is probably the best part of the presentation. There are actual songs with lyrics and singing when you go into bars, and they sound pretty fantastic. The game also has a silly sense of humor that helps lighten up the mood between raiding another ship and almost getting your hat blown off your head. They do so much to make sure this universe is memorable and full of personality, and it all works.

I only have a few complaints. The first complaint comes from the fact it is on the 3DS. Not that it doesn’t work on the console, but being able to have a wider range of view so you can line up long-ranged shots would be helpful. It makes me wish this was released on the Wii U or other home consoles initially. The game is very playable on the 3DS, but it makes me wish all the guns had laser pointers. I also found myself not using the ricochet mechanic a whole lot, since I kept pulling off long-range shots and had no need to learn about them until I encountered a boss-like character that could pull off perfect ricochet shots with no problem. My final complaint is that I wish there was a way to negate additional enemies barging in on tough battles. It’s kind of like how in Valkyria Chronicles for the PlayStation 3, you can blow up bridges to prevent enemies from using them. It would have been interesting if I could destroy or jam the doors so enemies wouldn’t flood into a room while I was fighting a challenging boss like the Queen.

In the end, SteamWorld Heist is another hit game from Image & Form. It’s available now for the Nintendo 3DS, but will be released in the future on the Wii U, PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. If you liked Image & Form’s last game, SteamWorld Dig, and want another tactical RPG-style game to hold you over until the new Fire Emblem comes out, then you should totally get SteamWorld Heist. You won’t regret it.

This game gets an 8 out of 10.