SteamWorld Heist Review

Full steam ahead!

steamworld heist

The Verdict

Despite the SteamWorld Heist’s shortcomings when it comes to mission failure and inventory management, the game is a blast. As a lover of turn-based tactics games, SteamWorld Heist scratched that itch, offering just enough depth and strategy bundled up in a charming game. Difficulty scales rather nicely and you can always adjust it, which means the game is very accessible to everyone.

Whether you’re a die-hard turn-based tactical shooter fan, or you’re a newcomer to games like this, I highly recommend SteamWorld Heist. I’d even go as far to say it’s my favorite game I’ve played on the 3DS this year.

steamworld heist

The Positives

  • The combat 2D, tactical, turn-based combat is a ton of fun. And there’s just enough skill involved that you have control over whether you’re going to hit or not. With every shot, you aim, which gives you the ability to bounce shots off of walls and floors, or blow up barrels, or take out cover.

  • Weapon diversity increases as you progress through the game, and you’ll have a lot of choices of the types of characters, skills and weapon types you want to bring into combat. So you can change your style and tinker from mission-to-mission. Do you want to use machine guns that spray and have recoil? Or do you want mostly high-powered sniper pistols, where you have to choose whether to move or shoot? It’s up to you.

  • While the levels all kinda look the same, the layout is very different. And you’ll constantly encounter new types of enemies. Wrinkles are thrown into the fold when you have only a certain amount of time to complete a mission, or when you complete a goal something else happens. You do get the feeling that you are raiding ships though, and I love that — especially with the wonky cast of characters you have.

  • I love that before you finish a mission, it tells you how of the available loot you found. So if I go to finish a mission and see that i only got 90% of the loot, I can explore a little more and find the last one. I love that instead of having to guess before I finish.

  • While the story is nothing to write home about (it’s pretty straightforward), what makes the game and dialogue so enjoyable are the characters. Each character has a great personality and they’re filled with SteamWorld humor.

  • The game progresses nicely, and you feel your characters getting better, which is a nice sense of accomplishment.

  • The robots’ voices, music and sound effects are all charming, and it goes perfectly with the art style.  

  • Hats, hats and more hats.

steamworld heist

The Negatives

  • While I enjoy the different looks of hats, I wish they offered something a little more than a cosmetic purpose.

  • You can keep buying inventory space, but it’s very limited. The game will constantly make you choose between multiple items you might want to keep, and sell the ones you can’t hold in your inventory. It stinks because I’ve had to sell weapons that I want to keep for diversity, or sell armor because I found some stronger bullets I want.

  • The game is quite unforgiving when it comes to death. Not only does it cost a pretty penny (water) to revive fallen bots, but if a crew member dies during a mission, that crew member doesn’t get any experience. So what ends up happening is the strong keep getting stronger while other robots stay weak. I wish it was more balanced. On top of all of that, losing a crew member during a mission negatively impacts your star rating. It just feels like a bit too much.

  • Because levels are randomly generated, a mission that you thought would be easy can end up being much harder. And because of the high cost of water as punishment for failure, I wish there was a way to restart a mission.

For what it was, I enjoyed SteamWorld Dig. While I’m usually not a fan of that type of game, I found myself playing Dig a lot more than I expected. I kept wishing that there was combat in it though. Never would I have imagined that the next step in that franchise would be the drastically different SteamWorld Heist.

SteamWorld Heist takes the same steampunk wild-west robots theme and adds spaceships, loot, crew with unique skills, weapons, and skillful, turn-based tactical 2D combat… all while keeping the same quirkiness. It’s a simple art style, but charming and completely capturing. As someone that really enjoyed Code Name S.T.E.A.M., I expected to like the tactical combat of SteamWorld Heist, but I found myself loving it. That said, the game isn’t perfect.

Is SteamWorld Heist the galactic adventure we’ve been waiting for? Read on to find out!

The Positives / Negatives

The Verdict