Steamworld Heist Review
Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of Steamworld Heist. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience. For better or worse, our reviews will help you decide whether or not to use cheats when playing the game.
2013's Steamworld: Dig was one of the biggest surprises of 2013. It's mix of unique characters, crafting mechanics and action seemingly came out of nowhere. The follow up, Steamworld: Heist is an even bigger surprise but for completely different reasons. It's completely different from it's predecessors in gameplay and tone and it's all the better for it. It's fun, it's challenging and it's a hell of a lot deeper than it lets on. If you can forgive the lackluster story mode, Steamworld: Heist may be the best gaming surprise you'll have in 2016.
Steamworld: Heist takes place pretty much as far away from it's predecessor as it can get; the far reaches of outer space. Earth has been blown up into fragments that float through space and the robots that inhabit those fragments are in a constant battle to survive. You control a ragtag group of smuggler robots led by Captain Piper Faraday, who normally fights for her own benefit but she's forced into a conflict when a evil entity oversteps it's bounds. The story brings to mind memories of franchises like Firefly with it's Steampunk ethics and space pirate themes but unfortunately Steamworld: Heist never really reaches those levels of storytelling as everything is pretty mundane beyond the initial idea. Without even playing it you get the idea, good vs bad, fighting for yourself vs fighting for the greater good...all of that.
That's not to say though that there's no originality in Heist though, far from it as the writing is far better than here than the story deserves. There are a number of witty conversations and ideas here that took me by complete surprise. My favorites were some of the meta moments, like when a pari of AI's sit around and discuss their very existence. It's the type of quirky humor that was around for Steamworld: Dig but the game seemed almost too afraid to fully embrace. Even though I ended up not really caring about the story, I cared about the characters and their interactions because of how well they were written.
While Steamworld: Dig was built on a combination of crafting and action, Heist takes a decidedly different approach. Citing classics like XCOM as inspiration, Steamworld: Heist is a 2D turn-based shooter. You'll take turns either moving your team into position, falling back or taking shots at enemies. The key here is that you'll aim in real time and your bullets will bounce off and around obstacles, which opens up the gameplay to some really cool possibilities. You're never really out of a fight, especially if you're able to pull of a really cool bad ass trick shot. It's a pretty simple system really but if you really want to get the most out of it, it takes a lot of timing, practice and patience.
A good deal of that practice has to do with how well the game forces you to stay on your toes and deal with each encounter differently than the last. Different playable characters have different buffs that allow them to change throughout battle. While those characters do pretty much comply with your typical class system, even characters who share the same "class" can change drastically over the course of a battle. The game also does a pretty great job of throwing different enemy types at you. One enemy may be able to take away your cover, while another may have a huge powerful weapon that damages your entire party. The game also features a pretty cool risk VS reward system that allows you to gain a ton of money and experience points if you win but as you guessed, lose out big time if you don't. Even if you do succeed, any character that doesn't won't reap the benefits so any one move done hastily could be a huge difference maker for you and your party.
I've been having a lot of fun with Steamworld: Heist and I'm probably going to go back to it over some bigger name games when I have free time. Though it's story is lacking and it's disappointing that it never reaches the level it feels like it should, Steamworld: Heist remains a fun and surprisingly deep strategy game with a ton of heart. Do yourself a favor; play Steamworld: Heist.
Joe started off writing about video games for small fan sites when he realized he should probably do something with his communications degree and didn't want to get into the grind of daily reporting. Joining the team in late 2008, Joe is the featured game reviewer for Cheat Happens, producing up to 10 CHEATfactor Game Reviews per month.
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