12 Days of Pros-mas - Day 8: Steamworld Heist

Mele Kalikimaka! Welcome back to the Stadia Life Christmas Cabin. Hope that nice Hawaiian Christmas greeting gives you nice memories of when things were nice and warm.

Today is day 8 of 12 Days of Pros-mas. With my Christmas jumper and Stadia controller at the ready, I’ll share with you my experiences of today’s pro game.

Steamworld Heist

Steamworld Heist is a turn-based 2D tactical shooter developed and published by Image and Form, who you may also know from the rest of the Steamworld series. This game does play quite differently than the rest of the series, but more on that later.

Steamworld Heist runs at 1080p, which is a bit disappointing for the game but the Steamworld art style is unique and pretty enough that the resolution isn’t particularly noticeable. The game runs at 60fps which isn’t hugely important for a game like this but still a nice thing to have, and it’s HDR enabled.

The intro to this game is pretty interesting and gives us an introduction to the world and factions. The intro is told like an old 40’s/50’s radio drama and has a film grain over it, so it’s rather stylistic. The rest of the game doesn’t look like this which is probably for the better. All I really met in my time playing is my crew and one faction of enemies, the scrappers (and some civilians in the bar), but the story seemed like it’d be quite cool.

As I got into the tutorial, I was introduced to the captain of the crew who had become separated from the rest of the crew in a piracy job gone wrong. The combat is turn-based as said before, where you try to find cover than manually aim your weapon and fire, and the bullets have a lot of ricochet so you can make some tactical shots. It wasn’t long until I was also introduced to my second character who had a rather strong shotgun.

After I finished this mission my characters were given their experience, which rather helpfully was split between all the characters evenly so no characters should become too underleveled compared to the others.

After this, I was taken back to home base where I could move freely and talk with my crewmates. There is a lot of humour in the dialogue between the characters which makes seeing these interactions enjoyable, and worth seeking out.

Before the next mission, I was invited to change my loadout of weapons, utility tools, and hats. I hadn’t gotten any new weapons or utility tools, however you do start with a lot of hats, which is when I found an X-Wing Pilot hat from Star Wars which I decided I will never take off.

Now I was ready to get on with some more missions. There were some minor ships to deal with as well as an opportunity to visit the bar, where I could buy new items like brass knuckles which would improve melee damage. Soon after though I was greeted with a larger ship, with a lot more enemies and a reactor I had to destroy.

This is when things started going a bit poorly. My tactic up to this point had been to split my units up so I could explore more routes, and usually this had gone perfectly well, but in this instance just made my units get easily picked off and I was defeated. For my next try I decided to get everyone to stick together and this time it went much better. I made my way through the level with only one death, got to the end, and found that dead crewmates don’t get experience. This makes sense I suppose, but I worry in a full playthrough this would leave crewmates in a big cycle of death where they always find themselves underleveled so always die, then can’t level up to get back up to level, and that had already started happening to one of my crewmates. But such is life.

So, I continued on and was told to head to the colony to continue. However, I felt something was missing as I continued through the levels, and eventually when I got to a block that required me to get more reputation to continue it hit me: I wasn’t having fun. The combat had already got rather tiring in the short time I had played, and my will to go back and do missions again to try and get more reputation just wasn’t there.

There is a lot of stuff Steamworld Heist gets right. The steampunk art style is superb, the humour is enjoyable, the music is pretty good (though gets a bit repetitive in combat). But if I’m not having fun in the game, then there didn’t seem like much point to go on or even be too bothered about the game. So, controversially for the review scores I’ve seen Steamworld Heist get, this game is going to be the first to join my naughty list.

Nice:

-Monster Jam Steel Titans

-Jotun: Valhalla Edition

-Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris

-Kine

-Sundered: Eldritch Edition

-Submerged: Hidden Depths

-Into The Breach

Naughty:

-Steamworld Heist

So, that marks the end of day 8! Now that I’ve at least shown that the naughty list exists the rest of the games will be just as enjoyable as the first 7 days. I think it’s time to forget about all of this with a nice cup of tea. Stay safe, and come back tomorrow!

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