SteamWorld Quest: A Review

SteamWorld Quest: A Review
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SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech is the fifth game in the SteamWorld universe starting back with 2010’s SteamWorld Tower Defense for the 3DS. Since then, we’ve seen two digging platformers in the form of SteamWorld Dig (2013) and SteamWorld Dig 2 (2017), as well as a turn-based RPG in SteamWorld Heist (2015). You can click on the hyperlinks to see my thoughts on some of those games. With that said, SteamWorld Quest is a almost completely different beast. My review here will be primarily spoiler-free but I will note some points and share some images and video from the first 4 chapters of the game.

So let’s begin. SteamWorld Quest is an RPG, that much can be sure. Per Image & Form Games’s press information:

SteamWorld Quest is the roleplaying card game you’ve been waiting for! Lead a party of aspiring heroes through a beautiful hand-drawn world and intense battles using only your wits and a handful of cards. Take on whatever threat comes your way by crafting your own deck choosing from over 100 unique punch-cards!

What awaits you is a luscious treasure chest filled with gold, dragons, vivid worlds, magic, knights in shining armor as well as XP, turn-based battles and all that good RPG stuff! The game’s humorous mix of traditional fantasy and steampunk robots makes for an unforgettable experience with lots of laughs.

Now, let’s shake some of this out. The game is a straight up fantasy RPG with a steampunk style. The steampunk style is in line with the previous SteamWorld games and has come to be one of my favorite video game aesthetics. The animation is lively, bright, unique, and a joy to view. Our three main characters, Armilly, Copernica, and Galleo each fill a relatively standard RPG role. Armilly is our hero though. She is cliche but in a tongue-in-cheek nature.

In fact, the whole game is very self-aware of RPG cliche and that’s just fine. Armilly is essentially our fighter warrior. She has a sword and can increase her strength in battle. Copernica, on the other hand, is our magic barer. She can cast spells of ice, fire, shielding, and more. Finally, Galleo is our tank but reminds me a bit of Overwatch’s Brigitte in that he can provide additional armor and healing while being able to soak up damage.SteamWorld Quest Journey 1

The battle mechanics are really where the game finds its footing, however. As the description says, the battles are turn-based and card-based. Now, when this was initially announced during a Nintendo Direct, I was concerned. Recently, card-based games where you can collect and craft cards have seemed like money pits, pay to win, freemium games. Hearthstone, for example, while a joy to play and really well done, it’s pretty difficult to be competitive without spending a lot of money or playing literally every day. So I was worried this would be similar. Would we be buying individual cards? Blind card packs? Purchasing some kind of dust or in-game currency to craft?

Actually, we don’t do any of that. Not one bit. There aren’t any microtransactions to date. I was shocked but in the best way possible.

SteamWorld Quest Punch-card Tutorial 1

So how does the card-based battle system work? It’s actually pretty interesting and intuitive. You see, at the beginning of a battle, you draw cards. Cards are associated with a specific hero. Strike and Upgrade cards build up Steam Pressure. Steam Pressure is required for Skill cards. For example, if you watch the video below, it shows a single turn. You can see that I play a Strike card but it does not give me enough SP to play by Skill card, Brave Buster, so I play a second Strike card which adds enough SP for me to play the Skill card.

You can play three cards on a turn and eventually you can chain cards together if you play all three from a single hero. In the video below, you’ll see that I was able to use three cards for Armilly. This chaining action adds a fourth card that has an effect, in this case, dealing more damage, but that will vary based on the hero being chained.

As noted before, you will earn new cards throughout the game as you come across treasure chests and level up. Additionally, you can craft cards for your heroes. Crafting cards is fairly simple and is done from the Deck screen. Shaded cards are card types you could craft but have not done so yet. Each card requires specific resources in order to craft it. “To Victory”, for example, requires 250 gold pieces, 5 lustrous fibers, and 10 smoldering ember. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough lustrous fiber, so I cannot craft this card yet.

The story brings our heroes across many different villains ranging from fairly basic characters to those with unique and complicated move sets, including boss level characters like Captain Canary, shown below. Battles range as far as the number of opponents you’ll confront, but the number of heroes you bring into the battle will depend on how many are you in party and how many are still conscious. Tómba, for example, are essentially bomb beetles. While they don’t appear to do much early on, they pack a very serious and deadly punch once they build up enough SP. Confronting these little steambots changed my whole strategy going into battle. I even crafted some cards and altered by decks just to beat them.

SteamWorld Quest Captain Canary

I think that’s all I want to reveal at this time. Overall, SteamWorld Quest is a solid and pleasantly surprising addition to the universe. The card battle system is unique and compelling, challenging and interesting. The characters are a bit corny but that’s clearly on purpose. The art is again, unique. It’s lively, joyful, bright, and appealing hour after hour. The music is bouncy and fun, never feeling repetitive even though I know it repeats. The cheesy characters and story might not be for you, but it hits me strong and I find it a bright spot to my day when I’m able to play. While I do prefer the platformer genre of SteamWorld Dig 1 & 2, SteamWorld Quest has increased by interest in turn-based RPGs. And I think that in itself is a big positive.

If you’ve enjoyed the previous games in this series, especially SteamWorld Heist, I would definitely recommend this new entry in the franchise. If you are looking for a new Indie game and enjoy RPGs with turn-based battle system, I would also recommend this game due to the unique nature of the card battles.

SteamWorld Quest releases April 25th, 2019 on Nintendo Switch for $24.99 USD (€24.99 /£22.49).

You can find additional information on the game through their official website:

Game was played 100% in handheld mode on Nintendo Switch.

A review copy of this game was provided by Image & Form.

Follow me on Twitter @TheStarTrekDude to talk to me about this game in more detail!


  • District Four Kevin MacLeod (
    Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
  • SteamWorld Quest theme loop recorded in-game on Nintendo Switch

SteamWorld Quest: A Review

GH33 – PUBG and SteamWorld Dig 2

SteamWorld Dig 2 lands, PUBG bans, and Sony slams… okay, so Image & Form’s latest SteamWorld game has hit Switch and Steam with PS4 to come, Player Unknown’s Battleground starts having banning issues and trouble with streamers. Meanwhile, Sony has their Tokyo conference and announces new games including one that is already available right now! Plus, we talk a bit about other games including Project Octopath Travler and Metroid: Samus Returns.

01:15 – Seedi Retro Gaming Console

07:10 – Sony’s Tokyo Playstation Conference

17:15 – Player Unknown’s Battleground (PUBG)

29:30 – SteamWorld Dig 2 from Image & Form hits Switch and Steam

44:00 – Playing Now: Injustice 2, Project Octopath Traveler, Metroid: Samus Returns

48:00 – Personal thoughts, our new video series, video game contest and more!

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GH33 – PUBG and SteamWorld Dig 2

SteamWorld Heist: Image & Form’s Next Big Hit – Review

(Updated: 7:40 CST December 10th, 2015)

Image & Form, the Indie video game developer from Sweden returns to the world of steam with SteamWorld HeistSteamWorld Heist is the turn-based RPG pseudo-sequel to their previous hit SteamWorld Dig. The new game takes place in the same universe but even further into the future. Per their official fact sheet:

Join Captain Piper Faraday, smuggler and occasional pirate, as she recruits a rag-tag team of steam-driven robots and sets out on a daring adventure. With your hearty crew you’ll board, loot and shoot your way through enemy spaceships. Overcome the challenges of the vast frontier by upgrading your robots with unique abilities, weapons – and even stylish hats!

Let’s take a look at some of the facts before we move on to my review of the game so far. SteamWorld Heist released yesterday, December 9th, 2015 for the Nintendo 3DS via the eShop. The game is also slated for release on the Nintendo Wii U, Sony Playstation 4 and Vita, Microsoft’s Xbox One, Steam (PC/Mac/Linux) and iOS in early 2016. These other versions are considered HD releases, per their website. The base game sports between 15-20 hours of play but there are talks of additional DLC in the future. The basics of the game is that you captain a crew of Steambots. Using various weapons, you take out the enemy. Each character boasts different status for damage, health, speed, etc. Each weapon boasts different stats for damage and accuracy as well as class use. Weapons include unique guns, hand to hand weapons like brass knuckles, and armor in the form of vests.

There are five difficulty levels: Casual, Regular, Experienced, Veteran, and Elite. Mission failure penalties are assessed on all levels except Casual and experience bonuses, which increase incrementally each level, are provided for Experienced and higher. Additionally, the difficulty level for individual missions can be modified in-game, meaning this is not a universal setting for your entire game profile but can be set on an as-needed basis if you run into a mission that’s too easy or too difficult.

SteamWorld Heist Banner

Official Press Release

“Dear all,

After two years of developing SteamWorld Heist, our biggest effort to date, we’ve come out on the other side. Towards the end we beat a near-impossible time schedule to have the game approved on the first try by Nintendo of America and Nintendo of Europe. We made it: it would be released in 2015. A week ago we sent out for reviews and wrung our hands in giddy, dreadful anticipation of the verdicts. And we passed that test as well: in terms of reviews, SteamWorld Heist is a resounding success.

SteamWorld Heist is a game that requires a longer explanation than a brief elevator pitch. It’s a new game, a mashup of genres where the sum constitutes something unique and larger than its parts. In short you control Captain Piper, who commands a rag-tag band of steam-driven robot pirates throughout strategic, turn-based shootout missions. It’s set in 2D, so you can use the environment to bounce shots, take cover and get the upper hand. You’ll find weapons and equipment, collect swag and gather experience to upgrade your crewmates, while you’re slowly getting tangled up in a war of factions.

Today, December 10, SteamWorld Heist is finally out of our hands. It’s strange that we cannot really affect it anymore. From today it will be put to the real test – the judgment of the Nintendo 3DS community. When we released SteamWorld Dig on Nintendo 3DS in 2013, we came from nowhere and were embraced, lifted up. You can’t imagine what that’s like. Because of that, since then we’ve been determined to give as much back as possible: to make a game so great that it could change people’s preferences, to make them play a game they thought they wouldn’t like – and ending up loving it.

I believe we’ve made such a game, and here it is. With it, I hope we never have to listen to phrases like “It’s a great game… for an indie studio,” because it implies that indie studios will somehow always be second-rate. With such a preconception, we cannot charge adequately even when making top-notch games, and in turn it means that we can’t be brave enough, economically and creatively, to go all in.

Well, we have gone all in this time, and we’re not afraid. Games aren’t indie or AAA – they’re just better or worse. We know we’ve made one of the best games this year, and we want you to find that out for yourself. Your faith in our promise is the only thing we need to continue creating magic. Thanks for supporting us.

Brjann Sigurgeirsson

Image & Form”

SteamWorld Heist: My Take

For a little background, I have never played SteamWorld Tower Defense, the 2010 game that was the first in the SteamWorld series but SteamWorld Dig has been one of my favorite 3DS titles and I still play it every now and then. You can read my review of SteamWorld Dig here. But let’s talk about the game of honor, SteamWorld Heist. This game mixes up the genre again by making a fast-paced turn-based tactical RPG. I enjoy a good RPG but I tend to get bored very easily playing turn-based RGPs or turn-based strategy games. I like action and I like being able to adapt based on what’s going on around me. Now, this game does a solid job of keeping me engaged and interested without losing the turn-based aspects.

SteamWorld Heist LasersightLet’s start from the beginning. The title screen opens with a short video explaining the context of the game. For those who never finished SteamWorld Dig, there is a bit of a spoiler because it names the planet all of the Steambots are from, something mainly eluded to in the previous game. I really like this introduction video. It’s styled up in a similar fashion to the Fallout, Cold War propaganda films. There’s an excited announcer spewing biased named groups defining both the good and bad guys. It’s fun and I always enjoy a good setting.

The game allows for three different save profiles, so feel free to try it out in different difficulties. For the sake of reviewing, I left the difficulty at the default, which is Regular. In retrospect, I might go back and play Casual just to get the story because I ran into some difficult levels about 90 minutes into playing. The characters are a lot of fun. You primarily play as Piper. She is the female Steambot captain of the ship. She has a crew that grows as you complete quests and use water to recruit more for your fight. Water is the main currency and is used to purchase new items, recruit more people to your team, and is taken away if you fail a mission on a high enough difficulty level.

SteamWorld Heist Piper

The game map is pretty standard but does a solid job. It shows the various locations and ships. Locations are usually places to get information or make purchases while ships are your missions. Most missions consist of boarding a ship and getting all of the swag (loot) on board. Turrets, alarms, and unique enemy units make the tactical side of things very interesting and, at times, quite difficult. Sometimes all the cover you have is an explosive barrel, other times there are too many turrets to have any cover at all. Each mission has a possible three starts to collect. The stars are used to unlock other missions\levels. The picture below is an actual shot from my 3DS using my phone’s camera. You’ll notice that this particular mission, “Cargo Barge” is available. As the top left indicates, this mission has special swag available; I can use three mission members, and I have not earned any stars yet. In the bottom right, you can see that I currently have 10 out of a possible 45 stars. One mission, for example, required 22 stars, so I couldn’t play it yet.

SteamWorld Heist on 3DS

If I have anything negative to say at all, it’s that when you encounter a new villain, it’s difficult to know what is unique about them off the bat. Some, for example, explode when they are destroyed, something good to know… otherwise you might use a melee attack on one and blow them and yourself up. But, of course, I didn’t do that…. certainly not multiple times. Okay, I did but still.

Overall, this is a fun and exciting game that continues one of my favorite sci-fi universes, SteamWorld. The characters are unique. The animation and graphics are sharp and fit the style of this universe perfectly. I do feel like their graphic design is more sophisticated and detailed than SteamWorld Dig and they accomplish this upgrade without losing the feeling and connection to the previous game.

SteamWorld Heist is on sale now in the Nintendo 3DS eShop and will be available for additional platforms early next year.

Currently, the game sits with an 89% on Metacritics, making it the highest rated Nintendo 3DS game this year and pushing it to the top 6 on the all-time list! Very impressive.

You can pick up the game for a limited time discounted price of $16.99 USD as part of their release promotion. Additionally, a free 3DS exclusive home theme is available until December 31st. So get to downloading!

I give the game 4.5 out of 5 saucers. I feel like some of the abilities could have been explained a little better but it’s a great game definitely worth your time, even if you’re not a fan of the turn-based RPG genre.





Have you picked up SteamWorld Heist from Image & Form? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

SteamWorld Heist: Image & Form’s Next Big Hit – Review

Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt – Review

Today’s review check outs a fantastic Indie game from Image & Form studios out of Sweden. Image & Form has been around since 1997, consists of 14 people, and have put together a great game here. Now, I’ll be covering Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt from the Nintendo 3DS XL perspective, though the title is also available via Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux, as well as the Nintendo eShop for the 3DS, 2DS, and Wii U consoles, PlatStation 4 and Vita. Yeah, that’s a lot of platforms. In fact, you can purchase a cross-platform, DRM free version on their website for $9.99.

Steam World Dig - RustySo what is Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt? Well, to use the developers’ own words, it “is a hardcore platform mining adventure game”. That really is the best way to describe it in a single sentence. In this game, you play as Rusty, a steambot. You’ve inherited an old mine from your uncle who’s been missing for some time. The plot of the game follows you as you mine deeper into the depths of the dirt. Along the way, you uncover minerals that can be sold on the surface for equipment upgrades. This quite literally, steampunk style game brings a ton of uniqueness to the equipment you can use. While upgrading your pickax is an option, you’ll have access to teleporters, explosives, shielding and drills. As the digging level gets deeper, you’ll uncover special areas where strange, fantastical items can be obtained. These items provide new, intense ways to smash the harder rocks deep in the dirt, like a drilling arm or steam powered fists. It’s not all smash and grab down below. As you dig deeper, dangerous and powerful enemies await, ready to attack and protect the secrets of the underground.

Steam World Dig - TumbletonWhat I love about this game is that it is not a money grab in any sense. As I noted earlier, it can purchased for $9.99. All in-game item purchases are done by selling the minerals collected during digging and no real money is ever used. That’s right, you buy the game and everything is in the game, no outside purchases. In the world of free-to-play and micro-transactions, this is a relaxing relief.

Let’s meet some of the characters of Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt. First, there’s Rusty, the player you control. In the town above you can sell your minerals to a lovely female steambot named Dorothy. Her father, Cranky, is nearby ready to sell you basic items, health, and upgrades throughout the game. Later, you’ll be introduced to Biff. He’s a competing equipment dealer with some more advanced (and expensive) items. There’s a few other characters you’ll meet along the way, but I want to save a few surprises.

Steam World Dig - Oldworld

Steam World Dig - DorothyThe mechanics of the game are complex but surprisingly user friendly and easy to pick up. There are a few metrics that are very important. First and most obvious is health. Rusty has a health bar and it can be increased as the game progresses. Healing can be done on the surface with Cranky or by getting health from killing enemies. Later, a water meter will be added. Some of the more advanced abilities require steam power and therefore, water. Things like the steam jump, drill, and steam punch all require water for power. Water can be found underground in patches. Enemies will sometimes provide some when killing as well. Then there’s the light. Since the vast majority of the game is played underground, the sun doesn’t help out much. There are some lights planted in the depths of the planet but additional lights can be placed by you and purchased from Cranky. On top of that, Rusty has some light of his own. This light diminishes while underground and is replenished immediately after returning to the surface. How long the light lasts can also be increased throughout the game. With that said, don’t forget about the teleporters. Early on in the game, these will be discovered. One sits on the surface near the mine entrance. Additional units can be purchased from Cranky and they can be placed underground. This allows Rusty to jump back and forth from the mine to the surface instantly. Trust me, this will become very important. You’re going to end up very deep. In the two times I’ve played through the game, I hit 400 meters after just 3 hours of play. You do not want to hike all the way back up on foot every time you need to sell minerals or regain light and health.

Steam World Dig - Laser DodgingSelling minerals is a cornerstone for this game. Certain rock blocks contain minerals that can be easily seen. In fact, you can see a few of them in the “Old World” screenshot above. Some minerals are worth more than others and the deeper Rusty gets, the more the minerals found are worth. Rusty has a pouch that he uses to carry minerals. This pouch is limited in size, though larger ones can be purchased from Cranky during the game. Once the pouch is full, it’s in your best interest to return to the surface and sell them to Dorothy for the in-game currency.

Steam World Dig - CrankyAs I noted at the beginning of this review, I am playing Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt on the Nintendo 3DS XL. The two screen experience is perfect for this game. The top screen, which is 3D enabled provides a brilliant universe to play in with depth, color and incredible detail for a handheld game. I’ve played with the 3D on and off and honestly, either way is great. If you’re a big fan of the 3D experience then you’ll gain a slick sense of depth but if you aren’t a fan, you won’t be missing out on much. The second screen, which is touch enabled, provides access to in-store items, and, most importantly, your digging map when underground. I can’t imagine playing this game with just a single screen. It truly feels like it was made for the 3DS/3DS XL/2DS market.

Overall, this game is just a ton of fun. Its unique steampunk style is exciting, new, and just plain interesting to watch. The characters are fun and entertaining, while the story continues to expand. At the beginning of the game, Rusty is a simple miner looking for his uncle but just a couple hours in, a new world is being uncovered. This world isn’t exactly new. In fact, you might find it surprisingly familiar. I’m not going to give any more away here, but what I began to find deep in the dirt is not what I was expecting.

If you like platform games, steampunk, and the 3DS two-screen experience, Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt is the game for you. But don’t forget it is available on Steam and PS4\Vita. The game is even available via and Humble Bundle.

Fans of this game will be happy to know that another SteamWorld universe title is set to come out this year, SteamWorld Heist. The new title takes place in the same universe but it’s a space adventure set to release for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, PlayStation 4 and Vita, Xbox One, and Steam Fall 2015.

For more information on this title and their developers check them out here:

Steam World Dig Games

Image & Form Games

*Please note that the game play screenshots are based on the Steam version for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Have you played this game before? Are you looking forward to the new one? What are you excited about? Let us know in the comments.

Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt – Review