Image and Form Games has been producing PC and Console games for about a decade now, with their SteamWorld series being loosely related but also standalone. What you can come to expect from a SteamWorld game is that there will be robots of various sizes and shapes doing a variety of things. If we go back to the first game released, SteamWorld Dig, we’ll get a western-themed Metroidvania that was fun to play but ultimately fell a little short for me. I enjoy that style of game, but it was packed in with a Humble Bundle and I didn’t give it the time it deserved, I also got bored along the way. Fast forward a couple of years to SteamWorld Heist, and I was on board. Rather than being an action platformer like its predecessor, we got a turn-based strategy game. Instead of western feeling, it was sci-fi in space. It was a lot of fun and I played it through its end on PS4. Later, SteamWorld Dig 2 would release, but I already knew I probably wasn’t going to be into it, being a direct sequel to the original. Finally, we come to the latest game in the series, SteamWorld Quest. It was released last year, but I only got around to getting a copy during the holiday sales. It’s still the same SteamWorld we know and love, with plenty of robots and a hand-drawn art style. However, we go back in time to the middle-ages in this romp.
As the story goes, some bad things happened and yadda yadda. If you’ve ever played a video game you can extrapolate from that. You’ll take control of Armilly, a fighter robot that wants nothing more than to be part of “The Guild.” Along your path to trying to get involved with the guild, you’ll meet various characters and some will of course join your party. The story is told via the cutscenes above along with in-game dialogue. Hopefully you’re good with subtitles, because you don’t speak whatever tongue of robot that is actually audible during these cutscenes. Part of the time you’ll be wandering around various landscapes until you happen upon enemy robots, at which time you’ll enter the battle screen, which is where the majority of actual gameplay is.
What makes combat unique in SteamWorld Quest, is that it uses a combination of card game deckbuilding along with turn-based RPG mechanics. Each character on your squad comes equipped with a deck of cards. There are three types of cards, those that do something supportive, those that are basic attacks, and unique skills that cost special action points. The former two types of cards will also provide you with said action points, while the latter consumes them. Each turn, you can play three cards from your hand before passing. The enemies will play one or more cards each turn as well, and then the actions will take place. Cards from all of your characters decks are shuffled together so you’ll have to pick and choose what is right for each situation. So for example, if you have a card in hand that requires two action points, and two other cards that will produce those action points, you can play the two cards first netting two action points, and then spend those points with the third card. When you get further along you can also create chains by playing three cards from the same character, and a bonus action will occur. In the case of Armilly, you’ll get another strike that also heals you.
As you gain experience you’ll level up, providing more base stats like health and attack power. You’ll come across new comrades to join your party, and assume more will pop up over time, as some dialogue has implied that it could happen but I haven’t looked this up due to spoilers. I have only made it a few chapters in but I have enjoyed what I’ve seen and it’s a nice combination of genres that I find engrossing. Overall I’d say the game is worth it’s normal asking price but even better on sale. That’s just me though, you might not have qualms at paying full price for games. I would recommend picking it up if you’re a fan of the SteamWorld series, are into unique RPGs, or just want something new to try out.