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SteamWorld Heist (PS Vita) Review

By Liam Cook 14.10.2016

Review for SteamWorld Heist on PS Vita

Swedish developer Image and Form crafted the SteamWorld universe with the little known, but excellent, DSiWare game, SteamWorld Tower Defense, before debuting the hugely successful SteamWorld Dig three years later on the 3DS eShop, with a release for PC, Wii U, Xbox One and PS4 soon to follow. The team's most recent title, SteamWorld Heist, has been released on several platforms, initially making itself known on the 3DS, just like its predecessor. This latest release once again switches up the genre, taking inspiration from XCOM and Team17's Worms titles.

Steamworld Heist follows the adventure of Captain Piper Faraday, a steambot who seeks out members of the Scrappers and the Royalists; two organisations that are slowly taking over the world and destroying the lives of the innocent and weak. When her adventure begins, Piper and long-term friend Wonky set out on the search of new recruits, visiting the local watering hole.

As the story progresses, new units are picked up, each possessing their own unique stats and skills. Some of these have the ability to deal more damage with close range combat, whilst others prefer to stay at a distance, picking out enemies using the game's various Sharpshooter weapons. Each character can also be equipped with various stat-boosting utilities and weapons, ranging from armour that increases the number of hit points they have, to Mini Nukes that deal significant damage to a small area.

Battles play out much like the classic Worms titles, but with a limitation to how far each unit can travel with every turn; this is indicated by yellow and blue dotted lines that show all available moves at their disposal. The yellow lines indicate how far the unit can travel and still be able to use their weapon or side arm, whilst the blue lines let the player know that travelling to that point will put the character into standby, until they can act out of it during the next turn—it's a straightforward system that works incredibly well.

When it comes to using attacks, aiming can be achieved by moving the analogue stick up and down; some weapons will also give guidelines to where the bullet will ricochet and the direction it will travel afterwards whilst others rely on player intuition. The key focus of Steamworld Heist is the ability of performing skill shots, and there's something satisfying about having bullets ricochet off several objects before finally meeting their intended target.

Screenshot for SteamWorld Heist on PS Vita

In between missions, Faraday and crew are taken back to their ship, which acts as a hub of sorts where individual units can be spoken to in order to give the story a little more depth. When interacting with the console near Wonky, a world map will be brought up and can be used to travel to the next enemy ship or even visit one of the game's various bars.

In each of these locales, a visual representation of Steam Powered Giraffe appears, a steampunk band whose music really fits the overall theme of the game and is unusually catchy. Bars also usually contain a new unit to recruit, as well as a shop, where the water accumulated throughout the various missions can be spent.

When selecting a mission, players can select one to four units they want to take, as well as customise the equipment of each individual. The number of units that can be taken on a mission varies, but for those who want to challenge themselves, a single unit can be chosen and the difficulty can be ramped up, resulting in higher experience point yield and more water, the game's currency.

Steamworld Heist offers a completely different experience to its predecessor, but one that is just as enjoyable and polished to the same degree. There's a number of different difficulties to be tackled, as well as the randomly generated mission locales that keep things fresh and interesting, even when replaying the game. There's also The Outsider expansion to consider, which contains even more missions to tackle, as well as a new character to add to the arsenal.

Screenshot for SteamWorld Heist on PS Vita

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Steamworld Heist is what many would consider a AAA indie title, with Image and Form pulling out all the stops to craft a near flawless experience that's both fresh and unique. The gameplay may differ largely from Steamworld Dig, but it's a ride that's just as good, if not better. There's plenty of content to delve into in the base game, with greater difficulties and randomly generated levels serving up a new challenge to players who have already beaten it. For those who enjoyed the previous instalment, go ahead and pick this up right now!

Developer

Image & Form

Publisher

Image & Form

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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