SteamWorld Heist (Wii U) Review

By Thomas Wrobel 08.07.2017

Review for SteamWorld Heist on Wii U

SteamWorld Heist is, at its core, a simple game with quick to master gameplay. The player takes command of a robotic crew of misfit pirates and performs raids on other robotically-crewed ships. Simply select where you want a character to go, trigger their weapon, aim, and fire. The aiming is made more interesting by the ability to ricochet bullets off certain walls and floors, giving more potential targets per turn than would normally be possible. If you forgo shooting, meanwhile, you can sprint, allowing the character to travel further. That's basically it. These basic mechanics make up the whole game. Board a ship, destroy the crew, grab the loot and get out. The only changes throughout being varying equipment to acquire, and the semi-procedural ships you will be raiding. Is it enough?

SteamWorld Heist opens with a slideshow of the world being destroyed, which, somewhat ironically, constitutes the world building. It then quickly dives into a short but efficient tutorial.

Visuals are well presented, with pretty pixel art accompanied by nice lighting. Characters are always clear, with all elements you need to see distinct on the screen. It's hard to blame the game for anything: if you mess up, it's going to be your own fault - and you will likely mess up a lot.

If you try to kill/grab everything each mission, prepare for some nasty difficulty spikes. Some missions are just best to complete any way you can and come back later to do more thoroughly once the characters have gained some more abilities or better equipment.

What makes some missions particularly challenging is the addition of alarm levels. Working very similar to those in Invisible, Inc., the longer you stay in an area, the more bots and turrets come online to make your life harder. While the presence of an alarm system like this fits the theme, it's a shame it's triggered straight away and does not wait until you're discovered. Indeed, there is no sneaking at all in SteamWorld Heist; the missions are all about action, never subtlety.

In between missions, the story progresses by visiting other locations on an overworld map. Nine times out to ten these are drinking establishments. The density of bars to other locations seems to imply the universe is mostly British. You're never more than a few planets from a pub.

Screenshot for SteamWorld Heist on Wii U

The world building is good, with the lore of how the robots and their world works expanded on naturally in conversations dotted about. Still, it would be nice if there was more diversity with the places visited. Robot newsagents? Robot organic supermarkets? Robot pedicurists?

At these bars, aside from pushing the plot along, players can also buy various weapons and items. Like many games shops, these items are inferior to those you will find yourself. However, every time you see extra storage for sale, you will want to grab it, as you have a relatively small amount of "bank space" you will want to expand as much as you can.

The items and weapons that can be acquire, meanwhile, are a nice and diverse mix, with some opening up new possibilities of what can be done, rather than merely different damage stats. This helps keep SteamWorld Heist entertaining, despite the relative lack of diversity in the missions themselves.

The only real diversion the game has is the collection of hats from defeated enemies. It's hard to know if the inclusion of collectable hats is ironic at this point in gaming. Do all games need hats? Is games with collectible fancy boots too much to ask for?

Screenshot for SteamWorld Heist on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

SteamWorld Heist is a decent length when factoring in the wide range of difficulty settings, and the fact you will be playing some missions a few times. Essentially, this is a well-made squad-based strategy that gives a choice: go in guns blazing…. or go in gun blazing. While the game is heavy on the tactics, it's never heavy on subtlety. It's nice it wastes little time, but it also suffers from a lack of diversity because of it. It's thus probably better for those looking for a game to play on/off rather than binge over.


Image & Form


Image & Form





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

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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