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Steamworld Quest Review

SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided by Image & Form Games and Thunderful Publishing

The SteamWorld series has explored many avenues when it comes to their games. They can range from Metroidvania with SteamWorld Dig to Turn-based strategy with SteamWorld Heist. But Image & Form Games announced that they would take the series in an unexpected direction. It would come to be known as SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech. Mixing turn-based RPG with the feel of a collectible card game is an interesting ambition. Does this game deliver in everything and then some?

Let’s get started with the plot. The game is presented as a fairy tale. Long ago there was a warrior who went by the name of Gilgamech. He is a legend due to his accomplishments, including taking down a menacing force called the Behemoth. But as time went on his feats would soon fade from memory. Several years pass and the world is at peace. Armilly and Copernica, small-town friends go on a small journey. It starts small but eventually it soon escalates into one that will decide the fate of their world. They will meet new allies, face deadly challenges and eventually come together not just as a team but as real heroes.

Sure the story is traditional fairy tale fluff but it’s one story I got behind from start to finish. It starts simple and as it goes on, it gets intense. They take their time introducing the world, the characters, etc. Not only that but the characters also develop and improve as a result. It just feels so enjoyable that by the time its over, you feel relieved. You feel satisfied to have enjoyed a tale like this, even if it does follow many of the tropes.

Gameplay in SteamWorld Quest is different from previous entries. It’s split into two sections: field and battle. Field is mostly a side-scroller where players can move about and explore. It isn’t just you but your enemies too. Sometimes you can find treasures that give players new things and other times you can find doors that lead to hidden areas. In some instances there are some puzzle solving. Nothing too fancy. As for enemies, you can avoid them if you know their patterns but one way or the other, you got to attack them. Attacking them or even encountering them triggers the second section, battle.

In battle, in follows your traditional RPG game. You have your party on one side while the enemy’s on the other. What sets this apart from other RPG games is the game’s main gimmick: cards. You use cards to have your characters do a variety of things, ranging from attacks or special abilities. But there’s a limit. Players must form a deck of 8 cards for each of the five characters in the party. In addition many cards can contain a cost. In the place of MP, there are steam gears. You acquire 1 steam gear each turn but some cards will give you access to more. Not only do players have to create proper decks for each character but also they have to determine the best strategies. It’s a very interesting system that offers a lot of experimentation and customization, giving players the freedom to decide how their party should go about. In addition using three of the same card type gives access to Chains, letting party members dish out special attacks. They mostly depend on the weapon equipped and can range from offensive to defensive. Again it adds more variety to a game that will have players plan accordingly.

The combat is really good and sometimes addicting to boot. It’s not just you who will be dealing the pain but your enemies to. They won’t hesitate to get versatile by using buffs and debuffs. Players will have to do the same and sometimes mix things up if they wish to succeed. Boss battles will really put your skills to the test and sometimes you’ll have to form strategies to beat them. Thankfully the checkpoint system is effective. There are save points and you can automatically return to them if you die but using them will also revive enemies you defeated. It’s similar to Dark Souls but it can also be used to grind your characters. It’s pretty good and one you will definitely need. The game isn’t long, taking players 10-12 hours to complete. But if there is a recommendation, do the game on Hard. Hard will provide you a good challenge but Normal comes at a close second if you feel it’s too difficult.

I love how the game looks. It carries this steampunk feel while adding it’s own flair to make it stand out. The characters all look great and they stand out with their own strengths, weaknesses and trials to overcome. If there’s one thing I will praise about the game is the music. The music is really amazing, especially during boss battles. Makes players feel energized and really wanting to be victorious. Everything about the game has a lot of heart and soul put into it. It shows in every way and it’s easy to see why Image & Form and Thunderful Publishing delivered in this game. They truly did deliver. If there was an issue or two this game had, it would probably be the lack of challenge. That’s not to say it’s bad since there are 3 difficulty settings. As stated earlier, it’s recommended to play the game on Hard for a true challenge. Also there’s not much to do after being it aside from a coliseum challenge. A New Game+ would alleviate it and add more to the length.

In conclusion, SteamWorld Quest is a game that has a familiar feel but offers something new and unique. To summarize, there’s gameplay that is unique and at times addictive along with its combat. There’s also a solid presentation that keeps it consistent and the music is really good. Only a minor negative or two hinders this from being an all-time game but it’s truly one that players should put their time into. It’s a worthy addition to the Steamworld series of games and from my experience, you won’t regret it. Trust me.

I give SteamWorld Quest an 8.5 out of 10.

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Steamworld Dig 2 Review

Steamworld Dig 2 Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided by Image & Form Games. Special thanks to them!

Four years ago, a little game called Steamworld Dig was released upon the world. Developed by Image & Form Games, it focused on a robot named Rusty who explores the world below to find treasure, challenge and a sense of mystery. The game’s favorable reception would soon give way to two sequels although it led to the game being ported many times for players to get a chance to experience it. Four years later, the game would finally have a sequel in the form of Steamworld Dig 2. With a new protagonist and a new story to tell, does this game carry the same charm and feel as the original?

The story of Steamworld Dig 2 takes place some time after the first game. Rusty, the protagonist of the last game has gone missing. You play the role as Dorothy McCrank (aka Dot) who moves to the town of El Machino to find him. Along the way, she gets help from a mysterious creature who has his reasons for joining in. Together, the two will discover something sinister that may affect their home and the entire planet. The story in the game has me curious and they mostly happen in many instances as you explore through the area. By the time the game ends, you can’t help but feel bad for Dot and everyone. I won’t spoil it but yes, this game really made me have the feels for it.

Like the first Steamworld Dig, this game is a Metroidvania-style game where exploration is the main focus. All you do in the game is head underground and with your trusty pickaxe dig your way down. How Dot goes depend on you and that’s the whole gist of it. The game does have an objective based format but you are free to explore at your leisure. As you do so you collect treasure that can be exchanged for money, the money in turn can be used to purchase upgrades for Dot’s gear and stats. But there are also collectibles that can be exchanged to get special upgrades. Her skills are also tied to cogs that you find as you explore. Cogs are used to make modifications that can help Dot in various situations. They can also be swapped to other perks, offering a lot of options. There’s also a level up system but it’s used for obtaining bonus pay when you trade jewels for cash. Of course if you end up going down, you suffer a small penalty. It isn’t much and you can recover the stuff you collect but good luck trying to find it if you are way down on your journey.

All of this provide the game a lot to do and it’ll be needed to progress. Like Metroid, the game will take you quite a while to achieve 100% completion. But if you simply want to beat the game it can take you roughly 6-8 hours. There is some replay value since you have to collect everything to achieve 100% while maxing out Dot. It’s a lot of work. The game isn’t hard either but it can be if you choose to do so. There are boss battles and many require strategy to beat them. Thankfully they aren’t at the point where it can get real intense. It also has one of the best fast-travel systems ever meaning at certain points, you can find a shaft you can use to move from one area to the next quickly. Or if you want you can use it to head back up above to restock. Then once you’re set, you use the fast travel to return where you left off. Simple.

Steamworld Dig 2 is a sight to behold. Each environment stands out while adding something to set itself apart. Whether on the PS4, Switch, PS Vita or PC, the game is amazing. It’s easy to pick up and play. The controls are simple yet easy and as you play and unlock new gadgets and upgrades, it gets better. The characters look good and even the enemies stand out. Image & Form Games deserve all the praise they can get for delivering on a sequel that surpasses the original and in some ways tie things to another game in the Steamworld series.

If I were to find any problems with Steamworld Dig 2, I feel that at times trying to get all the upgrades can be a grind. Yeah, you can be able to max yourself out if you put the effort but good luck with it especially since trying to find everything underground and in some areas a challenge onto itself. I could be wrong. Also, a lack of a New Game + limits replayability a bit but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying this.

Steamworld Dig 2 is an impressive sequel to the first game and one you should definitely get a chance to play. It has everything you ever want in a game like this: exploring, combat, platforming and puzzles, you name it. The addition of RPG elements add a bit more to an impressive game and the fact that it’s $20 says a lot. For $20 you get all this. This is amazing. If you want a little something to pass the time, this is it. Steamworld Dig 2 is one dig you don’t want to miss out on. I guarantee it.

I give Steamworld Dig 2 a 9 out of 10. It’s a must buy.