SteamWorld Heist: A Turn-Based Space Robot Roguelite

One of the most overlooked games of 2013 was Image & Form’s SteamWorld Dig. A total overhaul of the splendid 3DS original, it combined puzzling, exploration, a dash of Spelunky, and the all important mining, to create a Metroidvania that I merrily completed a second time over for its PC version. So it’s with a keen ear that I hear news of their next game: SteamWorld Heist. However, despite the shared title, this is a whole other game – a space-themed, turn-based, survival game, scavenging a dead world with a team of rusty robots. Many more details, and a brief teaser trailer below.

The teaser immediately reveals that the game visually shares a lot in common with the lovely 2D side-scrolling cartoon world of SteamWorld Dig.

The games connect, apparently, although they say this isn’t not a sequel. Heist takes place a couple of hundred years after Dig, when some rather large-scale troubles see their planet split into thousands of shards, its robotic population fleeing into steam-powered space vehicles. And with water even more scarce than it was in the previous game, you’re going to have to perform heists on baddie ships and bases to stay alive.

The result will be a turn-based strategy game, say I&F, which will be an interesting prospect in a 2D side-scroller. In it, you captain a crew, manage supplies, and plot raids, via free platformy wandering around your own ship. Enter an enemy ship or base and things turn turn-based, using an action point system for moving each character. These missions are to be randomly generated, the game using a tile-system of backgrounds to create unique settings for each raid, and they intend for it to be pretty tough. Roguelite tough, they say, with death a frequent certainty. However, progress is permanent, so you’ll carry over skills gained in previous attempts to the next, allowing you to grow stronger, and CONQUER THE WORLD or similar, I would imagine.

You’ll be able to upgrade your ship, take on missions, expand your crew, and explore the game’s worlds. Hopefully we’ll find out more about the game, and see some proper in-game footage, pretty soon. The game is due to release in Spring next year, but it’s not yet clear on which platform/s it will first appear. It’s definitely coming to PC, but frustratingly we don’t know if we’re getting first dibs. Let’s hope so, and we’ll keep you posted.


  1. Premium User Badge

    Lexx87 says:

    Loved Steamworld Dig, so really looking forward to the next from this developer.

  2. BTAxis says:

    I almost abandoned all hope when I read the part about “roguelike tough”, but fortunately the bit about permanent progress salvaged it.

    • MobileAssaultDuck says:

      If you look closely, you’ll notice it says ‘roguelite’, which I think is a great term that people have been using to describe a game with harsh consequences and permanent progress.

  3. bill says:

    Really Steamworld: Dig is good? Cos I’ve been avoiding the latest humble bundle because it looked/sounded so generic and I’d never heard of it. I assumed it was a terraria clone.

    • Koozer says:

      The ‘dig stuff up’ genre is older than Terraria. It’s definitely not a clone. It is very repetitive though. Your mileage may vary.

      • Premium User Badge

        Earl-Grey says:

        The person above me speaks the truth. Your mileage may very much vary.
        Quite repetitive.
        The trickle of new and enhanced abilities combined with very satisfying game mechanics made it very enjoyable for me.
        How one defines “game mechanics” and “enjoyment” is of course quite individual.
        What I mean is that the jumping and drilling and punching and exploding made my brain do a happydance.

        I did play it on the 3DS though, maybe it feels a little more “hollow” on the big screen.

      • basilisk says:

        It’s not a clone of Terraria, but it’s, shall we say, heavily inspired by Motherload, a free flash game from 2009, spiced up with a dash of Metroidvania.

        And yeah, it is a bit repetitive, but it seems to be aware of it and tries not to overstay its welcome. I enjoyed it while it lasted, but it didn’t exactly leave me craving for more. So a job well done, I guess.

        • tasteful says:

          motherlode’s gotta be older than 2009 i remember playing it in like 2005

        • UncleLou says:

          The game it reminded me most of was Boulder Dash, from 1984.

          And yes, it’s really fantastic. One of the rare games where just controlling your character is fun in itself.

        • Yglorba says:

          Yeah, dig-for-ore-and-use-it-to-buy-upgrades games have been around for a long time. I strongly suspect that how much people liked Steamworld Dig corresponded to how many of those people have played before — it has decent graphs and all, and added a few so-so scripted levels, but overall I don’t think it offers very much that the dozens of nearly-identical mine-for-ores-and-buy-upgrades games out there don’t already do.

          It felt like it should have been a free flash game, probably because the many many many other nearly-identical games out there were all free flash games.

          (I don’t object to someone using other games as inspirations! My objection is that Steamworld Dig didn’t feel like it added enough to the formula, so anyone who has played another game like that before and who isn’t completely addicted to the format should probably steer clear.)

  4. Premium User Badge

    Earl-Grey says:

    I’m boiling with anticipation for this, Dig was a total gas to play on my little Nintendo toy.
    And SteamWorld Games say that they aim to blast this game out on all consoles so there will be no furious fuming from neglected fans.

    • Kollega says:

      And the game doesn’t look like it’s going to run out of steam either, even with the pressure to put it out on PC and consoles… although sadly, my skills at turn-based tactics are more than a little rusty – never was Big (Boy) on that genre.

  5. GrosData says:

    Worth noting that Steamworld Dig is on sale on its own too, on the Humble Store (2.24€ or your equivalent).

  6. Chuckleluck says:

    “The games connect, apparently, although they say this isn’t not a sequel.”

    Aha! So it IS a sequel!

  7. XhomeB says:

    Turn based, eh? Already so much more interested than I’d otherwise be.