SteamWorld Heist is about one thing, and one thing only. Some will tell you it’s a highly accomplished turn-based strategy game that somehow plays out magnificently across a 2D plane, while others will say it’s all about the joy of lining up the perfect shot to destroy hard-to-reach space pirates in their randomly generated space ships.
But they are wrong. SteamWorld Heist is about hats, and shooting said hats off the smooth, metal scalps of your robot foes before claiming them as your own. For there is no greater humiliation than someone nicking your outlandish headwear, and looking way cooler in it than you do as they blast you to smithereens.
All right, so those other people aren’t technically wrong about SteamWorld Heist. It is indeed a rollicking turn-based strategy game that works wonderfully in 2D thanks to its ricocheting gun fights, and the sweet aural zing of bullets bouncing off a hundred walls until they finally hit their intended target makes it feel like one of those old-fashioned Wild West shootouts, only you’re in space several hundred years in the future and everyone’s a robot.
And what a fab crew of robo pals developer Image & Form have created here. As much as I love the game’s main character, Captain Piper Faraday, it was the mid-game addition of Grahame ‘Payroll’ Phroggi that sealed the deal for me, as this unicycle-based wheeler-dealer (no pun intended) was just an absolute machine (also no pun intended) when it came to covering ground quickly.
I was also very fond of ex-circus muscle-bot Bogdan ‘The Great’ Ivanski, whose early tank abilities made him absolutely essential from start to finish. Plus he has an ability called Abs of Steel that makes him invulnerable for a turn, which is just the purest and most brilliant thing in the game.
Image & Form’s love of puns doesn’t stop there, either. They’re absolutely everywhere, from the witty flavour text describing the loot you’ve plundered (the one about the iron is the epitome of a chefkiss.gif) to the little conversations you have with your team between missions. It’s one of the few games where I actually want to savour each and every word I read. It’s a delightful game, and an excellent way to fill the time as we wait for the PC release of their new card-based RPG SteamWorld Quest: The Hand of Gilgamech (see, told you they love puns).