Posts Tagged ‘SteamWorld’

SteamWorld Dig 1 and 2

November 9, 2020

I had previously written up something on the other half of the SteamWorld games because I have become a huge fan of the franchise. I do not have a Nintendo DS so I cannot play their first game, SteamWorld Tower Defense. I want more and apparently, a sixth game is coming out eventually.

SteamWorld Dig

On its surface, this is a fairly simple game. It is currently the only SteamWorld game with a male main protagonist. You play as Rusty, a cowbot newly arrived in town to work the mine. You travel down into the mine to dig up precious metals and gems which are sold to the town (presumably to be sold farther afield). Earning more money allows you to unlock and purchase new gear to travel farther down. The gameplay feels a lot like an update of titles like Mr. Driller or DigDug. Eventually, you need to start gathering pieces of a mysterious foreign technology in order to continue updating your gear. You travel deeper than anybody had ever gone before and discover a strange place far more advanced than the world above. It is fascinating because we usually think of “aliens” appearing from the skies, not the depths of the planet.

Eventually, you find what appears to be a technological fortress of sorts which turns out to be a prison. In that prison is an advanced AI called Voltbot which is a lost part of the advanced hive mind known as Vectron. You have been collecting Vectron technology which has slowly corrupted your systems. In desperation, you must do battle with Voltbot to end the threat to the town and the world above. With just a little bit, the game does a really good job of creating a whole world in just a tiny microcosm of a game. Like most SteamWorld games, it is pretty short but infinitely replayable. The game has a lot of the dry humor of the other games in the series and Rusty is a likable protagonist.

SteamWorld Dig 2

This game picks up not long after the end of SteamWorld Dig but instead follows Dorothy, a young NPC from the first game. She alone seems to be worried about Rusty who has gone missing following the climactic battle at the end of the first game. Dorothy was the kind cowbot who bought gems and materials off of Rusty. She has since taken up the pickaxe in order to try to find Rusty. Meanwhile, mysterious earthquakes have started to rock the area. Dorothy moves on to a bigger town and agrees to mine for the town to get permission to go searching for Rusty deep underground. Like the first game, you collect precious materials to sell in town so you can get upgrades on your gear. The gameplay is similar but adds a lot of interesting platforming and puzzles.

This time, Dorothy is smart enough not to collect and use pieces of Vectron as news has spread of that particular danger. However, she instead has to deal with new threats. There is now a doomsday cult deep underground that prays to Vectron and would gladly resurrect the technology if they could. They are behind the earthquakes as part of their twisted devotion to the remnants of Vectron. You actually befriend a rogue piece of Vectron who acts as your guide (and appears in DLC for SteamWorld Heist). For the first time, you also have to deal with humans who have formed a small settlement underground. They are distrustful of all cowbots so dealing with them is an uphill battle. The game is a lot more fleshed out than the first game and the gameplay is a lot more fun.

SteamWorld Heist and Quest

September 21, 2020

Steamworld Heist

I have always been a fan of the Wild West or at least the mechanics and look of the film Wild West. The genre is kind of defunct now but there are some great movies that belong to it. Firefly was the first thing I watched that linked the Wild West aesthetic with space travel. This game is about a gang of steam-powered robots who have formed a pirate crew made up of “Cowbots” in a world after the Earth exploded. You primarily play as Captain Piper Faraday, an expert sniper. At the start, all but two of your crew have been scrapped (killed). You must recruit a new crew and work toward raising your reputation as you progress from rascals to heroes. You spend most of your time trying to pull off heists which are really smash-and-grab boarding missions.

As you can see in the trailer above, the game’s combat is turn-based. Each character has a class and is able to use different weapons. Each character also has their own skills which add more to the strategy of the game. For example, Piper has the ability to inspire or heal the bots around her. Sally Bolt can fire again if her first shot kills a target. There are tons of weapons and gear you can get from shops (mostly bars and bodegas). The other main mechanic is that all aiming is done manually by the player. That leads to fun ricochet shots and trick shots that are fun to try and wrap your head around.

Steamworld Quest

Fantasy is obviously a huge genre for me but this game is one of the first I have seen to combine fantasy with steampunk. You play as Armilly a young steambot knight wannabe who has applied over and over to the Hero Guild with no success. She is joined by an alchemist named Copperina and a Handyman named Galleo. The trio sets out to rescue the entire Hero Guild and fight a new evil empire. They are later joined by a knight of legend, Orik, and two shifty rogues named Tarah and Thayne. You explore maps while engaging other bots in battle.

This is a turn-based system with an interesting card mechanic. Each turn you get a “hand” of cards each of which has a character’s skill or attack on it. You can play up to three cards per turn. If you play three cards for the same character, they do an additional fourth ability or attack. Additionally, some attacks and skills require “steam power” to be used while simpler skills and attacks build that steam power. It is a constant strategy problem of proper deck-building and resource management. You need to optimize your cards in order to make sure you always have moves to make.

Both Games

Both games obviously share the same art style and writing. The art is cartoony yet detailed which gives each character a unique look. The worlds both games travel through are full of little background details and NPCs that delightful. Both games are full of dialogue which is cute and funny as the characters are allowed to be weird, flawed, and somewhat real. The heroes are allowed to make mistakes and even the villains can be likable. Both are goofy games that are not that long but are infinitely replayable.


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