SteamWorld Heist Review

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SteamWorld Heist on Nintendo 3DS

While it has been a fairly quiet year for the Nintendo 3DS, it definitely finished off 2015 with some flair, specifically thanks to the developers over at Image & Form. Their previous title, SteamWorld Dig, charmed the world, eventually making its way onto nearly every platform, giving a wholly unique and unexpected experience. SteamWorld Heist is no different, by taking the turn-based strategy genre and giving it their own twist for something endearing and enthralling.

The premise of SteamWorld Heist is simple: humans have destroyed Earth, robots have taken over the expanse of where Earth once stood, and they’re cowboys.

Well, technically they’re cowbots. Like Dig, Heist also takes on the very same Old Western vibe, as it takes place in the same SteamWorld, although it’s not a sequel. The fact that they’re all robots makes everything supremely charming. Even the moments where they’ll be talking about something particularly dark can turn riotous in seconds by the pun-filled names of characters or locations they might mention.

SteamWorld Heist

Good thing robots can’t get scurvy.

The characters are just one place in which SteamWorld Heist really shines. Piper Faraday is the captain of a space pirate band, and she coasts through the former-Earth’s orbit, fending off enemy space pirates and recruiting new cowbots. Piper makes a worthy protagonist whose authority is never questioned. The developers did not make her distinctly feminine to distinguish her among “male” robots; in the same fashion of Captain Phasma in Star Wars, she’s just a badass, and that’s all there is to it.

Additionally, each cowbot she recruits has a distinct personality that gets their moments in the Sun at various points in the game when Piper can speak with them aboard the ship. Sometimes they’ll reveal bits of their backstories or just simple anecdotes. Regardless, whatever they have to say is a treat. It’s enough to have a great game, but it’s also important for a game to contain the charisma that can keep players gripped and wanting to see it through to the end, and Heist has this in spades.

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