SteamWorld Quest

Hand of Gilgamech

Matthew Rodriguez

4 minute read

Triumph over evil with the hand you’re dealt! SteamWorld Quest is the roleplaying card game you’ve been waiting for! Lead a party of aspiring heroes through a beautifully hand-drawn world and intense battles using only your wits and a handful of cards. Take on whatever threat comes your way by crafting your own deck choosing from over 100 unique punch-cards! What awaits you is a luscious treasure chest filled with gold, dragons, vivid worlds, magic, knights in shining armor as well as XP, turn-based battles and all that good RPG stuff! The game’s humorous mix of traditional fantasy and steampunk robots makes for an unforgettable experience with lots of laughs.

8.5 / 10

Why, as humans, do we so often do exactly what we are advised against? “… That’s why I’ve told you a million times already, you should NEVER stroke a duck against the wind.”

This silly game posits that thought-provoking statement, in story, at the open of the second chapter. Wisdom has taught me to heed the emphatic advice of those familiar to circumstances of which I am ignorant, and yet now I feel a deep compulsion to stroke a duck against the wind.

Disclaimer — this review is a result of my biased first impression after handing four hours of calculated gameplay and should be taken lightly.

Overall: 8.5 / 10

SteamWorld Quest is the latest installment of the SteamWorld… world. As a turn-based collectible card game (CCG), it employs well-balanced deck-building and tactical card-playing game design to drive an aspiring steambot hero and her friends through a playful journey of banter, adventure, and (in)consequential battles. SteamWorld Quest, despite successfully delivering within a new game genre for the franchise, falls short of the production standard previously set by its developer, Image & Form, ironically lacking refinement… in image and form.

Gameplay: 8.6 / 10

Playfully lighthearted and enjoyable, with minor grievances.

Controls 8.7 / 10

Good, overall. The enter key, by default bound to interact out of combat, is misleading – when the game prompts the use of it, the initial mental association and expectation is to enter an area rather than to interact. Binding the more ubiquitously assigned e key for such actions seems better.

Difficulty: 8.4 / 10

Adjustable at the start of every chapter. The middle difficulty, Knight, of which I played on as recommended for the average gamer, feels way too easy. Sound familiar?

Progression: 8.6 / 10

As a CCG, progression through deck-building is essential to the gameplay. In this regard the game does well enough, forcing strategic decisions with card costs and constraints while also allowing the user to craft new cards via looted resources. To my dismay, there appear to be only a few playable heroes, and while they do level up, gaining increased stats, and although they may equip plundered items and weapons, the overall breadth of character customization feels limited.

Story: 8.3 / 10

Jocular. Made me giggle a time or two, but bereft of thoughtful substance.

Characters: 8.4 / 10

Relatable steambots playing the part of heroes, full of playful wit but lacking true depth.

Setting: 8.1 / 10

Hey, the map guys in town; you would think that they would at least put some effort into the maps.

Progression: 8.5 / 10

The storytelling technique is clever: told through a father, Gabriel “Seabrass” Stubb, a recycled character from SteamWorld Heist, reading a book to his son. It gets on nicely, and engages like an imaginative childrens' book.

Production: 8.5 / 10

This is the fifth game in the SteamWorld franchise by Image & Form, the fourth of which I’ve played and subsequently reviewed, and frankly the production dissapoints. Standalone, it boasts quality artistic design and vision throughout, yet the precedent has already been set. Eclipsed by the articulate design and progression of its latest predecessors, Heist and Dig 2, production in Quest ultimately feels like it has taken a step back.

Music 8.7 / 10

Fits the tone of the story nicely, and it engages well during intense moments.

Art 8.5 / 10

Perfectly above average.

Graphics 8.3 / 10

Follows the art direction, and it’s fine, but feels like it should be better for a 2019 title.

Yes, particularly for those who enjoy turn based strategy and/or CCGs.

At least to beat it.

I was dealt a fair hand.